Brittany and I (Ian) originally met in high school in Santa Barbara, California. After getting married, we started our lives together in fairly typical fashion - working in business and raising a couple of children. Neither of us would have ever expected the twists in our story that came next.
There was one moment a few years back that we remember as if it was yesterday. We were playing with our kids, Parker and Clay, when a story on the news came on about orphans. There were an estimated 163 million orphans worldwide. “What if that was Parker or Clay? What if we were not able to provide for their needs?” This became a galvanizing moment in our lives that ultimately led us to Ethiopia.
We first traveled to Ethiopia in 2011 to adopt our first daughter, never imagining that we would move back just one year later. In 2012, we packed up our family and purchased one way tickets to Addis Ababa, the capital city. Ethiopia became our home from 2012-2015, and during that time we adopted our second daughter.
In Ethiopia we saw firsthand how many young, vulnerable women and children without opportunity or education ended up in a life of prostitution, or even sold into human trafficking. While living in there we worked with organizations empowering these women through rehabilitation, skills development and job creation. Meeting these women and witnessing the amazing, transformative work these organizations were doing deeply moved us.
I was looking for a birthday gift for Brittany and found an incredible leather bag. The artisans' craftsmanship was beautiful, and we learned this leather was not only ethically sourced, but some of the highest quality in the world. With this leather in mind, we saw our opportunity to empower vulnerable women through enterprise.
From that chance birthday gift, we continued to produce the first samples of products that we loved to carry in our daily life. Parker Clay was born as a lifestyle brand that hand selects the highest quality leather to make timeless products by way of age-old traditional craftsmanship - all while creating opportunities for vulnerable women to become economically independent.
In 2014, our family got some unfortunate news; one of our daughters needed some major medical attention. We moved back to the United States to address these complications, and this decision turned into an opportunity to take roots back in our hometown of Santa Barbara. Here, we’re able to share our vision about Parker Clay with a wider audience, and this platform for growth allows us to create more employment and empowerment in Ethiopia.
We care deeply about how our products are made and who makes them. We refuse to compromise on relationship, community, or quality. We create quality products by combining beautiful design with premium leather and hand-woven textiles. We are made in Ethiopia.
Welcome to Parker Clay.