Musings on social enterprise, women's empowerment, design and more

December 1, 2017

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Sometimes the holidays come with a frenzy.

For many of us, gift giving is a critical aspect of the holidays-- one that we face with both excitement and overwhelmedness. When you're trying to buy ethically-- from companies that treat their employees and the earth with respect and dignity, this feeling of overwhelmedness can be compounded.

I have to admit that this is my first year of really prioritizing ethical buying in every aspect of my life—including gifts. I'd seen documentaries like The True Cost and heard about factory abuse and disaster such as Rana plaza, but I before Freeleaf, I didn’t frequently think about how my products were created. Or perhaps more clearly, I thought about it, but I just found ways to justify my consumer habits.

However, something about running a manufacturing company and spending 45 hours/week with our employees—hearing...

October 30, 2017

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“Do not despise small beginnings” -Zechariah 4:10

A few weeks ago, I (Adisyn) was at home in Austin, TX when I came across this mess of a coaster on my dad’s desk. Suddenly I was transported back to a moment sitting on my apartment floor in a foreign country three years ago. I was dreaming about starting a company that would provide employment to women in need, and brainstorming ideas for what products we could make. I loved the idea of incorporating ancient knotting traditions into modern applications, so I made this coaster out of a piece of scrap rope. Knowing it was terrible, I (naturally) gave it to my father who I knew would support my dreams despite their small beginnings. What I didn’t know was that he’d keep it for years as a symbol of how far I've come.

Today I sit in an office of an 18-month-old company with five incredible women who ma...

August 18, 2017

Imagine the satisfaction of receiving a new shirt that you bought online. You put it on and it fits perfectly--  quite a feat for online shopping. You proudly head to work, still tickled at the convenience of being able to buy clothes you love without ever even going into a store.

But then you notice a stiffness in the front pocket and you begin to grumble, knowing it was too good to be true. If you'd tried the shirt on in store, you would have surely noticed this flaw in construction and chosen a different brand. As you look in the pocket searching for a misplaced seam or poor design, you're surprised to find a folded up piece of paper instead. Opening up the note, you see words in a language you don't understand.

Where did this note come from? Who wrote it? What does it say?

A few weeks ago I got an email from my dad whose...

August 11, 2017

Given the fact that I’m the one who does most of the online talking around here, I figured it was about time I introduced myself.

I’m Adisyn, the founder & CEO of Freeleaf- and I never imagined I’d start a social enterprise.

I’m an introvert at heart, a wrestler of ideas, a cautious decision-maker, and I hate being the center of attention—which I interpreted to mean that I don’t like taking risks and I probably wouldn’t be a good leader. I also love simplicity and sunshine and I secretly dreamed of becoming a hermit in the mountains of Colorado… yet here I sit in the middle of a mega-city.

I wouldn’t change it for the world. Though writing an entire blog post about myself makes me want to go hide under the couch. But here goes:

My favorite thing about working at Freeleaf is being able to see women grow in freedom and confidence. Working alongside o...

August 1, 2017

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A few days ago, I woke up grumpy. My alarm went off and, as usual, I hit the snooze, glanced at my phone and found myself not wanting to get out of bed. While this is a pretty common occurrence for me (any other non-morning people out there??), I could tell that there was more to the story. Instead of simply feeling tired and wanting to sleep more, I was actually grumpy. Upset. Frustrated.

Being the incredibly self-aware and sometimes too reflective person that I am, I delayed getting out of bed as I pondered on why I was feeling the way I was. I didn’t feel sick; I wasn’t hungry; I had slept a full 8 hours; I didn’t have a particularly difficult day scheduled; I didn't go to sleep in an argument with my husband… so why the grump?

I stayed in bed to scroll through my phone—delaying the day and seeing what all I had missed during sleep. Being in A...

July 21, 2017

Today we're introducing the local half of our executive team, Lenore. Freeleaf would not exist today without her. Though she doesn't do most of the online talking around here, she does just about everything else (as she so clearly explains below):

Hey Lenore, tell us about your role at Freeleaf:

Well, I'm the COO at Freeleaf- which basically means I do everything around here except for marketing and sales. :) I lead evaluations for women who are interested in joining our programs, process all hiring, manage production, handle HR, and process international shipments.

Why did you decide to work at Freeleaf?

When I was young, I grew up in a village. My parents were migrant workers, and so they lived in the big city while me and my sister were left in the village to be cared for by my grandparents. Growing up in a culture that preferred boys to gi...

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