Monday, December 9, 2013
It has been quite a month or so since we launched Bennison Gives, our children's wear company for social good. We started at the Brick Church Fair here in New York City which was wonderful - great reception and a lot of excited customers. It was heartwarming to see, and I had my first taste of the retail world (from the selling side:)) at least in a small way. The Brick Church community was wonderful, and I can't wait to see all of the precious little ones wearing their Bennison jammies - please send photos! We then went to the Junior league show which was also a great learning experience. But in many ways what has excited me the most is to witness the grassroots enthusiasm of so many sweet friends and acquaintances and friends of friends who have reached out asking how they can help and be involved. The idea behind the company has always been that small acts can make a big difference (in this case providing pajamas which can make a life saving difference for newborn babies suffering from thermal regulation issues). And the power of women helping women around the world. In my own historic research (in my real job as a professor), I have seen in history the many instances that women have come together, even under the radar, as a powerful force for social change, and I see this happening before my eyes in this "pajama movement." Since we launched the company, I have had women in Omaha, Nebraska (thank you Carolyn Sutton), Grand Rapids, Michigan (Thank you Maggie Revel), and Brooklyn, New York (Thank you Amy Kushner)come together to collect pajamas to send to children in need. I have had emails from friends in Jackson Hole and San Francisco and Charleston and Washington, DC and St. Croix asking how they can be involved and what they can do to help. This is all in the span of a few shorts weeks. It has been so inspiring to see the grassroots seeds of this movement, and I know that we can make a big difference. As important as the actual pajamas collected is the illustration, by these acts, of the compassion and care that women have for those in need, and I know from being in Burundi how important it is for people there to know that they are not alone and have not been forgotten. From the knowledge that one is not alone arises hope, and we all need hope, especially those in dire need. Thank you for inspiring me and for supporting this project, and please reach out to me with any ideas as we move forward!