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Letters to You

Survivor Vignette: Wisdom from PB

One of the greatest pleasures we’ve had here at BRANDED is the opportunity to work with artisan PB for almost two years now. She is one of the longest hires we’ve had, and this woman is not only an amazing artisan but also an unspeakably impressive individual. Her life has been riddled with great darkness as well as great light. The depths of loss she has endured and the courage she has found inspire us daily. We’d love for you to get to know her a little too. May you enjoy our interview with this powerful and humble young woman. Thank you, PB, for sharing a bit of yourself with us. And congratulations on almost two years of excellent work!!


Question 1: You’ve accomplished so much over the past two years here at BRANDED: getting into college, buying a car, getting to spend time with your son again, getting your own apartment. How does it feel for you each time you accomplish your next goal?

PB: It almost seems surreal, like it’s not really happening... ‘cause I never imagined any of this happening.


Question 2: So much of your story involves living without things of your own and having your independence taken away. What would you say is the material possession you are most grateful for now that you have accomplished a great deal of independence?

PB: My favorite is my car! I named her Tuli, after tulips, because the car makes me think of tulips! Honestly, having a car is the ultimate freedom for me. I can go where I want, when I want. I’m not dependent on others so much. I never knew if I would be able to have that freedom again. No more bus line! My favorite place to drive is on country back roads! I like to roll the windows down and listen to music.


Question 3: One thing that seems common for humans to do when life gets really hard is to give up, give in or make excuses. You don’t seem to do that. You’re like the energizer bunny. What’s your secret?

PB: (With a sneaky grin) I hide it very well.


Question 4: What motivates you most while you’ve pursued all your achievements

PB: More than anything, my ultimate goal has always been to have my son back with me. He is the reason I do everything. He’s my motivation and my ultimate goal.


Question 5: When you have a dark day or a moment where hopelessness seems really big, what do you do to get through?

PB: Usually if I’m having a really dark time, I will turn on really loud music and burn incense… I love nag champa. The music is usually Evanescense, Flyleaf or Lauren Daigle.


Question 6: What is the best part of your life right now?

PB: My son, always. My car and my apartment. I love that the apartment is mine; I finally have a place of my own. I can go home, lock the door behind me, and not worry about anybody else.


Question 7: What is one thing you have not yet achieved that you are excited to continue to pursue?

PB: My degree in social work! And my minor in criminal justice. And finally getting my son living with me again, at least some of the time.


Question 8: In five years, what is one more thing you’d like to accomplish?

PB: Either working at End Slavery Tennessee or Restore NYC, or somewhere in the anti-trafficking field. And I really want to make sure my son is moved in with me by then.  


Question 9: Let’s say someone is reading this who is in a very hard place - a place they do not think will ever change. Is there any one thing you would like to say to them?

PB: If you’re in a dark place, like I’ve been, the biggest thing is to reach out. Extend that hand. Let someone inspire you. Don’t be embarrassed for needing help, because there’s nothing embarrassing about it. There are trustworthy people out there, and you’ve got to learn to accept their help. Don’t block good people out. Basically, if your head is telling you no, but you feel in your heart that you’ve met someone who can help... take it! Ignore your head and follow your heart. Go get that help.

New Spring Line + We Just Hit 20,000!

Lots of exciting things are happening at BRANDED Collective but we have been slacking on our blogging skills. :) For that, we apologize and we'll try to make it up to you. For starters, we just added three new pieces to our collection:

Sterling Silver Bar Necklace: $48

Medium Aluminum Cuff: $35

Large Aluminum Cuff: $45

We love the combination of all three of these pieces together. What do you think?

Also another HUGE announcement is that we just stamped our 20,000th product! We are continually grateful to each of you for your support of our mission to empower and employ survivors of trafficking in middle Tennessee. We love this moment from our #20,000 celebration:

We just updated and strengthened our story page, too. Check out the new and improved story page to learn why we do what we do.

Onward and upward!

How We Came to Be

One of our favorite BRANDED stories is the story of our origin. It is quite complex and one day we’ll tell you the whole thing in detail. For this blog post, we’ll keep to the highlights.

We knew we wanted to start a company that sold products and gave 25% of its profits to End Slavery Tennessee (EST). We longed to join the abolition of human trafficking but were not (are not) qualified to join the TBI or be case-workers. Our strengths are creative and entrepreneurial. A social enterprise made sense! 

We set out to sell t-shirts...
However, we needed $10,000 to start our company. How could we raise that? We decided to sell 100 aluminum cuffs for $100 each. On each cuff we stamped a number that represented the buyer's agreement to "Get BRANDED" - to become a number that symbolized one of the 27 million survivors we fight to help.

It was a long shot, but we were determined. 100 cuffs, we could do it! In less than two months we had sold all 100. Family, friends, local businesses... they saw our vision and wanted to join. We were humbled, excited and amazed.

We dove into t-shirt production inspired by our desire to raise money for EST. We did make tees, and sold just about all of them. However, we could not stop thinking about the 100 cuffs and how much they meant to the folks who had bought them. We asked the question... What if we kept selling those? What if we stamped one more, two more, maybe three more? What would happen?

This month we will have reached 9,500 cuffs sold. Yes, 9,500 and GROWING!! Can you believe that?! We’re close to 10,000 cuffs.

It did not take us long to realize we are not a t-shirt line, but a jewelry collection. And though the tees may one day come back, we have fallen in love with making jewelry and adding to our numbers each day. We are a growing family of BRANDEDs.

Thank you, each and all. And of course, a very special thank you to those first 100 folks that said yes to something so much bigger than we realized! We are now 9,500 strong. Thank you First One Hundred...

erin barnett #1 nyk huber #2 carly bergthold #3 amanda pace #4 laser one, inc. #5 given in the name of christ #6 community garage of madison #7 colleen whitver #8  bonnie keen #9 kelly davidson #10 george conners #11 beth conners #12 vonnie thomason #13 rindy schlatter #14 beverly gaia #15 priceless moments by charlotte #16 nan gurley #17 janet ivey-duensing #18 ashley collins #19 michele kolz #20 michele kolz #21 lauren thomas #22 susan hudson #23 cindy landham #24 emily landham #25 bob landham #26 cali huber #27 david blanton #28 ashley blanton #29 katie richards #30 david and lisa ask #31 michelle arwine #32 amy mcclenathan #33 barbara ritchie #34 vicki day #35 joyce jones #36 lee ann estes #37 amanda laake #38 deanna maurice #39 freedom's promise #40 diane arsenault #41 addie graham #42 nick norwood #43 elizabeth "sissy" pace #44 diane west #45 brad cowart #46 in memory of marky pace #47 nashville shakespeare festival #48 stonestreet studios nyc #49 deborah hagerty #50 lynn ross #51 megan hogan #52 cindi parmenter #53 leesa leclaire #54 ashley strawn #55 melanie jacob #56 j.r. estes #57 dawn rolland #58 compass cinema #59 just love coffee #60 gwen moore #61 eric stevens #62 beth sydell #63 mike corl #64 jill englett #65 samantha poore #66 dr. b. g. & faye norwood #67 jodi mcdaniel #68 mark and tasha lemley #69 erin turley #70 christa yandell #71 ashlee walworth #72 the contributor #73 logan yandell #74 sherri joyce #75 sarah condley #76 katie gray landham #77 dustin & courtney koctar #78 alice sullivan #79 cathi carson johnson #80 greg yandell #81 anne whitver #82 alex yandell #83 chris carpenter #84 leslie halpern #85 tricia poore #86 kori francis #87 terri cooper #88 abby fraebel #89 joe shultz #90 jan gotto shultz #91 jessica suiter #92 teresa carpenter #93 john carpenter #94 susan carson #95 jennifer mcleod hagerty #96 tara christensen #97 katy boatman #98 jr landham #99 lauren carpenter #100