We love the pop of blue that the Peruvian ring adds. The Cambodian basket bag is light and goes with any outfit. Rock the wedges OR the flats depending on what your feet can handle . Tell us what you think of the outfit!
I can’t believe July is coming to an end and August is fast approaching! Summer seems to be flying by, but hopefully you have been able to relax and spend plenty of quality time with family and friends. It seems like this is the time many like to get away and go on a vacation before getting back to “reality” or before starting another school year. Sooo…with that in mind, I’ve picked 5 essentials for you to pack for your vacation–and all of these items can be found at the Mustard Seed!
The Leakey Collection Marula Oil
Customers have raved about the Leakey Collection Marula Oil. Not only does the oil help prevent skin-aging, but it’s also great for holding in moisture. Another plus is the oil isn’t greasy-a relief after using sunscreen all day long. Used daily, your skin will look great AND smell great!
Moisturizing Lip Balm Chapped lips can be very painful and ruin a beautiful summer day. Lately, the sun has been scorching–evaporating the moisture from our lips and making them dry and cracked. The Bead for Life lip balm will moisturize your lips while leaving a nice glossy coat.
A Lightweight Scarf Mustard Seed features a wide selection of beautiful scarves that can dress up any summer outfit! Whether you prefer silk or cotton…or stripes versus tie-dye- there is a scarf for you. Scarves are so versatile and can be used to complete the casual day or dressy night outfit. The scarf can also keep you warm when you’re shivering from the A/C in the airplane or when you’re admiring the stars late at night at the beach. Best of all, scarves are so light, its easy to pack a few in your bag!
A Comfortable Summer Dress
I have to admit, most days I prefer wearing a loose, big athletic t-shirt and Nike shorts. Comfort is KEY to me. But once in a while, I have to look acceptable in public and wear something more appropriate. The Avatar Indigo Tie-Dye dress is so easy to throw on and is SO cool and comfortable. It’s a Mustard Seed favorite, and one of our volunteers gives it the ultimate praise, “it’s like wearing a big, long t-shirt!” Dress it up for dinner by adding neutral wedges, belt and a bold necklace. When sightseeing, wear it with canvas colored Toms or “Jesus sandals” (as many of my friends call it…look below). Best of all, this dress is great to throw over a swimsuit at the beach or pool.
A Roomy Beach Bag
When I’m on vacation, being around the pool or beach is one of my favorite summer activities. There are days where I’ll end up spending my whole day lounging and enjoying the warmth of the sun. I like to stay glued to my chair (unless I need to jump in the pool or ocean to cool off) which means I need to have everything I need close by–a good book, magazines, sunscreen, hat, crossword puzzles, water, snacks, iPod, sunglasses…the list goes on! This means a roomy beach bag is a necessity! Whether you choose to take along the durable rice bag tote or patchwork crossbody bag, you won’t have to worry about getting it greasy wet or sandy. Best of all, they’re both light and flexible and can easily fold into your suitcase!
Hope to see you at Mustard Seed soon!
This July, the Mustard Seed was honored to be able to donate $8000 to various organizations in many different countries. Many of these organizations are featured below. As in the past, the Mustard Seed has consistently giving to a core group of organizations in order to build strong relationships and ensure that the organzation is accountable. It is Mustard Seed’s hope that the donations are transforming and improving lives. Owner Judy Kohl is also very open to new organizations that would benefit
IDP (Nakuru region, Kenya, Africa)
An Internally Displaced Person (IDP) is someone who is forced to leave his or her home, but still lives within the country’s border. According to IDMC (Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre), some 26 million people worldwide currently live in situations of internal displacement as a result of conflicts or human rights violations. IDPs are prevalent in the Nakuru region i nAfrica due to the 2008 post-election violence. Hopefully through transformational development principles and microfinance training, the IDPs will learn how to use local resources to provide for their families.
Healing Hands of Joy (Ethiopia)
At the Mustard Seed, the importance of helping women in need is strongly emphasized. Many women in developing countries are under empowered. Judy states, “We want to give them [women] a little bit of grace and a second chance”. Healing Hands of Joy strives to bring hope, joy and happiness to women in Ethiopia who are affected by obstetric fistula. Obstetric fistula is a severe medical condition in which a women acquires after a long, strenuous and painful failed childbirth. The women are often abandoned by their families and are on their own to live in their shame. Thankfully, Healing Hands of the Joy helps provide these women with a brighter future.
Hope For Life Orphanage (northern Zambia, Africa)
Many orphans of Africa are plagued by HIV/AIDS and other illnesses. Often, they are left with no support and care. Hope For Life‘s long term mission is to provide these orphans with ”balanced nutrition, routine healthcare and top-quality education”. The organization’s ultimate goal is to send these orphans off to college through their scholarship funds and “reverse the devastation of disease and poverty in their homeland”.
Chennai Orphanage (India)
Many Mustard Seed have served on mission trips throughout the world. In particular, to the Chennai orphanage so it is an organization was dear to many of the volunteers. Founded in 1952 by Dr. Paul Gupta. Chennai orphanage is essentially a college that has equipped thousands of men and women with vision, skills, character and obedience to the Great commission in India and beyond. Orphans are fed and clothed, and are given special purchases such as a pad so they don’t have to sleep on cement or a wood frame. Reflecting on her experience at Chennai, Mustard Seed volunteer Joanie Alley states, “their little faces will forever be etched in my mind and heart”.
Heart- WEEP Women (Kibera, Africa)
The Women Empowerment Equality Project WEEP is committed to helping save women who are in the advanced stages of AIDS with the hope of preventing their children from becoming orphans. By providing medical treatment, WEEP works towards empowering these women- many of whom have been abandoned or widowed. Women are taught how to become self-sufficient by learning skills such as making jewelry. Their children are also given the opportunity to attend school and are provided with school uniforms and school resources. It is WEEP’s mission to improve the lives of these women and children in order to break the impoverished cycle.
Girls Shelter at the Dump Nakuru (Africa)
The goal of the Girls Shelter is to help twelve girls, their families and the entire dump site community in Nakuru to restore to a right relationship with God, each other, and the land. As of January 2012, six young women have graduated into secondary school, with costs running at about $900/year/student for tuition and supplies.
Hand and Cloth (Bangladesh)
Hand and Cloth is a non-profit company that the Mustard Seed has enjoyed buying from. Hand Cloth “provides dignified work to women at the risk (sex trafficking and general exploitation)”. The company is known for their two-sided kantha blankets made by women in Bangladesh who are grateful for the opportunity to work.
Take a sneak peak at these one of a kind pieces! Judy Kohl, the store owner, and her family took a trip to Kenya this past June. While in Kenya, she specially hand-picked these amazing pieces. The Mustard Seed is very excited about these new arrivals and we hope you like them to! We have categorized the jewelry by colors. Here is the sneak peak of “Sea of Blue”. What do you think- do you have a favorite? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in any of these pieces.
Our featured product for the week is the colorful Zulugrass necklace from The Leakey Collection. It is based in the Rift Valley of Kenya, East Africa, but the products are sold in stores worldwide. Founded by Philip and Katy Leakey, The Leakey Collection supports the idea of fair trade and giving women in the local communities an opportunity to work. In addition, The Leakey Collection prides itself in being “green”. The complete Leakey Collection includes jewelry, a skin care line (Judy’s favorite marula oil!) and home interior accessories that are pure and natural. Their one-of-a-kind products are made of natural elements including fallen wood, sustainable grass and “bush-fired” porcelain. By combining the sustainability of Zulugrass with the beautiful Maasai beading, the artistic and talented women of Maasai were able to create the vibrant and stylish necklaces featured in the picture below. The money earned by creating and selling these wonderful necklaces have made an immediate improvement in the lives of the Maasai women. Bringing their babies and toddlers with them to work, the Leakey Collection states proudly, that these “women started walking as much as two hours each way to have their first chance to earn money.” So come in and stop by to take a look at these colorful necklaces!
Last Monday I had the pleasure of interviewing Judy Kohl, the new owner of The Mustard Seed. Not surprisingly, Judy was initially hesitant about doing the interview, as she did not want to put the focus on herself. Luckily, I was able to convince her to share the story behind Mustard Seed, and her goals for the store’s future. With her warm and welcoming demeanor, Judy’s passion and dedication to the store’s mission and its volunteers was clearly evident.
Kasey: How did Mustard Seed come about?
Judy: We’ve been open for three years since February 2009. It started as the brainchild of Jackie Renwick. She had a vision and years of retail experience. She had a concept for a fair trade store- there was one like this in Michigan where she used to go on vacation. It was significant to her to be able to be involved in something that made a difference – which is why I also became involved.
K: Why did taking ownership of the store after Jackie appeal to you?
J: I had been doing the books for the store and had been involved from the beginning, before it even started. Jackie always knew she just wanted to run the store for three years. So…I was in the group that was brainstorming who might be the possible next owner, and I never dreamt of it being me! My close friend, Jeannie Long, told me “I think you’re supposed to take over Mustard Seed” – it came out of nowhere! Then my husband also said, “I think you should…it’s a part of who you are.” I couldn’t believe he was saying that because he likes me being free. Finally, Jeannie’s husband, Gerard, a really godly man, also told me, “I feel like you’re supposed to do this.” I said I’d think and pray about it and then I started getting excited about it!
And the decision has been confirmed over and over. For instance, it turns out I know so many of the people that I ended up dealing with – people I had no idea I knew! There’s this link to all these buyers and it turns out my dad was their teacher! Another example is buying from the Leakey Collection. Jan Syversten, who works for the Leakey Collection, is a childhood friend from Kenya, who I hadn’t seen since fourth grade -Judy’s parents were missionaries in Kenya and she spent her childhood growing up in Kenya]. She came here [Lake Forest] for a wedding and she walked right into Mustard Seed this past May! And then my died right when I took over, but people just stepped up right from the beginning…they felt ownership.
K: What is Mustard Seed’s mission?
J: Mustard Seed focuses on helping women and children in developing countries. Although Mustard Seed indirectly helps men too, it’s the women and children that need a break. They’re the ones that don’t get a shot. We have a heart for those who are under-empowered. We want to give them a little bit of grace and a second chance.
K: Mustard Seed is a non-profit store. Where do Mustard Seed’s profits go?
J: We have some expenses- merchandise, rent, insurance and very little advertising. After covering that, there’s a board that meets and we think and pray about where we should give. My philosophy is to give more consistently. Although I like variety, I like to support organizations consistently so we are able to really make a difference and get to know the people. On the other hand, I have also said to the volunteers, if there is a cause that thye’d like us to give to and it fits our mission, we’ll write a check.
K: Just to clarify, so if Mustard Seed sells a bracelet, do you send the profits back to the country/person who had made the bracelet?
J: No, we give in two ways. First, we help the artisans who make the products by paying them a fair price for their work. Second, in most cases, our store profits are then donated to a totally separate group of causes and organizations such as L.A.C.E.S. and the White Rainbow Project. There are some exceptions, however. For example, those Indian throws I talked about earlier, we do give directly back to them.
K: Can you give me some examples of groups where you’ve donated a made a difference?
J: I think a favorite example is the L.A.C.E.S. program in Liberia which is a soccer program for soldiers who are just young boys. These boys had been kidnapped by an abusive general and forced to be soldiers. To help them regain their youth, a man named James had started L.A.C.E.S., and we sent money to him- and it made such a difference. They also provide psychological help and share their faith so what they do is really powerful. James had never come to America and last year he came to the store! He told us firsthand stories of the children. For example, the general of the rebels- he was so abusive…he was kidnapping these boys. He showed up [at the LACES program] with his son and they were all afraid of him because he was the general. But he said “This is OK. This is OK for my son.”
Another example is the Kibera slums in Kenya. We had talked to women who had AIDS and couldn’t even get out of bed…but now through this program called WEEP, they’re on anti-virus meds and are better. Their children are getting an education and they own a home. My favorite quote was from a woman who said to my husband, “now I’m just like you. I own a home…my children go to school.”
K: What has contributed to the success of Mustard Seed in these last 3 years?
J: I think people want to do good. It is part of the culture of who Americans are…and the North Shore has the resources to give back. I think it’s who we want to be.
K: Why do you think so many people are willing to volunteer their time to work at the store?
J: I think it’s the chance of being with like-minded people. There is a certain type of people who volunteers here- people who want to give back even though it takes a lot of their time.
The other thing is- which is really important to me- there is a spirit of family here and we really care about each other. We’ve had to work through [our identity] because people think Mustard Seed is just a Christian store. But I want to be a store that includes a lot of faiths. I don’t want to be exclusive and I don’t want non-Christians to feel like they’re not a part of the family. It is important for me to try to nurture this feeling of family.
K: Can you sum up what Mustard Seed does in just a few words?
J: We’re compelled by God to do good, feed the poor. Everything He asks us to do, we can do through the Mustard Seed. We’re doing God’s work.
K: What is your favorite MS product?
L: The marula oil- I use it every morning and night- and our lip gloss. I mean, I love everything! I love the blankets, I want one really bad! But being practical, I love the oil and lip gloss. I’m a lip gloss person!
Also, we just got new colors for the Roll On bracelets. They are made in Nepal! We especially made sure to get patriotic colors for the Fourth of July! Come stop by tomorrow- the store is open from 930am to 4pm!
Stay tuned for an interview post with store owner, Judy Kohl!
The beautiful batik red headband – featured on the Mustard Seed’s Fourth of July Edition Style page – will add a whimsical touch to your patriotic day outfit. But do you know where the headband comes from? The answer: the Global Mamas in Ghana, Africa!
Like Mustard Seed, Global Mamas is a fair trade organization. While Mustard Seed provides a market for artisans from all around the world, Global Mamas focuses on the women in Africa. All of their proceeds go directly back to the African women with the hopes of changing their lives.
Bessie “Adwoa” Cramer is the seamstress behind the headband. Born and raised in the Cape Coast, Bessie grew up with a love for sewing. In fact, she had her own shop “Besshack Enterprise” until she had to close it down due to a lack of business. Luckily, Bessie was able to utilize her passion of sewing through the Global Mamas. Also working on the handmade headbands are the women of the Lady Volta Batik in Ho- a cooperative group that provides an opportunity for women to work and earn a fair wage. Global Mamas shares that, “the cooperative tries to target young women with little or no education, since they are often the ones that experience the greatest amount of difficulty in finding work.”
So… while wearing your Mustard Seed headband at your Fourth of July festivities and celebrating the independence we are so blessed to enjoy, celebrate that you are also helping the women in Africa and making a difference one step at a time!