I’ve lived in New York City for nearly a year and a half now. It has been full of twists, turns, surprises, disappointments, failures, joys, laughter… all the things, really.

One of the biggest surprises came about 9 months ago. I was honestly on the verge of leaving New York and heading back to Nashville. I was traveling almost constantly for clients I had acquired prior to moving to New York and I couldn’t really identify the reason I was actually living in the City, since I wasn’t working here nor acquiring clients here. 

As I was making the decision of what to do, I had an interview with a rather large Fortune 500 company for a Producer position. I told myself that this would be the deciding factor. If I liked the job, I would take it and that would be my sign to stay. If I didn’t, I would take it as time to head back to Nashville. Funny how we think we can confine life to our rigid, GOOFY ideas, huh?

I went in for the interview and part of my soul immediately died. Not that it was a bad job, it just wasn’t for me. If anything, it was amazing to see how far I had come, how much I had matured and how willing I was to be honest with myself. Old me would have managed to talk myself into it, how it was a good career move, a positive step towards solidifying my career in New York, blah blah blah. But it would not have been RIGHT. You have to be honest with yourself, on a gut level, and stick to it. Regardless of the title, the perceived prestige, whatever it may be. If you can’t be honest with yourself, truly honest… just get there. Trust me. It’s worth it.

But I digress…

So I left the interview rather frustrated and downcast. Which is ironic seeing how I thought that I had come to terms with the decision, either way, before I actually had the interview. 

The very next day I received a text from a dear friend. “Hey, someone may be reaching out to you about a project.”

That little text message lead to what has been the bulk of the last 9 months of my life. 

Yes, I’m still in New York (relatively speaking). Yes, I’m so happy to still be here.

And today is the day that the last 9 months comes out into the open.

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The phone call I received was from someone at Kate Spade & Company and I have been working with them on a project in Rwanda for the past 9 months. I’ve had the honor of doing all of the film and photography work, including the time lapses and animated GIFs you’ll find throughout the brand’s sites for the On Purpose products.

When they first explained everything to me, I was a bit nervous, for various reasons. I was concerned that this could be some sort of sweat shop type situation. Were they willing to be honest with everything? Did they have the right motives?

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They very quickly destroyed all of my worries and concerns. What I found was a group of intelligent, passionate people with pure motives and huge hearts for this group of artisans they had found in the hills of Rwanda. I saw their desire to break the mold and pursue a new model, focusing on trade, not aid. Making this a sustainable, healthy, thriving business practice that, once proven successful, will be a replicable model in other communities, other villages, other countries, around the world.

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I have, quite honestly, been BLOWN AWAY by the difference between my first trip this past August/September, to my last trip in March. I have gotten to know these women and men, they have become my friends, I have been to their homes. To hear them talk about how much HOPE they now have, for their present AND their future, and how long its been since they’ve been able to hope and dream, for themselves, their families… It has floored me. From my first trip where they were all so skeptical as to our intentions, to my last trip where they’re laughing, smiling, joking… night and day. And it’s only going to get better from here!

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I am so proud to have been a part of this and believe 100% in what Kate Spade, Jack Spade & Kate Spade Saturday are up to. 

If you have questions or want to know more, let me know and I’ll be happy to answer any inquiries you may have!

Here are the links to all of the On Purpose pages for the different brands:

Kate Spade

Jack Spade

Kate Spade Saturday