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Monday, September 9, 2013

meeting the founder...

A couple of weeks ago, a dream I didn't even realize I had came true. Some other Noonday ambassadors contacted me and let me know that noonday founder, Jessica Honegger, was at that time vacationing with her family in northern Indiana. Jessica had graciously offered--last minute--to get together with area ambassadors to meet us and have a little time together.

I hadn't really imagined meeting Jessica up until that time, but when the invitation was sent--I suddenly realized: "I would LOVE to meet her!" Jessica said we could come right out to the lake home that her family was staying out, and she would share appetizers and a boat ride with us. What? Seriously?? Sign me up!

Like I said, this was all last minute. It turned into one of the craziest days of my life--and that's saying something! Around noon on Tuesday, it was decided I would go. Noon... as the kids and I sat at a park, where we had spent the entire morning, sweaty and unshowered. I went into crazy overdrive. Threw the kids in the van, rushed home, got a shower, got changed (seriously--what accessories to choose??). Threw the kids back in the van, rushed them over to my wonderful sister's house so she could watch them until Rey got off work. Hopped into my sister's van (which she kindly loaned me, since ours was on a spare tire) and began driving towards Indiana around 2 pm.

The plan had been to meet up with two other ambassadors at the Illinois-Indiana border, and then ride over to the lake with them. The idea of only having to drive halfway was really what had sealed the deal for me. However, as I neared the border, the other ambassador called: "Liz! Bad news! We just realized where Jessica is is an hour ahead of us, so we are going to have to go on without you." Ugh! Talk about a sinking feeling! A whole hour lost!

Mapquest put the destination about 5.5 hours from my house, and it ended up being 6.5. I pulled in just as the sun was sinking in a glorious, glowing orb over the lake. Jessica was seated behind the house on a lake-side deck with 3 other Indiana ambassadors. As I rounded the house, she jumped to her feet and gave me a big hug. We were all introduced and took a picture together before we went inside for some snacks.



Jessica smiled, "Sorry, girls. I'm on vacation--and this is what you get. I'm still in my swimsuit, no shower, no makeup!" Even so, she glowed with warmth and kindness. She excitedly invited us to watch a video with her. "They just sent this to me, so I haven't even seen it yet. It is the behind-the-scenes video of when we were shooting for the catalog." How sweet of her to share that with us. You can see the video here.

Later, we took a nice, leisurely boat ride on the now-darkened lake, swatting off the hordes of mosquitoes as we all got to know each other a little more. It was so refreshing to note Jessica's sincerity and lack of pretense or awkwardness. She was just her genuine self, having a relaxing evening on the lake. It was also inspiring to see how she truly lives and breathes the passion of Noonday Collection's vision. Our artisans and their well-being is constantly on her mind and in her conversations.

Jessica spoke of dreams she has for them, of desiring to develop a few very deep, sustainable relationships with specific artisan groups--as opposed to shallow connections with many. She talked about the goal of having a scholarship fund for the children of the artisans to be able to go to school--and even university! She encouraged us to never be embarrassed of what we do--specifically speaking to the direct-sales aspect--because what we are doing is changing lives, families and communities. "Just get out there, be bold and don't doubt your impact... I really believe we've only seen the tip of the iceberg in regards to what Noonday is going to be and what it's going to do."

I share this story not to "put Jessica on a pedestal" at all. Not at all. Instead, I do it to give you a glimpse of the sincerity and passion that runs Noonday Collection. People ask me all the time about percentages and "how can you be sure the money is going where it is supposed to go??". (Check out some good info on that here). Those are valid questions, and ones I myself ask and have asked. I left Indiana, after sleeping for 4 hours, filled with excitement about what I am a part of--and what I am able to share with you!

Rest assured that Noonday Collection is a company with real heart for the people it employs and passionate vision for the ongoing development and growth of their families and communities. Noonday is a collection of dreamers who are in love with the power of work, the power of community and the power of hope. I am SO honored to be able to partner with them in connecting you into this huge, global family. It is truly a beautiful thing!

In honor of the Fall launch, Noonday ambassadors have been participating in a month-long "blog train"--with giveaways each day! Today, it is my turn... yay!

{PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED}

I am giving away this best-selling: "Light Layers Necklace, Seagreen":



This beautiful statement piece is made up of strands of green, hand-carved, hand-dyed acai nut beads from the jungles of Ecuador. It represents hours, weeks and even months of work.... a labor-intensive process of collecting, drying, carving, dying & stringing.

Leave a comment on what YOU love about Noonday Collection (check out the whole catalog here ) --or tell me when you are going to host a Noonday show ;) ...  and I will randomly choose the winner on Thursday!

Thanks for reading!

PS--If you're reading this and are in the Peoria area... Tuesday night (September 10), I am doing a launch party for the Fall line at the Bradley LeavesnBeans in Peoria from 6-9p. Be sure to stop by!!

30 comments:

  1. I love the bright colors and big statement pieces, but more than that I love that the company is helping provide individuals with a sustainable income!

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  2. You know that I love everything about Noonday! The jewelry and bags are not only beautiful, but are made with such a high quality and attention to detail. I also love the passion and purpose behind the company. :)

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  3. What's not to love about Noonday? #1 is their mission. I love it, I believe it, I support it!

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  4. I love how unique the pieces are (up cycled artillery? So cool!). And I love the attention to detail, skill, and hard work that obviously goes into creating the Noonday collection. What a wonderful company to support!

    - K. McNulty

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  5. I love how central the artisans are to the Noonday story. Everything is so beautiful and unique but the best part is that when I wear a piece of Noonday Collection, I know that i'm helping the artisan that made it have a better future. That's pretty amazing!

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  6. I think everything about Noonday is beautiful! The artisans, the founder, the mission, the jewelry and of COURSE, the ambassadors! ; ) I love how every piece has a story and is a tangible step out of poverty for the person who made it. And I would like to host a show in late October.

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  7. I love the bold, bright colors and great statement pieces. Every time I wear my paper beads bracelet people compliment me on it! I also love the fact that some of my money is going to help true people loving in poverty and its changing their lives, rather than going to a sweatshop in china!
    Jessica Dobra

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  8. I love Noonday, the artisans, the products, the mission and yes the sisterhood! My favorite pieces are those made from the old artillery. Those metallic pearls are fabulous and so are the pieces made with them.

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  9. I host a Noonday show every Fall in Houston -- my favorite event of the year. I love all of the stories of changed lives and how each piece truly does tell a story. Whether the paper beads from Uganda, or the artillery used to make beads in Ethiopia -- transformation is spoken in every piece and I love that.

    My favorite piece from the new Fall line is the modern angles necklace. Stunning!

    Thanks for the giveaway!

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  10. I like that they help support women of other countries. Ronda

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  11. I am loving all of the Ethiopia artillery pieces but the next item I have to have is the esperanza!

    chelsey statham
    blondey14c@yahoo.com

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  12. I love the fact that Noonday helps give jobs to people who need them. All the pieces have such an inspiring story that goes along with it. I LOVE everything that Noonday stands for.

    carlybean8@yahoo.com

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  13. I love that Noonday advocates for orphans! We are having an adoption fundraiser with our ambassador this month, so excited!

    Heather Gould
    Heather0226@msn.com

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  14. I love that Noonday is giving people a means to help themselves which is sustainable and gives them a sense of ownership.

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  15. i love that it connects the world in such a beautiful way. jewelry can be meaningful!

    kolpin4680 at gmail dot com

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  16. I love that I'm getting to "meet" all these amazing women through this "blog train" and that beautiful jewelry can do such amazing things. I already knew amazing and beautiful women could do amazing things - so that part doesn't surprise me. ;)

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  17. I love the hope and opportunity it gives women and families!

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  18. What I love about the Noonday collection (other than the wonderful mission!) is their use of all different kinds of mediums, colors, and textures. There is something for everyone and there are so many pieces that I am drooling over. I absolute LOVE the necklace you are giving away. LOVE LOVE LOVE

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  19. Besides the fact that the pieces are gorgeous, I love the mission of Noonday. I love that it means hope for so many women and families.

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  20. I love the mission! It's a field that I'm going into and I love it when bloggers help open people's eyes to various organizations that are out there!!!

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  21. I love that necklace, I heard about this company just a week ago, such a cool way to help others

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  22. I love the Nahuala trays! feliciawilson(at)gmail(dot)com

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  23. I love the original style. And I love the company's mission. Angie Daily

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  24. I love how Noonday works. I love seeing the videos and photos of those people who work as artisans and share how they are rising above their situations because of the Noonday opportunity. We have so much in our Country, and buying from Noonday helps to give to others.

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  25. I love everything! Hosting a party with my local ambassador this weekend!

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  26. I love how colorful all of their merchandise is!

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  27. I love the story of redemption and grace that NoonDay communicates. I've read so many blogs recently about the artisans and what NoonDay is doing for each family. What power to take something that is broken and help heal families.

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  28. I love so many of the new pieces! And I love the mission of Noonday, and how it was all started by a mom who saw a need! LOVE!

    ~Callie B.
    dcbranch(at)gmail(dot)com

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  29. I love that Noonday gives voices to women who would otherwise not be heard. Love it!

    -Rylie.

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  30. Thank you all for your comments!! I LOVE seeing all this energy for Noonday... so awesome! The winner of the giveaway is K. McNulty!! :)

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