Dear BRANDED Family,
Co-founders Emily and Lauren here. We want to share some heavy news with you, our beloved patrons and fellow abolitionists.
After nearly nine years of growth, we have made the tough decision to close our business. In the wake of the pandemic, we experienced decreased sales, a huge rise in the cost of our raw materials, and a decrease in hours worked by employees due to social distancing.
Despite all this, we were able to continue to employ two survivor artisans from March to October, and one artisan in November and December. Even while they worked decreased hours we committed to pay them for their usual pre-pandemic hours, as their livelihoods depend on it. You helped us do that, and we thank you. What a blessing!
However we simply weren't able to make enough jewelry or enough sales last year to survive the slower months ahead of us in early 2021.
Rather than compromise our mission by scaling back to a smaller operation without survivors, we decided to go out in celebration of all we have accomplished.
BRANDED Collective has employed 27 wonderful women. We have seen their hope, their resilience, and their struggles. We have celebrated with them over their first apartments, getting their drivers licenses back, reuniting with their children, remaining clean and sober, going to school, getting married, having babies, and all of the amazing things life has in store on the other side of trafficking.
From the bottom of our hearts, we want to THANK YOU for being a part of this amazing community we have all built. When we started BRANDED back in 2012, we started by stamping the number 0001 on a cuff. We have now surpassed 50,000!
Thank you all for making the last nine years possible. Though our brand is closing, the mission continues. We ask you to wear your numbers with great pride. Wear the story, share the story, and change the story. Every time you look down at the initials on your jewelry, remember… The world is full of good people doing good things. And you are one of them!
Thank you again for your willingness to stand alongside us and create meaningful work that changed so many lives. Farewell, and fare forward.
Em & Lauren
P.S. We have just a few goodies left. Check out the online shop and snag some of our remaining items to help us go out in style!
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