Specialty Gifts to Honor Our Sacred Women
Our Sacred Women, a company dedicated to women, actually started with a daydream about a man. It was 2014 and I was living in Chicago. One day I was stuck in traffic along Lake Shore Drive and happened to glance towards the lake front path where people were exercising. Suddenly I had a vision of a guy jogging. He had on a white shirt that said “women are sacred” in bold, black letters and he was wearing it in honor of a woman who was important to him.
Looking back, that daydream was an interesting convergence of my experiences working with female trauma survivors and my passion for women’s issues in general. By that point, I had spent many years as a volunteer, yoga teacher, and more recently as a marriage and family therapist working with women who had endured everything from domestic violence and sexual assault to addiction, self-harm, and systemic oppression. I was feeling burnt out (aka compassion fatigue) and I was looking for a new way to be an advocate for women.
I realized the shirt in the daydream could be a call to focus on something positive and to grow more of what I wanted to see in the world. So rather than telling people what not to do (i.e. hurt, objectify, disenfranchise, and marginalize women), the shirt could be a way to instead inspire people to honor and uplift women, starting with the special ones in their lives.
What started out as a daydream, turned into an idea for a one-off t-shirt campaign to build awareness around women’s issues. But once I realized I wanted to create even more products that would honor women and a brand that could be trusted to offer such goods, I created the company Our Sacred Women. OSW officially launched in August 2016 with the very shirt that appeared in my daydream and lapel pins with 10% of proceeds to going to The Breathe Network – a nonprofit organization dedicated to connecting survivors of sexual violence with sliding scale, trauma-informed healing practitioners.
We also launched a greeting card and art print last year with my friend Alisha of Goldpress Paper that says “You got this, Mama!”. This product line emerged from my desire to encourage moms because we can oftentimes feel invisible after the birth of our children. Alisha and I also partnered with Alliance of Moms – a philanthropists group committed to breaking the intergenerational cycle of babies born to teens in foster care – to offer a buy one-give one campaign. For every card that is sold online or by our retailers, we donate the same card with a handwritten note to a pregnant or parenting teen in foster care in Los Angeles. We’ve donated over 200 cards to date and it’s amazing to know that we’re helping spread this message of encouragement to mamas from all backgrounds, and especially to those in most need of support.
At the heart of OSW is the belief that women are sacred and deserving not only of respect, but reverence as well. Our mission is to help women feel seen, valued, and honored through the gifting of unique products that cultivate a meaningful connection between you and the special women in your life.
Interestingly, I drew largely on my experiences as a therapist as I was shaping OSW’s mission. In therapy, part of my role is to help clients connect more authentically with themselves and others, and to offer helpful tools that they can use in the outside world. One of the most rewarding parts of the work is being able to witness those powerful moments when a client feels truly witnessed – whether by myself or their loved ones. It’s as if the entire room takes a deep breath and there is a collective sigh of relief. In a similar vein, I want OSW’s products to act as tools people can use to connect genuinely with themselves and the important women in their lives. And I want the very act of giving and receiving an OSW piece to create an opportunity for a healing kind of witnessing to occur, where the recipient has a felt experience of being recognized for her innate worthiness and leaves feeling uplifted.
Where Sustainability, Substance, and Style Meet
It took over two years to go from that daydream to our launch, but as the saying goes: “good things take time” and I’m so glad I didn’t rush it. After doing an initial run of sample shirts, I watched the documentary “The True Cost” and it completely shifted my world. I knew about the detrimental social and environmental consequences of fast fashion, but then to actually see footage and hear the voices of those directly impacted affected me deeply. I knew then that I couldn’t create a shirt that said “women are sacred” and not consider the well-being of the women (and men) who actually make the shirt. I would need to do my best to create this and other products as sustainably and ethically as possible.
So, I spent over 9 months sourcing and establishing relationships with vendors who could help ensure that our signature, organic “Women are Sacred” t-shirt honored women from start to finish- from those making it to those wearing it. I chose to use GOTS certified organic cotton shirts and eco-friendly, water based ink to avoid polluting our bodies as well as the environment, and 100% recycled paper mailers by Eco-Enclose. I also chose to prioritize utilizing US-based companies, particularly those in the Southern California area where we are based, to reduce our carbon footprint, support our local economy, and better ensure that workers are being treated fairly. I’m proud of the fact that our shirts are sustainably made and screen printed by hand in Los Angeles. Our focus on sustainability also allows OSW to honor the women of generations to come by helping to leave the world a little better off.
The response in the past 8 months since our official launch has been tremendous. And now OSW is not just a social enterprise but a movement. Both men and women have joined us by either gifting our products to their loved ones and/or by wearing the shirt and pins themselves. One of the most rewarding parts for me as the founder has been receiving heart-felt responses from our customers and hearing how meaningful our products are to them. One customer shared with me that her “women are sacred” lapel pin has played a big role in her healing from being sexually assaulted. And I’ve heard from 4 people now that when they wear their “women are sacred” t-shirts to the gym, they get people responding with encouraging words and gestures (like “hell yeah!” with a fist in the air!).
OSW will be restocking our signature organic shirt and lapel pins soon, and we will also be launching new products this year. I’m excited to grow OSW’s reach and empower others to share the simple yet significant message: women are sacred.
Written by Eileen Rosete, Founder