Have you ever had a dream that you pushed so hard for but hit a wall or maybe you ran out of energy and never got to see it come to completion? I feel you. I’ve had a couple of dreams that never came back to life, but there was one that kept burning in my heart even after I thought it was dead. I am not sure if this is the sign that you should keep pushing for a dream, but I have to say it is what kept me from quitting forever.
I dreamed of one day owning a business that I could use to make an impact on other's lives and to support and empower women. I grew up in a culture that gender inequality was so dominant. Add having a mother who suffered from a lack of financial independence and being raised with a dad who was a gifted entrepreneur, was like the perfect storm to birth a dream that seemed too big for little me.
Yet, six months after graduating college I jumped at the chance to start an online store. I hoped to donate money to the causes I believed in and make a difference with every sale. I dreamed of one day designing my own line so I could hire women in impoverished countries to give them an opportunity at being financially independent. I remember talking to my mom about one day having a manufacturer where women would be able to bring their child and have child care provided. A place where a mom could take her lunch break and check on her kids. I don't know of any mom wouldn't work 10x better knowing her young children are okay and just a walk away.
My dreams got bigger and bigger as I started running the store. I always had a heart for children and wanted to be able to help children in orphanages because in my perspective to change a nation and the mentality in a culture you have to start with the next generation and change the mindset of the future adults because the current adults had their minds made. My dreaming went on and on... but the reality was right around the corner waiting for me to crash into it.
As I started to be submerged into the industry I had picked, I began to realize that I did not fit in. I began to understand that in this world to help others you must first be able to pay the bills in your own home, or you won't be helping many people out. I began to see how superficial the fashion industry was and how it was really about shoving things into peoples closets no matter their quality. There was not much interest in what people wanted or what made people look and feel better. There was no individuality. Most stores bought from the same places and went home to compete with their fellow business owners. I was swimming against the current and was running out of reasons to push.
I will be sincere, I burnt out and just quit. I just started to drop one thing at a time until I felt the whole thing was dead. Every single time I wanted to pick it back up I just couldn't. When people would ask I would make up any excuse I could to avoid the judgment. I started to believe that was the end of that dream. I was so hard on myself for failing, and I never allowed myself some grace, but God showed me all the mercy I needed.
Almost a year ago to this day I came across this verse that just spoke to me so clearly, I cried. Isaiah 41:10 says:
That was the moment I realized I was being held back by fear. I realized I tried to do it all by my own strength and that's why I felt so worn out. This was the moment I felt God brought life back to my dead dream and made me understand that he was with me, I was not alone, and he would give me the strength to get past the hump that was keeping me from my dream.
Now I look back and recognized that I have learned so many things I still needed throughout this year. I got to understand that even when I didn't see God working in my life, he was working on lining things up for me. Even the people He has placed in my life are marvelous. First off, Ameer, I couldn't have asked for anyone more supportive. Yes, he complains the whole time he has to help me with late night projects, but he is my biggest cheerleader. I have Meredith from Sweet Baton Rouge (Best T-Shirts I have ever had), who is a total inspiration and the way she handles so many things at once with such grace makes me feel like one day I'll have this juggling thing down. I have Rachel from So Yaya (Skincare brand, that I vouch for) also a businesswoman that has been nothing but supportive. Rachel has shown me that being you and open about yourself and your struggles actually make you even stronger. Brandi and Gered from 6:33 Global (Mission trip coordinators based in La Ceiba, Honduras) who have taught me that going out and showing the love of God to the disadvantaged is a total gift for us from God. I got to see Brandi's and Gered's heart for the orphans up close, and I felt so blessed to have people like them in my life to push me to be more like Christ. God has really outdone himself with allowing me the honor of having every single one of these role models in my life.
Fast Forward to today and the once dead, now alive and kicking dream.
Elohim + Nim - Clothing
The store is still on pause but will be re-launching this spring. Here is what is changing:
-We will soon offer our own line of clothing that will be Fair-Trade
-Our line supports a small business owner by named Kenia in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.
-Kenia hires 90% women for her company, and you'll be able to get updates on Kenia, her business and the women you are helping out with your purchase.
-As our business grows, I plan to help bring some amenities to their workspace and make sure we start pushing for the women to have childcare available.
-We are going to be focused on our customer and their wants and needs versus what the industry wants to force upon on them. As we develop our line, we will have focus group Hang-Outs where we will touch base with our customers one-on-one to get to hear what you would like to see in stores. Customers will help us select from designs all the way down to the fabrics we work with.
-Our sizing will go beyond boutique sizing. We will offer Small - XLarge, which it is not common in boutique sizing. We have plans to expand to XSmall and 2X in the future.
Elohim + Nim - Accessories
-We have been working on a developing a Fair Trade line of earring with a group of women in La Ceiba, Honduras. This line would help them provide extra income for their families in this poverty-stricken area.
- The line will be part of our Hang Outs with our customers to develop a line that our customers help us prepare.
-You'll get to see and hear the stories behind every one of these wonderful women.
-As this program develops further, we hope to bring professional training to the area to help build the women in more skills so that they are able to grow and further themselves as women.
Elohim + Nim - Philanthropies
- We are working hard so that each one of our products is able to support or develop women and other small business owners around the world one product at a time.
-We plan to partner and help with orphanages like The Love and Life Foundation for children who are born HIV positive. We have had the chance to bring small hygiene products and brand new clothing for the kids (which was AMAZING). Hopefully this year we are able to bring more of an impact and show these kids that God loves them and that they have a bright future.
-In the future, our goal is we will be able to provide or raise money to be to grant scholarships for these children to attend a university and reintegrate into society as developed adults.
And so God saves the day and the dream again. Having God isn't going to make this journey easy, but he did make a way where that was none, and that's more than enough for me. He is so good at showing me grace, and I am forever in debt with him for the fullfilling life he is allowing me to live.
What dream have you given for dead but it's still haunting you? How would you feel if you never accomplished that dream? If you would regret not doing it, don’t let fear keep you from the jump. Do it! Take the step and push for your goal. When you reach that breaking point, when you feel like you can't move forward remember who is with you, that he is helping and remember where your strength come from. God.
With Grace + A Full Heart,