Welcome to 10 Brilliant Dallas Women, a pop-up online series about 10 awesome women making Dallas a better place to live.
Sayra Carpenter and Michelle Carranza wear a lot of jewelry. Precious stones, woven friendship bracelets, gold pendants in the shape of Texas. They stack their wrists with bracelets, they wear at least two necklaces each, and earrings dangle from their ears. They're hoping you'll bring it up too with a question or a compliment, because they design it all themselves, but that's not what they want to tell you about their jewelry line, Bracha.
"We like to think that everyone who wears Bracha is helping to spread the word about what needs to be done to end human trafficking," Carpenter says. "We want women to wear our jewelry and feel good about themselves, but also do good at the sa me time."
It all started several years ago when the sisters were attending a women's conference at their church. Christine Caine who founded The A21 Campaign was speaking about the realities of human, particularly for the use of sex, trafficking around the world, and how her initiative had started with just one person. For the sisters, this was a wake-up call. Carranza had been working in fashion and they had both been designing jewelry for as long as they can remember. "We thought, why not sell our jewelry and donate some of the proceeds?" says Carpenter. And thus, Bracha was born.
The jewelry line donates 20% of proceeds to three anti-human trafficking organizations, including A21 and the local non-profit, Rescue Her. And it's grown from a passion project for the sisters into a full-time business. The designs, which are available online, are now available in several hundred stores around the country, including a few locally including Gallerie Noir in the Design District. Their jewelry has been featured by numerous publications and television shows including The Today Show, but they see their biggest push through social media.
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"We're finding that people today want to get behind businesses with a message," says Carranza, who references Tom's shoe line, as a prominent example. "We love it when people share our story with their followers."
Carpenter believes the mission runs even deeper. For her, some of the same confidence issues that trap women around the world in unwelcome situations are in the same vein as a teenage girl in America who never learns her own self worth. "We're all one decision away from finding ourselves in an abusive relationship, or struggling to stand up for ourselves," says Carpenter. "I want girls to know how beautiful they really are, how strong they are."
This weekend, Bracha is stepping out with one of its first community events. They've partnered with Exodus Cry and the Granada Theater to host a small party at 7:30 p.m. Thursday with a screening of Merchant of Souls, a documentary that investigates modern day sex slavery. Tickets are $3 and the proceeds from the jewelry sales will benefit Rescue Her.
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