Episode 130 – LIVE Empowered Women Panel

In honor of International Women’s Day, we are proud to share the recently recorded “Empowered Women Panel” from the 2021 Shine Conference – an annual gathering of Noonday Collection Ambassadors (female social entrepreneurs) led by Jessica and her team. The women on this panel, gifted entrepreneurs from Kenya, India, Guatemala, and Ethiopia, will share how being Noonday’s Artisan Business Partners has propelled them to go against the grain in order to lift up marginalized women and girls within their own communities.


Jessica: Hey, everyone. Welcome back to the Going Scared podcast. This is your host Jessica Honegger, founder of the social impact fashion brand Noonday Collection. Join me here every week for conversations on living lives of purpose by leaving comfort and going scared. 

Alright, this week, we are serving up a very special episode for you. Today’s episode honors International Women’s Day, and we are going to feature a conversation with some women that are very close to my heart. As many of you guys know, I founded the brand Noonday Collection 10 years ago – we’re celebrating 10 years this year. Noonday Collection is a social impact fashion brand that creates opportunities for vulnerable communities around the world through a group of women across America called Noonday Collection Ambassadors. These ambassadors create a marketplace for these artisan-made goods.

Now, we are one year into this pandemic and to this shutdown, quarantine, and I have to say that it was a year ago I thought, “Wow, I built something for 10 years and now it’s just going to go away. We had built our entire business model on the idea of physically gathering, connecting – that is something I am so passionate about, and I am actually very excited that we’re seeing gathering on the horizon again very soon.

But what I learned through all of this is that women on a mission are unstoppable. And I’ve had these moments where I thought maybe, just maybe, Noonday Collection existed for such a time as this, because after 10 years of building a safety net for some of the most vulnerable communities, what we saw was that the net held. And today, I want you to meet the net holders. These are the artisan business leaders living, working, and serving in these local communities that face extreme vulnerabilities on a daily basis.

In fact, Jalia Matovu, our first artisan business leader, wasn’t able to join because the internet had been shut down for a week in her country due to volatile elections. So, we recorded this podcast at our annual gathering for Noonday Collection ambassadors called Shine. This one, of course, was done virtually, but it was a very powerful time to gather our ambassadors and our artisan business leaders to have a frank and open conversation about what this last year has been like for them in particular.

I think you are going to find courage, determination, and the clarity that each of these women brings to the conversation really does go against the grain and their cultures, which continually tells women, “Be less. Don’t use your voice.” In a season of unprecedented challenges and uncertainty, these women have faced resistance and fear with compassion and leadership. Here’s my conversation with Anne, Jyothi, Ana, and Eden.


LIVE: Empowered Women Panel

Jessica: It is my deep honor to introduce to you some of our artisan business leaders from around the world who have decided, “I’m not gonna go alone.” Please welcome to Shine: Anne in Kenya, welcome, Anne. Eden in Ethiopia, welcome, Eden. Jyothi in India, welcome, Jyothi. Ana in Guatemala, welcome, Ana. You might not know that there are elections happening in Uganda right now, and the internet has been completely shut down. So sadly, Jalia won’t be able to join us this morning. But thankfully, she was the beautiful voice narrating the video that youjust saw. Ladies, it is so good to see you guys this morning coming to us literally from all over the world. Thank you so much for joining us.

Jyothi: Thank you. We are so honored to be here.

Jessica: So, each of these ladies, I have to say, got vulnerable with me. Where is the time when you have felt vulnerable? Where is the time when you’ve been scared, and you haven’t let that stop you? Because the reality is, as pretty as our Instagram feeds might look, behind the scenes we’re all afraid. We’re all just trying to figure this out. We’re all kind of winging it. And I think the more, as leaders, we could be authentic with that, the more that we can all just live more courageous lives. So, we’re not beating around the bush this morning because we don’t beat around the bush at Noonday Collection. And Eden, I would like to start with you first. And I’d love to know what’s the most valuable lesson that you’ve learned from pressing in the face of resistance or fear?

Eden: Thank you. Hi, Jessica, hi, everyone. It’s great to be here. And to answer your question, the most valuable lesson that I’ve learned when it comes to fear is to preserve and persevere.

Jessica: Persevere. And you have persevered so much. Can you think of a time this year, this last year in particular? I know that Ethiopia is going through so much on top of Covid-19, there’s a lot of political strife. And I know that buyers have been closing their doors. Can you tell us a story of perseverance from this last year?

Eden: So, the biggest challenge that we faced this year was, of course, it’s Covid, in addition to all the political situation that we have here. But during Covid, it was really dark, and we didn’t have work for like over six weeks. And we, you know, even our team couldn’t come to work. Like one of the things that we were trying to do… Can you hear me?

Jessica: Yes, we can.

Eden: One of the things  that we were trying to do with our team when we got together –we knew how dark the time was – so we’re not gonna quit, even if old orders that we have got canceled. And like most of the things that we have, like bank loans, because we just expanded, like a month before Covid started. So, we had a lot of challenges that we were facing. So, what we did was like we sat with the team officially, like with the admin team. So, we had to take some cut off from our salary so that we don’t have to lay off anyone.

So, we kept all our team in our organization. So, during the closed time, a few of us who can drive to our work, and we just did with our inventory. And we try to, like, push things till these things were over. It was difficult when there are, like, anything, political situation happening. Now, when you’re talking about Uganda, I relate to that because they closed the internet and even that created a problem with us to communicate with our clients. So, during all that time, to stick together with the team and to continue pushing, that helped us. But that’s what I mean to preserve through this situation.

Jessica: Well, Eden, we have absolutely loved the products that your company creates for Noonday Collection. The backpack. I mean I am wearing the backpack non-stop, our first ever leather weekender – your products are absolutely so, so beautiful. What has it meant to you to partner with Noonday? Because our partnership is relatively new. I got to meet with you a few years ago, maybe three years ago when I came to Ethiopia. We met for coffee and had a lovely time together. And then I got to visit your workshop. And what many ambassadors might not know is that you actually helped us with some of, when we’ve combined jewelry with leather, you have been critical with our other artisan group in Ethiopia to help them learn leather and jewelry. And then now we are able to order from you consistently. What has that meant to you to have Noonday in this new partnership during this time?

Eden: It has been amazing. I’m going to start from, like, the last season during Covid. As I mentioned earlier, we didn’t have any orders. Almost all of the orders that we had were canceled and our projection was down. And during that time, without Noonday Collection’s order, we wouldn’t have survived. Like you mentioned that backpack, and whenever I see the team making that bag, it makes me really proud because they really invest their time when they create that product. And as I mentioned, again, during that time, it was the only thing that we’re producing during Covid. Even after that was that backpack. And we’re very, very grateful for Noonday’s order. Because of that, we were able to hire more people. It’s amazing, around July we added two or three more people to our team, and now we’re expanding even after we passed that dark season. This is all because of Noonday Collection’s order. And through that we were able to hire our team. Like when we started working with Noonday – I don’t know if you remember, we were about 20. Now we’re about 34. And you can see, like it’s not just only the 34 team members that we have that’s been impacted, it’s their families. Because one of the good things about Siobhan is that we try to impact their family as well. We try to protect and take care of all the whole family. So yeah, we’re very thankful for Noonday Collection.

“During that time, without Noonday Collection’s order, we wouldn’t have survived.” Eden

Jessica: Well, we’re so thankful for you, Eden. You know, from the time that I met you, I knew that you have a heart to mentor and develop other women. And I’ve seen you do that over the years. As an entrepreneur, you are a risk-taker. And you mentioned perseverance. So that’s something that you’ve had to learn as an entrepreneur, as an entrepreneur working with vulnerable people. Is there someone in your life that has reminded you to keep persevering? Or is there another woman who’s encouraged you along the way?

Eden: I have a great group of friends up here that I really depend on, that I share almost everything with. We have a Bible study group that we really talk about it. We share everything. And there are a lot of downtimes during the last, like five, six years. The journey hasn’t been easy. But because of sharing with them, learning from them, we were able to pass a lot of things. So, getting that support from friends really helped me. Like, they were like not just my friends. I consider them as mentors as well.

Jessica: That’s so powerful. I think sometimes we hear the word “mentor,” we think it needs to be some, you know, woman who’s 15 years ahead of us and has all this time that she could invest. But really, sometimes mentorship is our own posture towards learning, and when we have an attitude of learning and humility, we do learn from our friends. So, I love that. Well, we just love seeing you here today and we’re with you. We want you to know that we’re absolutely with you and with your team at this time.

Eden: Thank you so much.


Empowered Women Empower Women

Jessica: Jyothi, I’d love to welcome you.

Jyothi: Hello. Namaste.

Jessica: Jyothi is calling in – Namaste, Jyothi. Jyothi is calling in from Jaipur, India, one of the most beautiful cities that I have been able to visit. I know that was the last time our ambassadors were overseas was with you and in Jaipur, where I know the ambassadors still talk about the hospitality of your people in particular. So, thank you so much for joining us.

Jyothi: Thank you, Jessica. It’s so nice to connect with you.  And hello, everyone. If you don’t know me, I’m Jyothi from Eco-Friendly Papers, India. And we have been associated with Noonday for a number of years now. And I’m so happy to be here with all of you today. Thank you so much.

Jessica: Jyothi, you’ve shared with me your heart to work with vulnerable women in your community. Can you talk a little bit about the specific vulnerabilities that  women in Jaipur, India face?

Jyothi: Actually, I have been… I’ve done my masters in community development. And ever since my college days, I used to visit slums and villages in and around Jaipur. So, from that time on, I saw so many women were suffering with a very abusive life in their own families. Their husbands wouldn’t go to work, but there would be no food in the family, and they wouldn’t allow the women to step out. And there would be husbands who would drink, and they would beat their wives. And since we were college students, we were rarely heard, and we would just head on, get together with the family people as to why they can’t save their own women, why they can’t do anything about it. But gradually we saw that things would change…some kind of employment opportunity.

So, we… basically, I started training some hand skills. And together, we tried some new products, due to which they could engage in self-employment. They could make some handmade products, and they could sell locally or to other countries, which started changing the entire scenario. So, this kind of abuse in the families started… when we visited their homes, we found out that they were living a very pathetic life, and not much could be done about it because other people outside the community cannot have a say as to what goes inside the family. We couldn’t even educate the elderly women in the family to stop the same thing. Because here, it’s a culture, I would say a culture limitation that people from outside the families are not very welcome to change things that are already happening in that family. Yeah.

Jessica: Wow, you’ve been doing this a long time. How long have you been working in the communities that you’re working with?

Jyothi: It’s been twenty-two years.

Jessica: Twenty-two years. So amazing. And one of the things we’ve been talking about at Shine this year is how we are always on a learning journey. So, even though you’re 22 years in and there’s probably areas that you feel really confident in now, that maybe something that scared you 22 years ago doesn’t scare you anymore. But what I’ve always seen in you is this just desire to improve and grow. You’re always just wanting to grow, and you do that in product development with us. You’re always like, "Yeah, we could try that, and we could do that." What are some areas where you find yourself confident now? Like, if you look back 22 years ago to maybe some areas where you did have fear, where are you now no longer afraid?

Jyothi: Earlier when I would visit the communities, the men in the communities would oppose my teachings. They wouldn’t want their women to be associated with us, with our reforms. So, there used to be mobs of men trying to oppose or stop the trainings, which was very scary. We were very young, and we were far away from our own homes. And we would nervous, we would get afraid for our own safety. But at that time, we had to stay strong so that we could protect the women, the vulnerable girls who were part of that community. We had to show a strong face. But back at home, we would be very scared. I mean, I would be very scared. Even after I got married, I kept visiting those places.

So, my husband used to get really scared as to what kind of problems I might land into. He didn’t want me to interfere in other people’s business. But when you see a woman getting abused, it doesn’t matter whose family she belongs to. She is a woman, so you have to stand by her, whatever may come. So, over the years, I developed the confidence to speak in front of a mob, to try and discourage men from disrespecting women. So now, with my age now, maybe, men now listen to what I have to say, and it’s not so scary anymore. And with the kind of employment opportunities I can provide now, the communities look up to me for some kind of economical stability. So now it’s easier to convince families to respect their women, to allow some freedom to their women, to educate the young girls in the house. And so, it’s a lot better now. Over the years, it’s turning better.

“When you see a woman getting abused, it doesn’t matter whose family she belongs to. She is a woman, so you have to stand by her, whatever may come.” Jyothi

Jessica: Yes! I think anyone who meets you now would say, "Jyothi, she is so courageous. She’s such a strong leader." And I also know that there’s still areas where you’re learning and you’re growing. Could you be vulnerable with us and share with us what’s your growth right now? Where is an area where you’re still at the beginning place in your learning journey?

Jyothi: I would say I am much more fearless now. Earlier also, I was quite fearless in whatever I did. But at the end of the day, I would have self-doubts. Now, when I see the change that each and every community, the change that is visible in each and every community, after a few years, it’s so fruitful. You see such good changes that now I believe in myself and what I do. I don’t have any self-doubts anymore. I’m not scared, so you could say I’m much more confident than before.


Go Scared and Be Resilient

Jessica: That is what leadership does. When we begin to invest in other people, we get the confidence as we go. You know, we can’t get confidence from reading a book or a podcast, as good as those things are. We really do get confidence as we enter a learning journey. Thank you so much for sharing.

Anne, I’d love to talk with you in Kenya.. It’s so good to see you here this morning. And we’re so thankful for you. You know, I had to put on some of my new favorite earrings this morning. Woah, look, we’re twinning. We’re twinning. I love it. I love it. Twinning, twinning.

Well, Anne, I know that this last year in Kenya has presented so many challenges. I mean, you had already stepped out and taken a lot of risks and started working in the slums. And any entrepreneur has to go through that journey of taking a vulnerable risk, not knowing if it’s gonna work out. And this last year, I’m imagining, you had some new places of fear when the lockdown happened, wondering, “Is this gonna be the end of my business? How is Bawa gonna make it?” Tell us about the journey that you’ve been on this last year as the leader in your company?

Anne: Hi, everyone. I’m so happy to be here. I know it looks different, but it’s amazing. It’s really amazing. Oh, 2020 was a very interesting year. So, Covid happens, and then there’s a lockdown in Nairobi. There’s no sensation of movement, that what happens to Bawa, the orders are reduced by a whole 60%. So, what happened is that the only client that Bawa was depending on, and all the artisans we were working with was Noonday. So, we have all these artisans you’re working with. We don’t have enough orders for them. And then people are calling me every day, saying that they don’t have food. Because what happens in Kenya is that when children go to school, the parents are so relieved because at least in school, there’s going to be food at lunchtime, which is paid by the government. So, everybody in the slums is wondering,  “What am I going to do with these kids? So, what do I do?” I’ve actually really struggled as a person to reach out for help. I’m just like,  “Let’s just develop products. Let’s do business.” So here I am, and the only thing that I have to carry with me is just courage. So, I stepped out, and I began to reach out to Noonday, to friends, to ask them for food donations.

“So here I am, and the only thing that I have to carry with me is just courage.” Anne

So, we were so blessed in 2020. I can tell you for free that we’ve had families eating the whole time, since March. How did that happen? It’s because Noonday just went out, and yeah. So, we’ve been able to feed children and families in Kibera since March. Orders have not been stable with the other customers. But the truth is Noonday has been the lifeline of Bawa Hope. In fact, I was just having a conversation with my husband yesterday, saying that if Noonday was not working with Bawa Hope, I don’t even know what would have happened to all the artisans we’re working with. There was a time when a lot of artisans decided they want to just pack their bags and go back to the village, which meant that they were gonna be separated from their families. They’re gonna take their kids back to the village and start a new life. I stood out and said, "No, it’s not gonna happen." I’m going to put my shortcomings, which is the fear of asking for help. And I’m going to ask for food and I’m gonna talk to everybody. I’m gonna make noise for the sake of the artisans. I promise that I was going to just beg for these artisans until every home has a family. So, we’re so grateful for the Noonday orders, and we don’t even know what we’d do without Noonday.

Jessica: Well, it’s powerful because asking for help for some reason is very hard for us. We talked about that yesterday, that oftentimes it’s especially when we don’t wanna ask for help because we don’t wanna be perceived as needy or we don’t want someone to say no to us. And really, on the other side of asking is our impact. You know, we really can’t make an impact unless we’re willing to lean in and be vulnerable and ask to have other people go with us. So, I’m certainly thankful that you, in this last year, have learned to be an asker. Anne, we’re so grateful to partner with you.

“We really can’t make an impact unless we’re willing to lean in and be vulnerable and ask to have other people go with us.” Jessica Honegger

Anne: Thank you so much. Just at this moment, I would be happy just to say that all the artisans are so grateful for Noonday, and they told me if I talked to you and talk to the ambassadors, to just let you know that you’ve really literally held their hands in 2020. So, thank you very much.

Jessica: Thank you. Thank you. Ana, I would love to welcome you from Guatemala. Isn’t this amazing? We’re talking with India and Africa and Latin America and Ethiopia. This is just… it’s incredible. Ana, Bienvenida! Can you share a little bit about some of the challenges that you faced as a leader over the past year?

Ana: I think I prefer to speak in Spanish? Is that fine or…

Jessica: Yes, that is fine.

Ana: Maybe I think I just speak in English if it’s good.

Jessica: Puedes hablar en Español – un momento. Karen va a tratar de traducir. Pero, mejor, si, puede hablar en la lengua de tu corazón, ¿no? Entonces, ella puede traducir.

Ana: Okay. Pienso que uno de los retos más importantes fue principalmente por la situación de Covid impacto nosotros procesos para producción. Entonces, hubo un tiempo en las tiendas donde compramos nuestros materiales quedaron cerrados completamente o solo podían a tender algunas ordenes específicas.   

Karen: Ana, pausa un momentito.

Jessica:  Un momentito porque ella va a traducir:

Karen (Translating): Gracias! One of the greatest challenges we faced during this time was that precisely because of Covid-19, a lot of our processes in our hand-made work were interrupted. For example, the warehouses and stores where we would normally go to buy our raw materials were closed. Adelante. Gracias.

Ana: Entonces, y los métodos de transporte tradicional también suspendieron sus actividades, y la mayor parte de nuestros artesanos viven en otros pueblos también quedamos como en comunicados. No había una forma de trabajando con ellos en esos momentos o traer materiales. Entonces, como un problema principalmente para producción.  

Karen (Translating): Another challenge we faced was there were roads and methods of communication from one village to another where we worked that were completely closed off. So, we didn’t have access to any of the people that we work with in other towns in our area, and we weren’t able to transport materials or product back and forth or really even be in touch.

Ana: Entonces, tuvimos que hacer algunos cambios principalmente en mejor de comunicación. Entonces, por ejemplo, pudimos planificar nuestras compras y mantener stocks en mayor cantidad para que los artesanos no dejan de trabajar utilizar transportes privados, por ejemplo, para llegar con la gente. Entonces, pienso que estos ayudo bastante como para diseñar una solución creativa a los problemas y pienso que la adaptabilidad y la flexibilidad para enfrentar los cambios fueron factores claves para poder a seguir trabajando, seguir produciendo. Y de esa forma la gente no dejara de percibir los ingresos que normalmente tienen.        

Karen (Translating): So we had to work coming up with some creative resolutions to the production challenges we were facing, such as we were able to plan our raw materials purchasing so that we would always have a higher amount of stock in order to be able to keep our artisans working for longer periods of time. So, that made a huge difference in our production. We were also able to hire private transportation to allow continued communication and access between us and the people that we work with in these small towns outside of our area. So, this really made a huge difference in how we were able to get back up in our production.

Ana: Entonces, pienso que ahorita o actualmente esto ha mejorado ya casi todo está la normalidad, pero si, hemos ha aprendido a trabajar de una mejor forma. Pienso que fue como un gran aprénsale para nosotros.  

Karen (Translating): So here we are, we’re basically back to normal with our production, and we’ve taken this time as a real learning opportunity to optimize how we do work and how we partner with all of those that are involved in our hand-made processes.


Keep Pushing and Never Give Up

Jessica: Gracias, Ana. Gracias.

Ana: De nada.

Jessica: I wanted to turn it back to Eden. Eden, one of the things that we’re talking about right now in our ambassador community is the importance of being able to ask other people to join us. You know, you’re familiar with our business model, and many hands make light the load. And we really are wanting to build a flourishing world. And we know that the more hands at Noonday Collection, the more ambassadors that we have, the more impact we’re gonna be able to make in your community. However, a lot of ambassadors, they let that self-doubt and that fear get in the way. Maybe they think they have to have it all together before they can just bring people along with them. Maybe they ask a couple of people and they say no, and so they give up. What would you say to that ambassador who’s battling fear, self-doubt? And what would you say to her this year to encourage her so that we can reach our goals for 2021?

Eden: One of the main things that I would say for anyone who is a leader, as a woman, I believe that we’re the leaders in different perspectives of our lives. We are leaders in many different sectors. But one of the main things that I would say is don’t give up hope. Keep pushing, keep trying. Because the journey is not going to be smooth, the challenge is going to be there for sure. Everyone has to keep on trying and keep on pushing. That’s how we were able to bring change. Not every attempt is a success, but it starts with trying and doing things step by step. And one thing that I’ve learned, it’s just the little things that we do that brings success to our lives.

“Keep pushing, keep trying. Not every attempt is a success, but it starts with trying and doing things step by step.” Eden

So sometimes we expect this to be like a big thing, like, “Oh, I have to do this, I have to do this.” But one thing that I’ve learned starting Siobhan – we started with two people. I asked my parents to give me one small workshop. Jessica, you’ve seen it. So, we started with two people in one small room, and that group… Now we have a whole compound and over 30 employees. So, I believe we have to start small and trust that would grow. And challenge is gonna come for sure, but that those challenge would teach us more. We will be preserving and pushing the circumstances. Don’t give up hope.

Jessica: Such good encouragement. Thank you. Thank you. Something else I hear from ambassadors is this feeling that, oh, I just sold a couple of necklaces, and that’s not enough. And we compare ourselves to women that are doing maybe more than us, and we think, “Does this really matter, my little bit of contribution?” What would you say to that ambassador that might be feeling that way?

Eden: I’ll say it again. It’s the little things that we do that really matter. So, you might think that selling one or two products doesn’t really matter. But you can see, like, even like hearing the stories from Kenya, and Guatemala, and even myself. During Covid, the only reason that we survived was because of Noonday’s orders.  And even if it’s one or two, believe that it’s gonna grow. But even if that doesn’t grow, know that that is bringing change and impact to a lot of people. Like here in Ethiopia, I have over 30 employees, and you can imagine the families that they’re depending on and it’s growing. So, this is all this because of the small vendors who think that you would do winnings on your side. So still, I’ll say don’t give up hope and keep pushing.

Jessica: Thank you, Eden. Anne in Kenya, what would you say to encourage the ambassadors in 2021?

Anne: I just want them to know that they have everything within themselves to make a difference. I think 2020 was the test and they came out so strong. They’ve done so much. So, I’m believing that in 2021, the only choice that, I’m sorry to say, but the only choice that I feel we all have to make is just to be brave. There’s so many people that are depending on your decision today. And don’t compare yourself with the top or the last person. You’ve got everything that you need. You’re making a difference. You’re putting food on the table for so many marginalized communities here in Kenya. I mean, like in the whole globe, I’m hearing from my friends and sisters here. They are so excited about all the difference that you’re making.

So, just go forth. There’s a saying that we commonly say in Kenya, “No doubt, no landing.” You’re going to doubt yourself, but as you continue to doubt, you’ll see landing. So, go forth. You’re amazing. You’ve got this. You’ve got this. And one of the things that I also appreciate about Noonday is just the whole sisterhood effect. If you feel that you can’t move forward, call your leader, call your friends, feel encouraged to move forward. You’re not alone. We’re all together. We are together in this and we are better together. And we’re going to make it.

“You’re not alone. We’re all together. We are together in this and we are better together. And we’re going to make it.” Anne

This year, there’s nothing that’s gonna break. Nothing is going to break. We’re all gonna make it. How we’re going to make it, the fact that we know that we have people, so many people, marginalized people, vulnerable people that are looking up to us. So, the only option that we have is just to be brave. So, let’s be brave and let’s go forth, let’s encourage each other. Let’s not look at each other as competition. Let’s know that it’s okay to be vulnerable. I mean, we all are struggling with so many things behind the scenes, so let’s go forward. We’re gonna do it. I’m sure, in 2022 when we have shared, it’s going to be a whole different story, great sisterhood, and impact. So, I’m very pumped up. I’m stoked. Let’s do this.

Jessica: Let’s do this. When I first started Noonday, and it was just me by myself managing our inventory, which was very small. I hung all of the necklaces on hangers in my guest room closet. And I remember getting ready for trunk shows. I would pick out these three necklaces from Ecuador two from Uganda, four from Ethiopia, and I would pack them up and take them to the trunk show and then sell them. And I remembered I got so excited when just one necklace was sold. I thought, “Ah, that’s one more. That’s one more.” And so, it truly is… every little bit counts. And your courage helps us to realize that and move forward. So, thank you.

Ana in Guatemala, que palabras tienes para animar los empleadores en este año que viene?  

Ana: En mi opinión personal, pienso que, líderes, el primer trabajo que debemos hacer es confiar convencerlos a nosotros mismos y creer totalmente en lo que estamos haciendo antes de convencer otras personas a seguirlos, confiar  en nuestro proyecto, en nuestro objetivos.

Karen (Translating): So, the first thing we have to do as leaders is to really believe in ourselves and really convince ourselves and be so firm in that what we’re doing matters. And we really have the power to make a difference.If we’re not convinced and we don’t believe this, we can’t expect to convince or make others believe.

Jessica: Gracias.

Ana: Cuando nosotros, mismos, estamos convencidos de lo que estamos haciendo, nos dará un grado de seguridad que nos permita obtener mejores resultados. Lo contrario es que la seguridad normalmente de los resultados dará a sus presentados. Por eso es muy importante que primero nosotros sestemos totalmente convencido.

Karen (Translating): When we really believe in our own power and what we’re out to accomplish, our results show up accordingly. When we’re in action and we’re not really convinced or believing what we’re doing, our results will show up accordingly. So that’s why it’s so important that you really believe in what you’re doing and stand for yourself and for what you’re out to accomplish.


Make an Impact. Make a Difference.

Jessica: And we believe in you at Noonday. We absolutely believe in you. Thank you. Gracias, Ana. Jyothi, I would love to end with you. I know you got to share with many of our ambassadors that visited with you in March, which was the beginning of such a challenging year for us. But we see the sun on the horizon in 2021. We have big plans for growth here at Noonday Collection.

We have had just maybe a small percentage of ambassadors who have brought other women along with them and told other women about this opportunity and brought more women with them. And so our hopes for this year is that more women in our community are going to bring people along and have them bring others. We know many hands make light the load. So how would you encourage our ambassadors in 2021 to help reach our goals this year?

Jyothi: Dear ambassadors, I so wanted to connect to you because I want all of you to know this: none of our work would have been possible without you, even though we train women in skill training, with each hand-made product, that you sell or buy, generates employment for so many artisan communities. If it was not for you, none of us would have survived. We would not have been able to make an ounce of difference in anybody’s life. Even if people would have been very good at their work. Had you not been selling these hand-made products, we wouldn’t have been able to make their lives better.

“Had you not been selling these hand-made products, we wouldn’t have been able to make their lives better.” Jyothi

So, be proud of yourself, because we are very proud of you. Just because of you that so many artisan families are surviving, especially in 2020 and this 2021 that is arriving. And we hope for the best for you, and we will encourage you to do whatever you’re doing. And even more, because so many lives are connected with what you do. Be very proud of yourself. All of us at Eco Friendly Papers are extremely thankful to all of you for your support, for being there for us. And we count on you. Thank you.

Jessica: Thank you. I would love for each of you to end with a phrase in your native language. A phrase of encouragement, maybe a proverb you’ve held on to. Eden, we’ll start with you in Amharic, please.

Eden: I’m just gonna say thank you. አመሰግናለሁ.

Jessica: Anne.

Anne: Wote tuungane. Let’s all unite.

Jessica: Jyothi.

Jyothi: हमारे मेहमान बने ] You people have got for us. We wait for you in 2021. Be our guest. Thank you.

Jessica: Ana, unas palabras en español para armarlos.

Anne:  Juntos haremos un gran impacto en nuestros propias vidas y en la vida de los de más.

[Together we will make a great impact in our own lives and in the lives of others.]

Jessica: Together we will make a big impact in people around us. Well, thank you so much for joining us. Truly, your courage is contagious. These women, in their cultures – in many ways, being a woman as a leader in their culture, they’re going against the grain. And if you need further encouragement, we recorded a conversation last year at Shine with artisans from India and Haiti and Uganda. You can check out that episode on Going Scared as well.

Jessica: To keep up with more news about our artisan business partners, or if something in your heart just said, “I want to be a part of this. I want to build nests with you. I want to create a marketplace. I’m ready to get out and gather. I need to earn an income. I want to partner with these women. I want to go visit these women,” we would absolutely love to have you. So, please, head on over to noondaycollection.com click the “join” tab, and we will give you more info. We are running a discount right now on our starter collection so that is your business in a box. We will send it to you. And we’re offering some extra incentives right now that are going to help you start your business strong.

So, I would love to partner with you. If this is something you’re interested in, you can also DM me @jessicahonegger over on Instagram. 

Our wonderful music for today’s episode is by Ellie Holcomb. Going Scared is produced by Eddie Kaufholz. And I’m Jessica Honegger. Until next time, let’s take each other by the hand and keep going scared.