Your Style + Her Story

by Betsie Everritt Kubwayo, Creative Director

A few weeks ago, the team and I were discussing a rebranding of DuHope. I reached out to a dear friend of mine, and she gave me great insight into what aspects we should change and how we could present DuHope’s brand more effectively. 

I began to brainstorm all the words, phrases, and concepts that I believe encapsulate our message. Words like:  dignity, purpose, fashion, quality, hope, growth, craft, and artisan. I wanted to connect people with not only the mission of helping women leave sex work, but also the amazing handmade products that they make every day.

The journey they’ve taken, and are still on, to learn new things and perfect skills has not been an easy one. To live in the belief that you have no worth and that things will never change makes it difficult to brave the unknown and risk failure.  Often filled with doubt and frustration, these women enter into the workshop, determined to keep trying and to keep fighting for something better.

It’s a unique way to approach design; taking into account their skill level and abilities, but always trying to challenge them and push them to grow. I can often see a direct correlation between how they’re doing personally and the quality of their work. Many of the women face harsh realities from abusive relationships, to addiction, to battling HIV. There’s such a connectedness in everything they make, and I wanted the customer to feel that.

I remember when I first started working at DuHope and we received some feedback about how some Christmas ornaments were too expensive. And I thought “the woman who made this can’t read or write, comes to work covered in bruises, and just learned how to cut a circle a few weeks ago.” I just wanted so desperately for the person buying from us to understand that it’s not just about selling a ton of beautiful, high quality products, which this ornament was. But that we deal with a woman’s whole self, her whole identity, and that is the big role Your Style plays into helping her own and tell Her Story.