When it comes to collaboration, I am quite particular. When a brand comes my way I think through a myriad of things before sharing it with all of you (I am very protective of this beautiful community!):
- Is this a brand I already own or from which I would like to own pieces?
- Does this company’s mission resonate with my personal values?
- Would my readers find the story behind the products + the products themselves valuable?
- Would I be proud to be associated with this brand?
I don’t move forward unless the answer to all of the questions is an unequivocal, “YES!”
When I had the opportunity to collaborate for a shoot with Parker Clay (all shot by the disarmingly talented photographer Carly Mask… follow her on Instagram for mega daily inspiration), I did my due diligence (reminder for those who don’t know… I’m an Active Member of the California Bar… laymen’s terms: that makes me a lawyer).
Being a Santa Barbara native, I already knew that Santa Barbara based Parker Clay carried absolutely stunning handcrafted pieces for both men + women. That answered question number 1… but I still needed to make sure they were a fit for criteria 2 through 4…
As I learned more about the story behind the company (+ after talking with one of the founders), I was moved beyond belief. Normally, I like to tell the story in my own words… but their story is so powerful… I’ll let them tell it in their own words:
“Brittany and I (Ian) originally met in high school in Santa Barbara, California. After getting married, we started our lives together in fairly typical fashion – working in business and raising a couple of children. Neither of us would have ever expected the twists in our story that came next.
There was one moment a few years back that we remember as if it was yesterday. We were playing with our kids, Parker and Clay, when a story on the news came on about orphans. There were an estimated 163 million orphans worldwide. Brittany and I looked at each other and said, “What if that was Parker or Clay? What if we were not able to provide for their needs?” This became a galvanizing moment in our lives that ultimately led us to Ethiopia.
We first traveled to Ethiopia in 2011 to adopt our first daughter, never imagining that we would move back just one year later. But in 2012, we packed up our family and purchased one way tickets to Addis Ababa, the capital city. Ethiopia became our home from 2012-2015, and during that time we adopted our second daughter.
In Ethiopia we saw firsthand how many young, vulnerable women and children without opportunity or education ended up in a life of prostitution, or even sold into human trafficking. We had the fortune of spending time with organizations working to empower these women through skills development and job creation. Meeting these women and witnessing the amazing, transformative work these organizations were doing deeply moved us.
While living in Ethiopia, I was looking for a birthday gift for Brittany and found an incredible leather bag. The artisans’ craftsmanship was beautiful, and we learned this leather was not only ethically sourced, but some of the highest quality in the world. With this leather in mind, we saw our opportunity to empower vulnerable women through enterprise.
From that chance birthday gift, Parker Clay was born as a luxury lifestyle brand that hand selects the highest quality leather to make timeless products by way of age-old traditional craftsmanship – all while creating opportunities for vulnerable women to become economically independent.
In 2014, our family got some unfortunate news; one of our daughters needed some major medical attention. We moved back to the United States to address these complications, and this decision turned into an opportunity to take roots back in our hometown of Santa Barbara. Here, we’re able to share our vision about Parker Clay with a wider audience, and this platform for growth allows us to hire more employees and empower more women in Ethiopia.
We care deeply about how our products are made and who makes them. We refuse to compromise on relationship, community, or quality. We craft luxury lifestyle goods by combining beautiful design with premium leather and hand-woven textiles. We are made in Ethiopia.
Welcome to Parker Clay. ” – Ian (One of the Founders of Parker Clay)
In that statement, I knew that questions 2 through 4 had been met with a resounding, “YES!” I knew this was a brand that I could easily + joyfully support.
I am so moved by their mission + impressed with their line. I encourage you to check out their stunning products (bags, weekenders, clutches, keychains, billfolds, blankets, throws, the list goes on…) all made with the highest levels of craftsmanship.
You can shop the ethically sourced line here.
Use the code KIKI15 for 15% off your entire order at checkout.