Noonday Poms: The Need Inspires the Design

Noonday Poms: The Need Inspires the Design

Noonday's fair trade Wildflower Clutch not only provides a pop of color and pattern with embroidery and poms - it also provides employment for women throughout the Ayacucho region of Peru because it is handmade, reducing the need to move to find factory jobs. Click to shop and to see how the design was inspired by the unique needs of women there. There are amazing people working to provide opportunity in vulnerable communities, as well as practical ways that you can support them. That includes supporting businesses such as Hilos y Colores in Peru through Noonday Collection. And my goal is to connect you to them. Read the beautiful story behind the opportunity this piece makes possible through sustainable, fair trade fashion.

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Ethical Aspirations: 3 Ways Small Steps Create Big Change

Ethical Aspirations: 3 Ways Small Steps Create Big Change

When it comes to living a more ethical lifestyle that promotes social and environmental justice, it's small changes that matter. They add up, they last, and they inspire grace and collaboration more than an “all or nothing” approach ever could. Plus, they are doable without breaking our budget. It’s time to embrace the small, and I hope my latest post on Noonday’s Flourish blog will inspire you to do just that. Set a new year's resolution to make small changes that stick.

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Noonday for Kids: 10 Books that Connect

Noonday for Kids: 10 Books that Connect

I rounded up ten of my favorite books for kids that are set in Noonday's partner countries (and many written by authors from those countries). Take a look at this tiny glimpse of the vast world of global literature, and how it can help our kids (and us) see that the beauty, curiosity, sadness and joy all over the world all make up the rich tapestry of being human. Features books set in Uganda, Ecuador, Guatemala, Vietnam, Peru, Haiti, Kenya, Ethiopia, and more.

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Book Review: Imperfect Courage

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Let me tell you about the first time I met Jessica Honegger, the founder of Noonday Collection.

You see, I had started my business without ever having met another ambassador, let alone going to a trunk show. I slowly connected more with others, and especially with the vision Jessica laid out for us: sisterhood, collaboration over competition, and boldly stepping into our story and owning our voice. Through seeing her relationship with Jalia and other artisan leaders around the globe, I saw what Jo Saxton described to us as "partnership, not projects." The way Jalia regards Jessica shows that true friendship and mutual respect underlies Noonday's foundation story - as well as the way I want to regard others and characterize the message I bring through my voice. And their friendship, and parallel stories of owning their voices as leaders, has driven my own story - and now it's embedded in a book that takes this story and turns it on the reader.

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Starting my Noonday journey had been a step of courage. I saw myself as a sales failure. My chronic fatigue surely made it ridiculous to even consider starting a business. But I decided to start even though I didn't know how the whole journey would play out. I decided to listen to the voice inside me that said, "Go scared," instead of the voices that said "sit back down." That "yes" changed my life - and this community has kept me on a journey toward making courage a part of my everyday life.

So when I went to Noonday's conference for the first time, about a year into my journey, Jessica opened with an invitation to take her "courage quiz." As I took it, and saw my results, it hit me how far I've come. The results said what I intuitively knew: I am courageous, far more than in my pre-Noonday days.

And so when I met her that night, I just about burst into tears. I told her that my answers to the courage quiz were vastly different than they would have been 18 months earlier - and thanked her for creating a community that isn't just changing lives around the globe, but is changing lives right here at home.

I had the pleasure of traveling with Jessica to Vietnam just a few months later, where she made sure every one of us felt seen and included on the journey, and to Nashville after that, where she poured into 40 coaching leaders to encourage us forward.

And now that she's released her first book, here's what I need you to know: this book is very Jessica and very Noonday, but it is not about Jessica and Noonday. It is about you. Through her story of adoption, scrappy beginnings of what would become the biggest fair trade jewelry company in the world, body image struggles, and more...as well as stories of Jalia and other world-changers and changed lives she's met along the way... she takes specifics and makes them general and accessible to anyone interested in living a life of impact. 

And that's why I want you to get your hands on this book. In its pages, you'll find a gentle kick in the pants - or rather, a hand reaching out, beckoning you away from comfort and into a life where "going scared" is an everyday thing. You'll find inspiration to start with love and compassion for yourself, continue with seeking community where you can be vulnerable and find belonging, and finish with a life filled with compassion for all people - and a plan to step into your calling as you discern what exactly that will look like.

To anyone interested in entrepreneurship, impact, or courage, you'll find wisdom and inspiration to make your dreams a reality through a journey of self-love, community, active compassion, and going scared. 

I feel this book is an opportunity for those outside of Noonday's ambassador community to get a taste of the inspirational Kool-Aid we all drink every day, and experience a transformation like what I've found and continue to journey through.

And so my review of this book is intertwined with my own story of being gentle with myself while being bold to push myself to greater things. Of finding a place of belonging in collaborative spaces where intimidation could make me feel small, such as my time in Vietnam with "Noonday-famous" ambassadors who regularly top the sales lists. Of not comparing my Chapter 2 with someone else's Chapter 10. 

This book helps me continue my journey - and I want it to help you on yours as well.

What people are saying

An exec at International Justice Mission, a fashion CEO, an expert in bridgebuilding across racial lines, and Brene Brown, a leader in research on shame and vulnerability...these and more have weighed in. Scroll below to take a look!

 

How to order

This book is available wherever books are sold, as well as on Audible - but if you purchase it through a Noonday Collection trunk show in August, you'll get free shipping on your whole order! Need a show to shop? Go to bit.ly/NoondayForEveryDaughter and your purchase will also support local outreach to exploited and trafficked women here in the Madison area.



 

Fighting Sexual Exploitation: Local Meets Global

I had the honor of meeting recently with Kayla, who founded a local non-profit ministry called Every Daughter. The purpose of Every Daughter is to provide outreach for sexually exploited and trafficked women in our area and to connect them to resources and programs that can support their exit from prostitution. A mutual friend had connected us and we immediately knew there could be beautiful synergy if we came together: the non-profit and the business; the local and the global; the opportunity for guests to participate in change through how they donate as well as how they spend.

Sexual exploitation is a problem everywhere. To better understand what it means, and the subset of "trafficking," see this excellent article from Exodus Cry.

Volunteers with Every Daughter build relationships with women and connect them with services in the community such as legal advocacy, medical and mental health care, substance abuse treatment, employment resources, peer support groups, and assistance to meet their basic needs. Every Daughter provides ongoing support and care for women through the ups and downs of the journey as they bravely step into a fresh chapter of their lives.

Women Behind Noonday's Storyline Collection

Women Behind Noonday's Storyline Collection

This outreach reminds me of what Noonday's partner group in East Asia does, as they go into brothels to invite women out and into dignified work and job training. When Noonday placed its first order of their 10K gold plated accessories (collectively, the Storyline Collection), we provided over 1,500 days of work for the women they employ as well as support for the social programs provided such as educational training, housing, and childcare for the women. Now, thanks to women like you supporting our sisters across the globe, our partner was able to hire its first full-time outreach coordinator, to pour into women even more. To read more about this partner, click here.

Cherry in Ethiopia

Cherry in Ethiopia

Every Daughter's work also reminds me of Cherry, whose heart for prostitutes in Addis Ababa grew into a beautiful organization, Ellilta Women at Risk. Ellilta provides skills training, counseling, education, childcare, and more. The beautiful jewelry they create for Noonday is made from upcycled bullets, transforming tools of destruction into tools of empowerment and beauty. Just like the metal, the women are experiencing a new chapter in their lives, proving that while their past is always a part of their story, it does not define them or limit what they can become. To see Noonday's collection of bullets-to-beads pieces, sourced from Ellilta as well as a group providing employment for people with HIV/AIDS, click here. Read more about Cherry here.

In addition to these groups that work directly with exploited women, all of Noonday's partners are in the fight to prevent exploitation simply by ensuring women are empowered and safe, and providing jobs that are helping sustain healthy families where all children are in school and have support for a bright future.

 

A New Collaboration


In an effort to fight sexual exploitation and trafficking on multiple fronts, Every Daughter and I are announcing a collaboration: Empowering Women Near and Far events, where guests are invited to support Every Daughter through donations while supporting Noonday's partner groups through purchasing. These events will be in homes, and will be a hybrid of a Noonday Collection Trunk Show and an educational fundraiser all about Every Daughter's work.

We are kicking off with an event on Sunday, August 26 in Sun Prairie. Guests will hear from Kayla about what Every Daughter does and how they can get involved. I will share Noonday's style and story, especially as it relates to women emerging from prostitution and violence and into flourishing. It will be an invitation to get involved in changing lives, near and far.

Click here to learn more about these events and how you can shop with local and global impact!

The Power (and Evolution) of Gathering

I've shared before that I'm a recovering sales failure.

Some of you knew me when I feebly attempted to sell with another company years ago. I never felt super comfortable, and concluded sales just wasn't for me. Meanwhile, I saw others dip their toe into direct sales only to be disappointed and fizzle out. And so when I joined Noonday, it was in spite of it being sales; I figured overcoming my past and my fears was a matter of prayer and guts, which I could do, for the sake of the artisan partners whose work I would be supporting. After all, the whole point of fair trade is growing opportunity through business, and sales is an essential part of making that happen. Someone's gotta do it, and it was a way for me to engage in the fair trade movement right in my own neighborhood.

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A year into this business I found myself in a room with other fair trade vendors who were in town for Madison's Fair Trade Holiday Festival. At this social mixer, another entrepreneur lit up when I said I was with Noonday. You see, Noonday is well-respected in the FT world for the impact and growth felt at our artisan partners. She didn't know how our sales model worked, though. How has Noonday been so impactful? she asked. I found myself enthusiastically claiming that dreaded, baggage-laden term - Direct Sales - because I believe it's a powerful model that is key to our growth - and, in turn, the artisan businesses' growth. 

That power lies in gathering and relationship, in hostesses and ambassadors. You see, not everyone seeks out a brick-and-mortar store or an online shop selling fair trade goods. But when a woman is invited to share a glass of wine and a fun evening with friends, she shows up - and there, she sees beautiful handmade items, and I have a platform for casting a vision to her in a way that's more relational than you would find in most sales models. A vision of using our spending money, not just our giving money, to create a better world. The vision that if we're buying a necklace or a handbag, it's amazing to know we can do so in a way that is impactful, that helps a mama feed her baby, helps bring economic independence to a woman in an abusive relationship, and more. The trunk show guest gets to not just shop, but enjoy a shopping experience.

When we gather, there is power. We gather at trunk shows around purpose and style. We gather around stories and friendship. We see gorgeous handiwork up-close, trying it on, playing with it, laughing, admiring, connecting across the globe and across the living room. We know that when that package arrives in the mail, it will contain something we can cherish, for its aesthetic beauty and the beauty that comes through story and impact.

Being right in the thick of this is one of the things I love most about my job. Embracing my role as not just the "sales lady" but the connector and storyteller has made all the difference in the world. It's shown me why direct sales, when it's a good fit, can be an amazing career option. I am honored to be in sales, showing off gorgeous pieces and engaging customers with this brand and this movement. I get to partner with a hostess so that together we can engage people in a powerful way. I love my hostesses, and seeing many of them host two or even three shows already shows that they find it to be a meaningful experience!

It's amazing that I went from joining *in spite of* this being a "sales" job, to embracing it with joy, maintaining energy and excitement that haven't waned, several dozen trunk shows in.

And now, my trunk shows will expand and evolve: starting July 1, we will begin offering online trunk shows! For local hostesses, I will continue emphasizing the in-person show, which just can't be beat. But having an online hosting option for those living afar will offer a way for them, too, to partner with me in creating impact.

The challenge, of course, is that in a live video I can't fully convey the beauty of the products, and we miss out on the all-important eye contact. But I'm ready to use the power of online tools to spread the word far and wide, and engage with you the best way I can!

And you know what? Whether a show is in person or online, there is one key component that makes it a success: the hostess. I don't take it lightly that a hostess is sharing her friends with me, trusting me to show them a fun and meaningful time. When she shares her excitement and engages her friends, across the kitchen island or through her computer screen, she is creating a space of belonging where something beautiful can happen. So beautiful, in fact, that the barrier of miles and screens can't stand in our way!

photo: Jessica Honegger

photo: Jessica Honegger

If you've been to a trunk show, what was the experience like for you? If you've hosted, what made you say "yes"?

If you're local, will you share a few hours with me to create a marketplace for artisan business, have fun with friends, and earn Noonday? Do you wish to support an adoptive family with an adoption show? 

If you're not local, will you say "yes" to gathering friends online for a shopping experience with impact? Let's set a date!

Learn more about hosting here and contact me (juliegodshall.noonday@gmail.com) to get started!

Conscious Curation is the New Minimalism

Conscious Curation is the New Minimalism

I get it. Minimalism appeals to you, but you also love a great pair of earrings or a cute picture for the wall, and you wonder if it means you're doing it all wrong. I believe the problem with materialism is deeper than numbers, so the solution should be as well. Enter Conscious Curation: curating, over time, a collection of belongings that I find useful or beautiful; putting thought into each purchase; defining beauty as aesthetic as well as derived from story and appreciation for creators; appreciating the value of having a few meaningful items rather than many meaningless ones, without obsessing over numbers; and doing all this in a way that is conscious of the way my belongings were created or acquired, to avoid exploitation of the planet and its people.

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6 Lessons from Vietnam on Entrepreneurship and Life

I was so honored to be chosen to create a one-time post for Noonday Collection's blog, Flourish, all about our trip to Vietnam. (And just this week, I was chosen to be a regular contributor for the next year, so you'll be seeing more of me there soon, posting about all kinds of things about life and impact!)

This post was a labor of love. How on earth could I distill thousands of moments, memories, laughs and lessons into one post? How could I express the talent I saw there, all we learned from our artisan partners, the fun we had, and how compelling this opportunity is for anyone wanting a career that offers global connection and impact through local influence?

So I got practical: I thought about how everything I experienced there pointed to a takeaway that I wanted to bring into my own life and business here, which means maybe you'll be inspired too. I distilled everything down into 6 practical lessons for me and for you. This trip wasn't a week away from reality, to be stored away to gather cobwebs in my mind; it informs my life going forward in tangible ways.

At Noonday, we always say things like "we are all connected," "we are better together," and "when we look across the globe, we don't see strangers; we see ourselves." So in that spirit, I invite you to experience Vietnam with me: the sights, the sounds, and most of all, the wisdom offered by our artisan partners who I so admire. Read on! And, HUGE thanks to everyone who ordered, hosted, and joined my team last year; you truly are impacting lives, and it's thanks to you that I was able to earn this opportunity.


Continue reading to learn all about Mai's story

Continue reading to learn all about Mai's story

Across an ocean, across the supply chain, we piled into small workshops and lush courtyards to watch some of our favorite pieces come to life. In the Artisans, and on noisy streets and quiet beaches with friends, I encountered wisdom I want to emulate in my own business and life, and share with those I coach. And as our Artisan business partners commit so fiercely to their work, I’m compelled to step up in mine so that together we can grow this movement. I hope these six takeaways will inspire you along your own path too...

Continue reading here, and if you want to make a purchase with impact, see my site! (Photo credit: Caryn Noel)

Want to learn how you too can earn a trip to meet Noonday's artisans? Join my sweet and growing team of world-changers. There is more work to be done, plenty of room for you, and a unique opportunity to earn an income through flexible and meaningful work! Email me at juliegodshall.noonday@gmail.com and learn more here.

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What Hanoi motorbikes taught me about goals

Sometimes we have to “go scared” and stay focused on a path toward our goal, anticipating but not panicking at the noise, dangers, or setbacks that make us think maybe we're doing it all wrong. We have to learn from others. And we have to believe that a well-planned path to a worthy goal is worthwhile even if it's scary. See what I learned, while traveling to Vietnam with Noonday Collection, about boldness and guts in entrepreneurship and life.

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Handmade in Vietnam: Calypso Earrings

Handmade in Vietnam: Calypso Earrings

Noonday’s Calypso Earrings: these airy, lightweight statement earrings are handmade in Vietnam from ethically sourced, recycled water buffalo horn. Shop the style, explore behind the scenes of their creation, and learn how fair trade is helping this 800-year-old crafting tradition continue to provide dignified jobs in Vietnam. Want to support ethical businesses and travel to see artisan work first-hand? Join my team at juliegodshall.com/join-my-team.

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Ethical Business at 30,000 Feet

Ethical Business at 30,000 Feet

Next time you’re traveling, snag some snacks and other goodies from ethical brands. B Corps, or Benefit Corporations, are companies with proven adherence to high standards of social and environmental justice, and the list of B Corps includes some of my favorite brands, like Warby Parker, Dansko, Patagonia, Beauty Counter, Dang, Numi, and of course Noonday. When business is done right, it has immense power to change the world. Read all about the snacks and comfort items that helped me survive flights to Vietnam and back!

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Tired Girl Blogging

Tired Girl Blogging

Do you have big dreams but don’t seem to have the energy to match? Then I hope you’ll see yourself in my story. I had a calling to fight against human trafficking, but wasn’t sure where it would land or how I’d pull it off. In the midst of autoimmune disease and fatigue, I’ve challenged myself neither to push through as if the issues aren’t there, nor let them sideline me. Let's not leave impact, joy, creativity, and entrepreneurship to those people who wake up full of energy every day, or who are super organized, or who have the right education, or whatever lies we may tell ourselves. Let's shuffle our way in to join them, coffee in hand, one step at a time, with abundant grace towards ourselves. Click to read my first-ever post, Tired Girl Blogging, about how entrepreneurship can be for you too.

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