Nothing but Monkey Love for byTavi

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I’m not great at writing and I constantly joke that I’m a secret introvert. To be completely honest, I’d love to just sit and watch the conversations and fun happen around me. But you would never guess that because I’m great at hiding it. So here I am, leading a fair trade boutique, products made by women that I know and love, and will be moving our store to Franklin, Indiana. I am meeting a huge amount of new people, being interviewed by newspapers, and writing blogs. I guess I’ll go on pretending that I’m an extrovert.

By the way, my name is Kristen. I work for the Center for Global Impact (CGI) as the Director of byTavi. (I’ll explain all that in a minute.)

I met Nicole and Brandon (you know, the two crazy, creative, and energetic owners of Marshmallow Monkey) in the summer of 2013. They were just opening the Monkey and were in our shop as a new partner and wholesaler. They happened to see our trial centerpieces for our black-tie fundraising event, and in the nicest way possible, told me that we needed their help. Ha! This was the beginning of a hilarious and exciting partnership.

Fast forward 2 years. Nicole and Brandon have been a great source of encouragement to me over the past few months. You see, CGI was looking for a new place to call home. We’ve been in an office space/strip mall for 4 years and we have WAY over-grown our little space. In May, we thought we found the PERFECT house that would fit us all plus our boutique that we were hoping to expand. The Greenwood house fell through, and to say that I was disappointed did not fully express my feelings.

BUT Nicole reminded me that God has a bigger plan. In an e-mail response to a donor event that we invited her and Brandon to, she was telling me all about the crazy ride that her and Brandon had just been tossed onto (which lead to the purchase of their new building). Seeing our invitation, she said: “ I noticed Psalms 34:8 and wanted to read the passage. I made a mistake and typed 32:8 and here’s what the passage read: “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel and watch over you” Now, back to work… :-)”

Then, as we continued sifting through the weeds of business development, Nicole said this to me: “Often, I reflect back on life in so many circumstances where things didn’t fall into place the way I wanted them to, and actually they were part of a better, more perfect plan. Just trust. Heck, I am on the trust train to “I don’t know where”…but it’s gotta be good.”

Our current paths have been so similar lately, that I tossed out the question one day, “Do you know any houses for sale that we could buy?” Thinking I meant for my husband and I, they suggested Franklin. Long story short, the Monkey house was actually going up for sale soon and byTavi, through an incredible donor of ours, was able to snatch it up before it even went public.

God did have a plan. We were a part of a better, more perfect plan and didn’t even know it. We just trusted and jumped on the train to “I don’t know where.” And it’s good. So good. byTavi is so excited to be in Franklin and in partnership with such amazing friends and now neighbors.

So what is byTavi and why are we bringing the boutique to Franklin? byTavi is a project of CGI and part of its mission to Empower the Poor, Protect the Vulnerable, and Share the Gospel. We work with women in Cambodia offering vocational training, consistent employment, and a living wage were poverty is widespread. Many of our women are victims of – or vulnerable to – human trafficking.

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Through the byTavi project and workshop, these women construct high-quality, boutique-style handbags and clothing. We are so blessed to be bringing the gorgeous products of byTavi to Franklin and believe that this location will further our mission and allow us to work with even more women in Cambodia.

I look forward to meeting you and showing you around the new byTavi Boutique! Come see us at our Grand Opening celebration on August 15th from 10:30am – 5:00pm. Let’s shop together and Make More than a Fashion Statement.

Oh, and just because it’s important information, all of the proceeds from our sales go back into the projects in Cambodia.

Can’t wait to say hello,

Kristen

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