Inside the A Beautiful Refuge workshop...

We're now several weeks into launching A Beautiful Refuge and we're excited to now have a functional workshop space! This space is temporary, as we're actually having a new little space built that we should be able to move into in early May, but it works quite well for now and we're grateful to have it! 

Our project team member Nicola took some shots of our current space, and we'd like to share a little visual tour with you:

The start of Week 2

Week 2 is upon us, and the time is flying by. We have had quite a few complications in the past few days but we are slowly making progress. Customs is still holding our box of t-shirts but we hope to get them tomorrow. Secondly, because of the high humidity here (it's over 80% everyday) we've initially had trouble getting our screens to dry and cure and have had to scramble to problem-solve!

Below is our screen printing shop and office! 

We're printing! First lesson - we're beyond excited. 

We'll update again later this week with more photos! Thank you for your constant support! 

Hello from Tagaytay! We're here!

Hello friends of A Beautiful Refuge! It’s been a full week since we boarded our flights in both Minneapolis and Nashville, met up in Chicago and then flew to Tokyo! After thirty hours of travel, we made it to Manila at 11pm on Saturday evening - exhausted but happy to be on the ground.

We spent the first few days in Manila getting over the jet lag and slight sickness that hit all of us hard before diving into prep work. A Beautiful Refuge is based in Tagaytay, a province about two or three hours south of the city, so we had to gather all of our supplies before driving south. Traffic in Manila is insanely bad, so it would take a us a full day to gather just a few supplies from different shops and printing places around the city.

Early Wednesday morning we packed our bags and took an Uber to Tagaytay, excited to be in fresh air and close to the Safe Refuge girls. We spent the day playing with the little kids (imagine thirty kids, just loving being with you! We couldn’t stop smiling) eating rice with everyone and bringing in our gear.

Today (Thursday) we gathered the remaining smaller supplies we needed, like buckets, scrub brushes, and tape, and set up the print shop in one of Safe’s buildings. We’re currently grabbing wifi at Carlos Pizza in Tagaytay, where I’m writing this post. Tagaytay feels like home to us - or a place that we know we are called to be for the present. Tomorrow Hannah and Andrew will start teaching the women how to screenprint and I continue photographing their work with Safe Refuge.

Please keep praying for us - we have yet to get our box of materials that is being held by customs and they are wanting to charge us high fees to get it back. Donations are still coming in and are needed! We are so excited to start shipping products soon. Prayers for continued safety, physical health for all of us and the Safe Refuge staff and emotional wellbeing are so appreciated. Every small step makes a difference. Thank you so much! 

-Nicola

 

 

 

 

 

Update: 7 Days To Launch!

Hello! 

I just wanted to publish a quick update for all of the awesome friends of Safe Refuge who are following along as this project unfolds! It's crazy to think that just a few months ago, this entire project was just a big idea in the heads of some women who wanted to get together and DO SOMETHING to love and support some other women halfway around the world. Global sisterhood  (and brotherhood!) is a beautiful thing! 

Here's a quick rundown of the good and the bad, with a week left to launch! 


The Good: 

  • 7 DAYS until our US team flies over to the Philippines to launch the project! We're thrilled and overwhelmed with gratitude toward the generous hearts of each of our donors which have gotten us this far! 
  • We've raised nearly all of our startup costs and have already been able to order much of the needed supplies for the workshop! There's still a bit more to raise, but we also have some pre-orders for product coming in which will help us reach goal by the time we land in the Philippines.
  • We've begun to make some amazing new connections in the Philippines and have several meetings set up with other entrepreneurs and startup groups during our first few days on the ground. We're really excited to get to know and network with the existing social enterprise community. 
  • We've gotten our first two official wholesale orders (even before we're entirely set up! Thanks to Molly and Laura for believing in us!), with 4 more orders pending! 

The Bad: 

  • We are experiencing a bit of government corruption as a few vital boxes of product are being held at customs and we're being told that we need to pay far more than the going tax/tariff rates to release them. It's an unfair and expensive roadblock, and we're hoping that our shipping agent will be able to help us resolve the issue and bring the price down to a fair point. 

  • We haven't tracked down a workshop space in Tagaytay/Cavite yet. In a pinch, we can use space at Safe Refuge's campus temporarily but it would be ideal to have dedicated space nearby right off the bat! 

  • Various other mishaps and obstacles (nothing crazy, just inconveniences and personal happenings) have occurred over the past week that have resulted in quite a bit of stress for both our Philippines and US teams. We covet your prayers and support over the next few critical weeks! 

Update: Design!

After several rounds of design (using, among others, the gorgeous designs submitted by our blogger partners ChristyAshlee, Holly, and Jacqui) and a great big survey gathering consumer feedback, here we are with our final product group! 

We were thrilled to have nearly 200 respondents to our survey, and even more thrilled that people LOVED the designs and had so many nice things to say about our inaugural line! Most of us working on the project, with the exception of our textile designer Lizzie and our illustrator Rachael, aren't technically "product designers"- so thank you, everyone who participated in the survey- for making us all feel super awesome about our art! 

Now, for your viewing pleasure: The products! 

Pillows: 

Banners: 

Tees: 

Stay tuned for pre-ordering opportunities in April to make sure that you can snag your favorite product! If you're interested in a wholesale order consisting of these designs, or even a custom design of your own printed on ethically made tees with eco-inks, contact us

Update: Screenprinting Skills

It's getting real. With just a little over a month to go until A Beautiful Refuge officially launches in the Philippines, anticipation is running high for our team in Tagaytay and for our US partners as well! 

When setting up a screen printing shop it's important to, well, KNOW HOW to screen print. Thankfully screen printing whiz kid and Press Coverage owner Jared has been kind enough to teach Andrew and I the ropes so that we'll be able to transfer that knowledge to A Beautiful Refuge's new employees once we reach the Philippines. 

In the shop, we had a bit of a funny moment as I quickly discovered that screen printing equipment isn't built for short women! In order to get just the right amount of pressure to apply ink to your fabric, you have to be able to lean over the press and bear down a bit. At just over 5 feet, my arms just bareeeely reached where they needed to. Needless to say, plans are now underway to customize the height of our equipment as we set up shop- with an average height of 4'11', our Filipina mama's aren't going to fare any better than I did! 

Hope you've enjoyed this little project sneak peek! From myself, Andrew, our team partners here in the US, and the women at Safe Refuge: THANK YOU for making all of this possible. How absolutely amazing that we've all come together to create a brand-new business. I'm in awe! 

-Hannah 

Support Safe Refuge and Check "Hot Air Balloon Ride" off Your Bucket List.

Dear Friends & Supporters, 

Our goal for this month is to raise enough money to buy a drying oven (you can see what that decidedly non-glamourous piece of equipment looks here).  Our wonderfully generous friends at Stillwater Balloon have offered give away a private hot air balloon package for two (worth $750.00) to all donors who give at the $500 mark or above (the donation amount can be split two ways if you'd like to go in on it with a friend!). This would be an AMAZING Valentine's day or Galentine's day gift! Click here to donate.