There was a moment a few years back that I can remember as if it were yesterday. My wife Brittany and I were playing with our kids, Parker and Clayton, when a story on the news came on about orphans. The story said that there were an estimated 163 million orphans worldwide. At that moment, Brittany and I looked at each other, and said “What if that was Parker or Clayton--what if they didn't have parents?" It was with love in our hearts that we decided to adopt a child.
From that moment, our lives changed, and our journey to adopt a child began. In 2011, we traveled to Ethiopia to bring home the newest addition to our family, Selah, who was just 5 months old at the time. Yet something unexpected also happened on that trip. While in Ethiopia, we saw first-hand how many young, vulnerable women, many of them originally orphans abandoned by parents too poor to support them, ended up in a life of prostitution, and some even sold into human trafficking.
We also had the fortune of spending time with organizations working to empower these women through skills development and job creation. Meeting with these women and seeing the amazing and transformative work these organizations were doing deeply moved us. We thought to ourselves, "If we hadn't adopted Selah, would her life have turned out like this?" At that moment, we knew we wanted to do something positive for vulnerable women in Ethiopia, and had an idea about how to do it.
We knew how beautiful the artisan craftsmanship was in Ethiopia, and had seen the amazing quality of the locally sourced leather and cotton as well. With that in mind, we saw our opportunity to support vulnerable women through enterprise. By combining our own experience in design and business with the quality and craftsmanship in Ethiopia, we created Parker Clay, a brand that could produce high-quality artisan goods in Ethiopia, thereby creating jobs for vulnerable women and empowering them to be economically independent.
So to bring this vision to life, we packed up our comfortable life in Southern California and moved to Ethiopia in 2014, with all our kids, to start our company. We are deeply committed to producing every product ethically and sustainably, while focused on creating job opportunities that empower vulnerable women to break the cycle of poverty.
Thank you for joining us on this journey, and welcome to Parker Clay.