Kindred Bravely started when Deeanne Akerson, CEO and co-founder, couldn’t find a comfortable and attractive pair of nursing pajamas. She decided to make her own – a simple idea, really, but one that became an extraordinary entrepreneurial undertaking.
Deeanne and Garret (her husband and co-founder) chose two missions for this new company: creating maternity and nursing clothes that are beautiful, useful, and comfortable; and building a community of moms (and people who love moms) who will support and encourage each other on the journey through motherhood.
As the Kindred Bravely team fosters this community, we think it’s important to give back by supporting female entrepreneurs and women’s health initiatives.
One of the giving partnerships we’re incredibly proud of is Free the Girls, a non-profit organization that uses an economic empowerment model to help formerly trafficked women in developing communities start new lives of true freedom – as entrepreneurs selling donated bras in their local secondhand clothing markets, a simple premise that has transformed lives. We wanted to share a little about our relationship with this wonderful non-profit in the hopes that you’ll be similarly motivated to get involved.
Since Kindred Bravely is a maternity and nursing clothing company, we spend a lot of time talking about bras, and since we’re a company started by a female entrepreneur with a staff comprised mostly of work-from-home moms, we spend a lot of time talking about female entrepreneurship. Naturally, we connected deeply with an organization like Free the Girls.
Deeanne first learned of Free the Girls when her local Oceanside MOPS group did a bra drive. The moms raided their underwear drawers and donated several hundred bras to the organization. As Deeanne built her own company, she was determined to give more to Free the Girls.
At Kindred Bravely, we believe in giving gifts people want. Free the Girls, which seeks bra donations from individuals, as well as from companies, was a natural fit – we have what they want and the ability to give it. Our bra donations help empower women and girls to earn a safe income.
Why bras? Well, we at Kindred Bravely certainly love bras. In the developing communities where Free the Girls works (currently in Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Mozambique), many women really love bras. Since those communities don’t manufacture bras, they’re often considered to be status symbols, and they sell for top dollar, helping survivors achieve financial stability sooner.
Additionally, selling bras allows women to sell to other women, a safer venture after the harrowing experience of human trafficking. Bras are also easy for people to donate since most of us have a few we don’t wear very often; those bras could significantly impact the economic landscape of survivors’ lives.
We’re also drawn to the holistic reintegration Free the Girls focuses on. The women in the program receive physical and emotional support, with the goal of building true freedom in four key areas: economic, emotional, physical, and future (education for them and their children and “permission to dream again”). With holistic care and safe economic opportunity, these survivors have a real path towards financial independence.
We can’t give to all causes, but we believe that helping when and how we can makes a difference. So far this year, we’ve sent Free the Girls all of our returns that didn’t go back into inventory, and we plan to continuously give as much as we can. There is nothing more gratifying than knowing that these women – who have been through unimaginable trauma – use our bras to help reinvent their lives, and through this economic empowerment, take back the freedom that was stolen from them.