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Feature Friday | Jacqueline Gustafson

F E A T U R E   F R I D A Y

 

MEET JACQUELINE

 Jacqueline is the founder of The Abeba Collection, a company empowering the artisan community in Ethiopia. We are excited to be in the same vein supporting artisans in East African and for you to learn more about their mission. 

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Tell us more about you! 

We believe in creating beautiful lifestyle pieces for your spaces and wardrobe and know that where and how we curate our collections matters. Connecting the conscious spirit to the artisan soul, your purchase from the Abeba Collection is not charity, it is empowerment.
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The Gustafson Family, Dave, Jacqui, and their two children, founded the Abeba Collection, in 2019 out of a desire to support the artisan community in Ethiopia, and empower women business leaders and social entrepreneurs. Abeba, meaning flower in Amharic, the national language of Ethiopia, represents the hardworking, fruitful, strong, and beautiful women empowered through Abeba’s partner organizations in Ethiopia. After traveling to Ethiopia to adopt their sons, in 2008, and then again in 2015, the Gustafson’s desire was to both provide support for community development in Ethiopia as well as provide a tangible connection to their son’s beautiful birth country, culture, and heritage. Listening to the voices of their Ethiopian friends and partners, the decision to provide a platform to expand the global market reach of social entrepreneurs producing ethically crafted artisan products was made, and The Abeba Collection curated lifestyle brand was born.
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The Abeba Collection is available through the online boutique and trunk shows and market events. The mission of The Abeba Collection is to empower women to transform their communities through business leadership, dignified work, and skilled artisanry. Both women and men are provided with employment opportunities through Abeba’s partners. Though empowering women, who are often marginalized, as change makers within their communities is an intentional choice, harnessing the “multiplier effect;” data supporting the notion that women earning a living wage not only rise individually, but their families and entire communities rise with them, creating peaceful and stable societies. Additionally, The Abeba Collection, and its partners, are committed to a triple bottom line approach; balancing profit, social impact, and sustainability. Focusing on the artisan sector is both culturally significant and economically smart. According to the Artisan Alliance “the artisan sector is the second-largest employer in the developing world after agriculture, worth over $32 billion every year. Hundreds of thousands of people across the globe, particularly women, participate in the artisan sector. Artisan activity creates jobs, increases local incomes, and preserves ancient cultural traditions that in many places are at risk of being lost.”
The Gustafson’s work directly with their partner organizations in Ethiopia, traveling to Ethiopia regularly, supporting development initiatives, curating each collection, and establishing practices that prioritize their principles of artisanry, beauty, dignity, and fair trade. The Abeba Collection’s commitment is that products will be purposefully crafted, thoughtfully purchased, and intentionally connected. When you shop with The Abeba Collection, you become part of the story.
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What is something weird/quirky about you?
I'm an introvert, but I love people!
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What is your favorite food? 
Chocolate, of course!
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What is something you've overcome as a woman in this world? 

Being taken seriously in predominantly male dominated spaces of influence.
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What are you most proud of in the work that you do? How do you empower those around you? 

We believe that charity plays an important role in addressing the social, economic, and spiritual challenges of our day, in fact we champion charity and encourage everyone to find a cause worthy of investing their resources in. However, charity is not, and cannot be, the only solution. Instead, it is critical to also look toward holistic and sustainable models to address the world’s most complex challenges. Artisan social enterprise or investing in the business development and employment of artisans in developing contexts is not charity, but rather empowerment. When we invest in businesses that support social enterprise, we invest in fair and dignified opportunities for those who desire to be active agents in their economic mobility. Your purchase supports jobs, and profits are reinvested in family, community, and cultural development and preservation. So, when you shop with The Abeba Collection, and other brands that support artisan social enterprise, you are investing in solutions which are empowering, dignified, and sustainable. Additionally, businesses like The Abeba Collection that specifically support social enterprise for women in the developing world, recognize the importance of women’s participation in their economic wellbeing. Empowering women, who are often marginalized, as change makers within their communities is an intentional choice, harnessing the “multiplier effect;” data supporting the notion that women earning a living wage not only rise individually, but their families and entire communities rise with them, creating peaceful and stable societies. We encourage you to use your purchasing power to raise your voice and cast your vote for a more sustainable, more equitable, and more just future for all.

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Tell us a little more about your artisan made products:

The Abeba Collection offers a collection of jewelry, textiles, and bags made in Ethiopia. You can shop their products on their website: click here. 

Each item in our jewelry collection is packaged in an artisan made drawstring bag handsewn by women with the Imani Collective. We love these opportunities to partner across brands, each bringing a unique skill and contribution to the final product.

 

How can people support you + be a part of your artisans lives?

We love opportunities to partner with other ethical brands and know that we are at our best when we lift one another up.

Beyond shopping, we have two great ways you can partner with us.

1) Host a Trunk Show! We manage all the logistics for showcasing our collections, sharing the story, and fulfilling orders; you simply provide the venue and invite your friends! There are of course AMAZING perks available for the host! Please inquire with us for location and scheduling availability. info@abebacollection.com

2) Serve as a Brand Ambassador! Brand Ambassadors earn 20% from the sales that they generate. Reach out to learn more! info@abebacollection.com

Follow on Instagram @abebacollection

Shop online at abebacollection.com

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