You ever have one of those existential moments when you think, "What am I doing on this planet and am I making any kind of difference?" Kirsten Dickerson, Sophia Hirokawa and Sarah Mark all did, which is why the ladies stepped away from cushy jobs to make a go of Raven + Lily, a non-profit studio that builds self-empowerment and women's community through design (in a nutshell). The trio and their team go into some of the world's most economically disadvantaged areas (including downtown LA), work with women to create sustainable crafts and merchandise, sell the goods, invest the profits back into the program?wash, rinse, repeat. The foundation just opened a storefront in Echo Park; it's currently being shared with Ballard's Artwork Framing. It's a cozy fit, since the store has a very artsy-craftsy vibe and serves as a miniature art gallery. (Right now, they're featuring a selection of work from R+L's Sarah Mark.)
What makes Raven + Lily different from scores of other organizations that purport to serve the same ends is that they understand the importance of good design: it's essential to the success of the enterprise that they offer attractive, well made merchandise that people actually buy. Their offerings, including jewelry, tees, bags, stationery, and other little accessories, is all reasonably priced, too. Big, bangley bracelets for $52, delicate leather-feather necklaces for $84, and so on. Now's a good time to get to know them: they're having a big sale, with discounts of up to 70% off.
· Raven + Lily [Official Site]