REAL LIFE.

I rarely take things to a personal level on the Slumlove blog. I talk constantly about music, food & fashion, but I never dish on how I'm feeling through this whole crazy journey. It's difficult even now, because I want this blog to be a source of inspiration. I want it to introduce you to knew things & brighten your day. Talking about the struggles of running a clothing line from the other side of the world scares me a little bit, but I was recently inspired by a friend who did the same on her blog. She runs a textiles & home goods company from Uganda, and although I love all the cheery delight, I've been most inspired from her post about the difficulties of life in Uganda. 

So let's start this with a little brutal honesty - things have been quite dry around here lately. As summer approaches & the weather warms up, Slumlove Sweater Company has slowed down a bit. I fully knew this was going to happen. I told myself that I would use this time to reflect on how our first 6 months in existence went and map out where I want this to go in the future. But as I browse the interwebs and see all of the amazing things my fellow social enterprises are doing, I can't help but feel a little discouraged. Please don't get me wrong, I love getting to be a part of a community whose greatest desire is to see the world become a better place. And I rejoice when my friends & colleagues accomplish their goals and take their companies to the next level. I know we are all in this together, and I am content with whatever small role I get to play. But as a business owner, I'm constantly thinking about the what & how, but I often lose sight of the who & why. 

I started Slumlove Sweater Company as a way to provide stylish, quality clothing while improving the lives of my friends in Kenya. I started it because I wanted to combine my love for fashion with my love for Africa, and I wanted others to share in the joy that helping others gives. 

It's not always easy and it's not always fun, but lately I've begun to see the shape of things to come. The inspiration and motivation I've been dearly missing the last few weeks is starting to seep back into my soul. 

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I received a wonderful text message this morning containing pictures of our new products that will be released this fall. Although it has been quiet around here lately, I want to assure everyone that big things are on the way. Production is in full-force right now, and exactly one month from today, I will be heading back to Nairobi to continue pushing this thing forward.  

In addition to our new fall products, we will also be releasing a line of spring & summer items. As always, we will continue to employ artisans in Kenya and 25% of every item sold will go to providing education for children living in one of the world's largest slums. 

I design for Slumlove with the customer (that's YOU) in mind! I think about the kinds of things you will want to wear everyday, whether you're going to class, working on a big presentation or making music in your garage. I picture you on an adventure through the rainforest in Belize, climbing a volcano in Hawaii, and getting lost on the streets of Rome. I want Slumlove to encourage you to live your life to the fullest, as it's helping me do this same. 

Thank you for all of the love & support these first 6 months. I am feeling refreshed & inspired, and I know the future of Slumlove is bright. 

 

- Slumlove

May 17, 2014 by Ava Darnell
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