Innovation, hard work and strength are some of the words I use to describe the women I work with on a daily basis in this industry. I love hearing about what inspires you. In turn, I want to share what inspires me. 

When I think about International Women’s Day, my heart goes directly towards thinking about the global empowerment happening with an organization called Lydia’s Mission. This is a not-for-profit organization that started in 2017 that empowers women experiencing poverty and children struggling with food insecurity. They empower and teach women skills to feed, educate, and care for their children by also earning a liveable sustainable wage. 

Erica’s ATA has had the privilege of being a part of this ministry by helping them create an onboarding program to sell the animals the women sew on the internet, developing and maintaining their website, helping take pictures of the stuffed animals and apparel, and monetarily assisting for the past 3 years. We wanted to share the heart behind the scenes and generate awareness about this amazing organization we partner with. 

You may be wondering how a nail manufacturing company connected with an organization in South Africa, so I felt it’d be helpful to hear where this passion and interest began. 

Ever since I was in high school, I loved culture and traveling. I always felt connected to Africa so I went there before after I graduated from high school. This trip stirred a desire to learn more and confirmed for me that I would return when I was done with college. 

When I went to college at Anderson University, I knew I wanted to be a Bible & Religion major. I have always been fascinated by what people would do and sacrifice in the name of their religion and learned how so many values and cultures were centered around religious practices. I continued to dream about going back to Africa to do some type of humanitarian work. I even created a race my senior year called “Run 4 Jesus” to raise money, which inspired me even more to return. 

Fast forward to my senior year, I met my husband and step-son and my door to Africa closed. We moved back to Sunbury, Ohio, where my dad’s business resided. I had worked with my dad throughout my life and felt like I could elevate the industry by growing educational opportunities to industry professionals. My hope shifted to wanting to teach entrepreneurship and helping people become self-sufficient. Growing up with my parents owning a small business, I loved it and wanted to support others. 

After a couple years and adding more kids to our family, I was in a small group at church where a member shared that her sister, Claire Brown, was starting a ministry called Lydia’s Mission in eManzana, Africa. Later, I found out that she went to the same university in Indiana and she was basically living the life I had always planned on. This made the connection to Africa finally make sense and one we happily support! 

As a family and company, we love what they stand for and how they empower women and children. Not only do they employ 29 women who work full-time, feed over 1,600 kids, and deliver over 35 tons of food to feed over 6,000 residents, they also play a significant role in their community. The city’s mayor even reaches out to Claire for support because she is a dependable constant member of their community that they rely on. 

Another part of their organization is that the women actually sew adorable stuffed animals! We love these so much and want to share with them with our community. For every US order over $150+ on March 8th, we will send you one of these animals made by these incredible women in South Africa (a $35 value)!

Lydia's Mission Stuffed Animals

Lydia's Mission Women

Being able to support an organization that empowers women to make generational change is something to celebrate. I’d love to know who inspires you and why. Please share below! 👇