"All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother. - Abraham Lincoln
This statement couldn't be more true. As you can imagine, the importance of motherhood runs deep in our Tribe. Many of the artisans in the villages we partner with around the world are mothers, and Tribe member Arushi has commented on how strong the role of women is in Bhuj - where the weaving process starts and ends with the women of the Tribe. That's special. The women of the Tribe are special, and we wouldn't be here without them. This statement holds true for our own mothers as well. Today we are full of gratitude for them, because without their undying support and love, Ethnotek wouldn't be possible. Today we are counting our many blessings, and taking time to express gratitude to the mothers in our villages, and our own mothers.
I'd like to share with you a video that Tribe member and friend Aaron Fryman shared with us, from the Hmong Cultural Center of St. Paul, MN, called "Threads of Life (Paj Ntaub)" that illustrates the importance of traditional threads in the Hmong culture and the sharing of this craft from one generation to the next.
This is incredible, isn't it?! It's inspiring. "Every generation is supposed to prepare for the next. Since few Hmong could read or write for centuries, our people have used the threads of life to tie one generation to the next. Hmong women have always played an important role. It is a gift from the heart, made with the hand...Love can be seen in the proud eyes of a mother, and a daughter's willingness to learn. Together, young girls and their mothers create beautiful Hmong costumes...The traditional Hmong threads worn by a girl, often show her family history and what family plan she belongs to. It connects her to her roots." This is why we are here. To keep culture alive for generations to come. So we'd be remiss not to take some time to thank the people in our lives that have helped us to make this all possible: our own mothers.
Meet Founder and Head Bag Designer Jake's awesome mom, Cathy. I am pretty sure Cathy is an angel disguised in Ethnotek clothing, slinging Ethnotek bags 'round the world. Check out Ethnotek's domestic HQ, in Cathy's basement in Eagan, MN. Fancy, huh?! Truth. Cathy is responsible for welcoming all of you Tribe members who order directly from our website to the Tribe. She has shipped bags from LA to Pakistan to London to Japan, and she keeps the operation moving smoothly (together with Founder Josh, Customer Care Guru). Cathy, we love you and are forever thankful for you. For your passion, your commitment to the cause, and for making this journey possible.
Check out the set-up Cathy's got going on for Ethnotek HQ...incredible!
Cathy's showing off the recently-launched Vietnam 2 Dep Tote below...her bag of choice.
Meet Founder and Customer Care Guru Josh's mom, Penny. If you recall, Penny was the mastermind behind the recycled Thread fabric lanyards from our first stint at Outdoor Retailer last summer. Penny has a tremendously special soul - she is a creative guru and has an unmatched spirit. She is always willing to help and she has raised quite the special spirit in Josh as well. For those of you who have had the pleasure of meeting him, you'll know what I mean. Penny, we are beyond thankful for your support.
Check out Penny's work station and the awesome result of the recycled Thread fabric lanyards...
Special thanks goes out to two more Tribe mothers - Josh's amazing and supportive wife, Carrie (mother to little Layla - below), and Megan's mom - and one of Ethnotek's best customers - Kate (she almost single-handedly keeps the organization afloat with her online orders :)). Of course, there are many more mothers we could thank...you are all incredible.
Take a moment today to thank your mom, and the mothers around you. Motherhood is the greatest accomplishment, and in our Tribe it also means a continuation of cultural traditions for generations to come.
Thank you, Tribe moms.