Charm and Grace Designs. A Charitable Fashion Company. I mean that just has a fantastic ring to it, am I right? Ok but besides sounding amazing, what the heck does this mean??
When Elise and I started Charm and Grace Designs almost a year ago (insert every celebratory emoji ever created here), we knew that giving back was going to be a pillar of our company no matter what. In fact, blessing others is part of our original vision statement that we use to govern every single decision we make:
“To serve God, bless others, and have fun! Charm and Grace Designs (CGD) is a lifestyle company that proves that only by the saving grace of Jesus can we live a charmed life.”
We had a blast in 2017 with our Charm and Grace Gives Back program. We loved learning about different organizations, and we were incredibly grateful to be able to harness the popularity of our business to help others when Hurricane Harvey devastated our home town and South Texas.
But we knew we wanted to do more. We threw around ideas, we wanted it to be more efficient and, as a result, more effective. We wanted to have a bigger impact. We wanted to bless more people. We thought we knew exactly how we would put together our Charm and Grace Gives Back program for 2018. It was IN the business plan. It was DONE!
God, however, had different plans. Imagine that? Elise called me in the morning on December 27th. We talk every single morning no matter what, so this was nothing new. She was like, “Ok. I have something I want to talk to you about, and you’re not going to like it, so just hear me out.”
I am generally the more opinionated and cynical side of CGD, so I can see where she was coming from. Thankfully God knew what He was doing, I know, another shocker, and had been preparing my heart for exactly what Elise was about to say. “Katie, I want to give 10% of ALL our profits to Hand Picked. Not just the profits from one statement tee.” I’m pretty sure Elise was holding her breath waiting for me to spout off all the reasons why I thought this was a bad idea. The Lord had been speaking to her all night long...clearly telling her who and what. Much to her relief my response came without any argument “Yes! Let’s do it!”
Now before we go any further, let me clarify something. Elise and I are complete and total equals in this business of ours. She absolutely was not coming to me for permission. We come to each other with new ideas on a DAILY basis. We are honest with each other. We never hold back. We have both had to apologize to each other on numerous occasions. We both have had to make sacrifices and compromises for the good of our friendship and our company. We should actually write a book about how to run a business with your best friend. Hmm. We might have to really think about that. But I digress. It was just this one particular situation where she was pitching me the idea. I guarantee twenty seconds later, I was pitching her an idea and waiting anxiously for her feedback.
Back to the 27th. During the previous night when God was doing all this talking to Elise, I was shopping on Diff. I LOVE their sunglasses, mainly because one of my many beautiful cousins looks adorable in them, and I stalk her Insta waiting to see her in another style. I have always been worried that I’m nowhere close to being trendy enough to wear them, but on this particular night they had styles on sale for $15. Yes, that’s right. Eighty dollar sunglasses for FIFTEEN DOLLARS. So I got some. Actually I got three, but whatever, who’s counting. I was fascinated with the entire process of shopping with DIFF. The products are awesome, the website was simple, and the messaging was clear. DIFF: Charitable Eyewear. I was in love. I wanted to do what they were doing. I wanted to be a full-fledged charitable-fashion company. Not just some of the time, not just for a special statement tee, but every single cent.
So that was that! As of January 1, 2018, 10% of all our profits are being given to Hand Picked, Inc. As a local (501c3) non-profit, Hand Picked, Inc., partners with it’s parent company, Beautiful Feet Studio of Dance and the Arts, “to ‘bring good’ through the arts to the financially disadvantaged, orphaned, and physically restricted, including child survivors of human trafficking both locally and around the world!”
I have known the founder of Hand Picked and Beautiful Feet, Kalette Alspaugh, since we were 6th graders together at Calvary Episcopal School in Richmond, TX. She is one of my most precious friends. Elise has gotten to know and love Kalette through the dance studio, as we both watch her pour Christ’s love into our daughters every week during their preschool dance class. We know Kalette’s heart, we are moved by her determination, and as parents of small children in the Houston area, we are blown away by the work she is doing with human trafficking survivors. Like most parents, we have felt helpless when we hear the headlines about children from our very own towns being lured into human trafficking. But not anymore. We are grateful for the opportunity to use our business to do something amazing. God completely and totally led us to this decision, and we are anxiously awaiting the miracles and testimonies that will come through Hand Picked, Inc.
There will be much, MUCH, more to come right here on the blog about Hand Picked, Inc., the work they are doing, and why we chose to support them. But until then know that from this point forward, when you shop with CGD, you are not just getting yourself some amazing clothing, YOU are giving back. YOU are paying it forward to those less fortunate. We hope that causes your heart to pound the same way it does ours, and that you will continue to join us on this Charm and Grace journey.
"A beautiful child survivor of human trafficking completed the multi-media painting shown here. Beautiful Feet Studio instructors partnering with Hand Picked 501c3 offer a Creative Movement & Arts Program for the girls of Freedom Place here in our own city of Houston. The arts are a good way to process difficult experiences and move toward healing. We thank you for your support of this ministry and others in our community." -Kalette Alspaugh