Carrying the Story

Summer at Re:new August 06 2014, 0 Comments

Greetings! Hope you are enjoying the beauty of summer. Summer is filled with sunshine, family and friends and we are grateful for the warmth of the  season. We've had a busy summer and so many exciting things are happening at Re:new.
 
Did you know our products are now available at Whole Foods in Wheaton? We are honored to showcase the beautiful work of our local refugee artisans. Many, many thanks to Whole Foods for partnering with us. Please stop in and see the selection of Re:new items on display.
 (Re:new at Whole Foods Market Wheaton)
We also had the privilege of hosting our first ever pop-up store at West Elm in Oak Brook. It was a wonderful opportunity to share the Re:new story with new friends. We were overwhelmed by the positive response and enthusiasm for our beautiful handmade creations. Thank you to West Elm for hosting this event.
 
 (Re:new's pop-up shop at West Elm Oakbrook)
Finally, in July we participated in the Wheaton World Tour at Memorial Park in downtown Wheaton. It was a fun and festive evening celebrating the diversity in our community. We happily shared the amazing work of our talented refugee artisans with local residents.
 
(image courtesy of the Daily HeraldJessica Cilella | Staff Photographer)
Enjoy the final days of summer and watch for our fall collection coming soon!

The Nam-Yoo Bag… Coming August 16th August 05 2014, 2 Comments

The Fashion Studies department of Columbia College Chicago has teamed up with Re:new’s Artisans to bring you the Nam-Yoo Bag, a versatile bag that doubles as a tote and a backpack.

Meaning “two ways” in Burmese, the Nam-Yoo is built to keep up with your full life. Designed with you in mind, the Nam-Yoo’s straps are easily converted to meet the demands of your day. This bag was designed by fashion student Hannah Linder and brought to life in Re:new’s studio with our team of talented artisans. Meet Za Lian, the lead Advanced Artisan on this project.

Be the first to scoop yours up! Available beginning Saturday, August 16th, at Re:new’s Annual Tent Sale and online for our out-of-town friends.

From our Artisan's hands to yours, we hope you love this bag as much as we do. 

Let us send you a reminder about this bag when it launches: Follow us on Facebook or sign-up to receive Re:new emails on the bottom right of our Homepage.

{ As always, your purchase provides employment and community for refugee women in America }

 

(Fashion design student, Hannah Linder, works alongside Artisans Za Lian and Fatma to bring the Nam-Yoo to life.)

 

 

 

 


Celebrate World Refugee Day with Re:new - Shop 20% Off June 12 2014, 0 Comments

 

June 20, 2014  -  6:30pm – 9:00pm

250 Pennsylvania Ave.
Glen Ellyn, IL 60137
(old Scripture Press building)
 

Re:new Project would like to celebrate the accomplishments of it’s nearly 20+ refugee artisans who have worked diligently to become skilled artisans of beautifully hand-made bags and accessories. On this day, we honor these women and their efforts to live and support their families after having been displaced from the place they once called home.

There are over 43.7 million refugees and internally displaced people around the world and of those, UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) provides lifesaving assistance and protection to 34 million of them, of which 80% are women and children.

We invite you to join with us in this celebration of courage, strength, determination, and love.  Hear stories from our refugee artisans, learn about the state of refugees here in our very own communities from a World Relief expert, and shop our store to support the lives of these amazing women.

In honor of World Refugee Day, Re:new is offering a 20% discount on all regularly-priced items during this event. Your purchase of a Re:new item, provides employment and community for refugee women resettled here in Dupage County.

Come listen, and be challenged to walk alongside a fellow mother, daughter, and sister rebuilding her life here in our community!

Schedule of Event

6:30pm                                 Welcome & Shopping

7:00pm                                 Presentation by World Relief expert

7:15pm                                 Testimonies from Re:new artisans

7:30pm – 9:00 pm               Shopping in Re:new Store

 


Volunteer Spotlight December 23 2013, 0 Comments

This Holiday Season we asked one our awesome volunteers to tell us why she spends her time at Re:new. Kate Fleming is a talented seamstress and quilter who spends each Tuesday in the Re:new Studio alongside our Artisans.

Kate, why do you volunteer at Re:new?

As we move from the season of gratitude into the season of giving I am feeling the circle come together in my experiences at Re:new.

Some of us have more time than money and some more money than time. But both are important to making our world a better, richer place. I had a full circle moment this week when Niru showed me pictures of her new house.

How do I know Niru? I volunteer my time at Re:new, where Niru is one of many refugees who is learning the to make beautiful hand crafted bags, purses, and aprons.

She and her family earned this house through Habitat for Humanity and Niru's employment at Re:new. I've been donating to Habitat for probably two decades. I haven't spent volunteer time with this quality charity but I know they do important work, as there are precious few things more important than shelter. 

Many people have stepped up to donating time and money to help out with the tornadoes that blew through the Midwest last month and the cyclone that devastated the Philipines. 

For the little time I spend, I reap great rewards. For the little we each spend, it all adds up to great deeds.

I volunteer because I am thankful for all of the blessings I have received. 

And to show my gratitude I share my time and blessings with others. Peace to you and yours this joyous, giving season, Kate


Autumn at Re:new November 08 2013, 0 Comments

Outside the studio at Re:new, seasonal change is upon us. The morning air is crisp and the leaves are starting to turn brilliant Autumn colors.

Many of the refugees working with Re:new are also living in days of transition; they are leaving one season of life behind to enter into a new season full of hope.

One of our Artisans, Amira fled Iraq with her daughter due to escalating violence and discrimination. She had to abandon her home, her family members and her friends when she moved to the United States in hopes of beginning a new life in a safer place.

Amira is not alone in her story, nor is she alone as she begins to construct her new life out of what is left. Re:New has come along side her, and many women like her, to walk through this transition.

At Re:new, refugee women have the opportunity to begin a new season of professional growth. Through their role as Advanced Artisans they have the opportunity to teach their sewing skills and empower other refugee women to support themselves and their families in their new environment. 

Even as our lives change and the seasons revolve, so do the women we touch with our hearts. And we, in turn are touched by them.

 

 

 "Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree."  Emily Bronte

 

 

 

 

 


The Rustic Messenger Bag, coming November 5 November 01 2013, 0 Comments

Shop the Collection.

We're proud to bring you the Rustic Messenger Bag as the latest creation from our Artisans' Studio.

This artesian bag was built from the conviction that your bag should be as awesome as you are. Designed, cut, and sewn in-house in its entirety, this bag’s handmade craftsmanship places it a cut above the rest. Quality and texture are the touchstone of this small batch product. The signature of the Rustic is its vertical leather band reminding us that you and I are stronger when we band together and are joined in our common humanity.

As always, your purchase of this product provides employment and community for refugee women resettled in the USA. As you carry this bag, you carry the story of the remarkable woman who made it, right here in the USA.

 


Holiday Sale and Open House October 25 2013, 0 Comments

Date: Saturday, November 2, 2013

Time: 9am—4pm

Where: Re:new Store & Studio

250 Pennsylvania Avenue, Glen Ellyn, IL 60137

{Old Scripture Press Building}

What to expect:

The holiday season is quickly approaching, and we’re excited to usher it in with a celebration of our own. The Holiday Sale will feature the workmanship, culture, and food of our incredible Artisans. You can expect to find holiday decorations for your home, great deals on Messenger Bags, and more. We will also be featuring a limited number of our new Rustic Messenger Bags. Get here early, because this is your only chance to pick your favorite before they go online! Get a jump on your holiday shopping and be a part of making a big difference in our community.  We can’t wait to see you there! As always, every product is handmade in the Re:new Studio by a woman who sought refuge here.

Why you don’t want to miss it:

  • You’re passionate about empowering women in our community.
  • You love great deals.
  • You want first dibs on Re:new’s new Rustic Messenger Bags and holiday products
  • You know that there’s nothing better than hot drinks and great food on a chilly day.
  • You want to know more about the fascinating cultural backgrounds of our artisans.
  • You’re looking for quality products and gifts that make a difference.

Whatever your reason, please join us for Re:new’s Holiday Sale!

Questions? Please contact us or give us a call at (630) 450-5952.


The Kilimanjaro Crossbody Bag October 04 2013, 0 Comments

Coming to the online store October 10!

 

 


How It's Made September 25 2013, 1 Comment

Re:new creates products that change lives.

Every product at Re:new is handcrafted by refugee women resettled in the United States. Re:new’s production method is not the traditional system of cut-and-sew, where each seamstress is responsible for one specific operation, such as joining pockets or constructing straps. Re:new’s production method enlists each Artisan to create her product from beginning to end, equipping her with all the necessary skills to develop and sew products of her own in the future.

1. Product Development: More Than Just Great Design

Every Re:new product is designed in-house. At Re:new’s studio in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, our skilled Advanced Artisans dream up and design products in tandem with our Production Director. New product designs are reviewed and only the most exceptional are implemented. Re:new products are a symphony of culture, quality, and creativity.

2. Materials: Responsibly Sourced

Over 80% of the materials used to create our products are upcycled. Individuals and businesses in our local community are investing in the lives of refugee women in our community by dropping off textiles at our studio. Donated materials are then checked for quality and sorted into categories by our Production Team.

3. Textile Selection: The Difference Is In The Details

Every Re:new product is one-of-a-kind and hand selected. The Production Team carefully chooses textiles from our stock of new and donated materials, including professional quality fabrics and fun vintage textiles. Each product is professionally crafted with an enormous attention to details down to the last thread.

4. Cutting and Sewing: A Dignified Space

All the raw materials for the product are then carried down the hall, past our flagship store, to the Re:new studio. We are intentional about providing a peaceful and dignified space for our Artisans to sew. The act of creating products of value is a powerful exercise in restoring hope to broken lives. Re:new’s entire space is a place where real women with real stories live with hope.

5. Quality Control: Crafted With Care

No product reaches the store before undergoing a quality control check and review. First, each product is carefully inspected by the Artisan herself to ensure every detail is exceptional. Second, the product goes through our Studio Manager for a review. Finally, our sales associates make one final look of love before it makes its way to you. You can be confident that your purchase has been created with remarkable care.

6. Tagging: The Power of Kind Words

 

As the final step, each completed product is personally tagged by the Artisan who made it from start to finish. We encourage you to participate in the story of the woman who created your purchase. Through our Send a Note feature, we hope you will connect with her to build bridges, bring awareness, and simply spread kindness.


The Crossbody Tote... Coming at the end of September! September 06 2013, 0 Comments

It’s a customer-favorite at our Flagship Store & Studio in Wheaton, Illinois, and it’s coming to Re:new’s online store at the end of September… the fabulous and functional Cross Body Tote. This gem of a bag is outfitted with six interior pockets, adjustable crossbody strap, and triple-stitching to withstand the wear-and-tear of spontaneous adventures and daily life.
 
The straps are the perfect length to comfortably sling over your shoulder, hold in your hand without brushing the ground, or across your body with the adjustable crossbody strap.
 
Each bag is handcrafted using recycled materials and is literally one-of-a-kind. So check back at the end of September to scoop yours up!
 
Be sure to sign up for our email list on the bottom-left-corner of our homepage to be the first to know when they are available.
 
{ Happily handmade in the USA by a woman who sought refuge here. Meet the Artisans behind the bag.}


Celebrating Success! August 15 2013, 0 Comments

Gloria with Streamers

We're celebrating here at Re:new! Four of our artisans have been promoted to Advanced Artisans this summer and we're beginning our fifth year of sewing classes for local refugee women in a few days!

Three Advanced ArtisansAdvanced Artisan Sewing

Nigora, Gloria, Faduma and Za Lian have proven themselves to be accomplished women with beautiful hearts and talent that comes from many hours of hard work, experience and passion for their craft. As Advanced Artisans, they are now teaching other students, cutting their own products, assisting in designing new products, and helping manage the sewing studio!

Advanced Artisan with Bag

If you happen to pop in the store anytime soon, peek around the corner and congratulate them! When you purchase their products, the proceeds cycle back into the employment of our artisans and you get to take home or gift a unique handmade product -- shopping that makes a difference in your community!

Another reason to celebrate? We are particularly proud of our new fall collection. Re:new artisans have been handcrafting the new Kilimanjaro bag in addition to several styles of our popular Crossbody Bag (available online soon!), and many fun and utilitarian zips, sleeves and journals...just to name a few! Take a look at our Fall Lookbook and celebrate what our artisans have been creating!


Behind the Scenes {Fall Shoot 2013} August 14 2013, 0 Comments

The Fall Lookbook is a celebration of the work of our Re:new artisans and a peek at what we're rolling out this season in our Glen Ellyn store. Looking for well-made, handcrafted products that support your local community? Come shop at Re:new and be inspired!


Tent Sale July 30 2013, 0 Comments

Date:  Saturday, August 17, 2013

Time:  9am - 4pm

Where:  Re:new Store & Studio

250 Pennsylvania Avenue, Glen Ellyn, IL  60137

{ Old Scripture Press Building }

What to expect:

Summertime and celebrations go hand-in-hand and we’re excited to invite you to our Tent Sale celebrating our Artisans’ workmanship. You can expect amazing deals on Spring and Summer collections (up to 75% off!) as well as first dibs on Re:new’s brand new back-to-school items. We've never had a sale like this before and you won’t want to miss it! And as always, every product is handmade in the Re:new Studio by a woman who sought refuge here. 

Because:

  • It’s the weekend!
  • You love a deal.
  • You've been meaning to come visit Re:new’s Store & Studio.
  • Tents are fun, and shopping outside is better than shopping inside!
  • You’re globally minded and interested in learning more about refugees in our community.
  • You’re looking for quality products & gifts that make a difference.

Whatever your reason, please join us for Re:new’s first ever Tent Sale!

Questions? Please contact us or give us a call (630) 450-5952.

 


Re:new + Sleeping At Last July 22 2013, 0 Comments

O'Neals and Sandbergs

Several years ago, my husband and I were at an outdoor dinner at a hotel in Atlanta. After milling around for a while, we found our way to table number 10. Unbeknownst to all of us, the event coordinator had seated everyone by geographical location, and consequently everyone from our table was from the Chicago area. Commence small talk…

“Where are you from?” I said to the fella next to me.
“Oh, right outside of Chicago,” he said.
“Me too, the Western Suburbs.”
“Me too,” he said, “I live in Wheaton.”
“What? So do I!”

Ryan O’Neal, from table number ten, does in fact live in Wheaton…right down the street from us! Over the years, Ryan and his wife Cayt have become two of our closest friends. The O’Neals are transparent and real. So many times and in so many ways, they have challenged my husband and I to never grow weary in doing good. Dailyness is about the people who do life with you. Being around people who uphold the good, true and beautiful has the transformative power that makes the world a nobler place to be. If there were ever a couple that could be called a true lady and a true gentleman, this would be the pair.

As it turns out, Ryan is an incredible musician… well, let’s just call it what it is. He’s a rock star. Ryan, who preforms under the moniker Sleeping At Last, has a mass following and his music can be heard on the big screen, TV shows, So You Think You Can Dance, Kid President, Twilight: Breaking Dawn…the list goes on. As a solo artist and original song-writer, Ryan continues to create captivating music.

If you haven’t heard his music, by all means, download some songs from the Yearbook Collection, or just get the whole thing! It’s just that good! And then check out his new Albums Light and Darkness. My personal favorites, which are often on repeat, include but are not limited to: “Noble Aim” (Yearbook, September), “Light” (Atlas, Light), “I’ll Keep You Safe” (Atlas, Darkness).

Several weeks ago, Ryan asked if Re:new and Sleeping At Last could collaborate in an effort to bring a Re:new product to Sleeping At Last fans…yes, please! And so, for a limited time, we are pleased to point you to the Sleeping at Last website to purchase the newly released EP Atlas: Light and the SLEEPING AT LAST + RE:NEW Limited Collection Messenger Bag. Each bag has the lyric, “You Are Enough” on the front.

Faduma sewing You are Enough Messenger

If you are looking for more, Re:new will also be offering a SLEEPING AT LAST + RE: NEW Limited Edition Zip Pouch with the same lyric, “You Are Enough”.

Faduma holding Pencil Zip

You are Enough Messenger

Buy the Limited Edition “You Are Enough” Messenger Bag
(You will be redirected to the Sleeping at Last website.)

 

You are Enough Pencil Zip

Buy the Limited Edition “You Are Enough” Pencil Zip

Pictured above: Advanced Artisan Faduma Sufi


Artisan Spotlight: Esther May 06 2013, 0 Comments

 

Esther and twins

Esther was born in Burma, but left the country when she was 23 due to the political instability and the threat of forced labor. She lived in Malaysia for 4 years, where she met her husband. Her parents still live in Burma. Esther and her husband came to the U.S. in 2011. In 2012 they welcomed beautiful twin girls into their family.

Esther's girls

 

Esther always has a smile on her face and brightens the room when she walks in to Re:new. Even with twin infant girls, Esther somehow manages to find time to slip away and come sew with her friends here.

Esther's Jewelry

In addition to sewing, Esther also makes beautiful jewelry, available in limited quantities in our Glen Ellyn store. We are so glad she is a part of our Re:new family!

Many thanks to Margaret Henry Photography for the beautiful photos of Esther and her twins!


Spring Open House Preview April 08 2013, 0 Comments


Our Story March 18 2013, 0 Comments

Even if you're far away, you can step inside Re:new. For those of us who are near, we get to participate and partake in the beauty of Re:new on a daily basis. We didn't want you to miss out. Meet Hari and let her walk you through Re:new.


Daily Herald's Video January 18 2013, 0 Comments

Watch this behind-the-scenes video about Re:new! Re:new's Director, Rebecca Sandberg, talks with the Daily Herald about the Re:new community and its impact women in our community.


The Inside Matters January 18 2013, 0 Comments

Are you vowing to be more organized in 2013?  Conquer your carry-around clutter with a Re:new Messenger!  Designed with organization in mind, our bag makes it easy to corral your essentials and retrieve them quickly!  Lift up the flap to reveal three outer pockets, perfect for keys, your phone and sunglasses, the stuff you're always grabbing.  Three more interior pockets easily fit hand cream, tissues, gum, pens, business cards, etc.  Never dig around for these little items again!  Tablets, planners and paperbacks easily fit in the middle.  

Rustic Bags have three exterior pockets on the back, two under the flap and three more inside.  It's a slightly wider bag, for men and women alike.  

Style married with organization is a beautiful thing, especially true for these one-of-a-kind messenger bags! 

Chevron Bag

Rustic Bag

Inside of Messenger


Messenger Bags in Action! November 27 2012, 2 Comments

The online launch of our Messenger Bags is fast approaching! Recently Chrystl Roberge, photographer extraordinaire, shot some pics of her awesome friends sporting our new bags. Thanks, Chrystl!



Fall Open House November 27 2012, 0 Comments

 


Video Musings November 09 2012, 0 Comments

This last week Bob and JJ from Rule 29 came to shoot a video for Re:new. This has been in the works for a long time! Video is such a powerful medium to communicate a message, and we pray God will use this video to increase awareness about refugees and Re:new’s mission.

The morning dawned beautiful. Hari, one of the refugee women from Bhutan, sat in front of the camera and told her story. Four times. She truly was a natural in front of the camera, patiently repeating lines over and over. It was a long day, and we are so thankful that she chose to tell her story, a story that mirrors thousands of others who have come to America as a refugee.

As we were waiting for the videographers to set up in the morning, we sat down with Hari and asked her more about her life in Bhutan and in the refugee camp in Nepal.

There were two things that struck me, two things that I completely take for granted: an assurance of belonging and the freedom to pursue economic opportunity.

I belong in the U.S. I was born in America and enjoy all of the rights and freedoms of citizenship. For Hari, her birth country says she does not belong there and forced her family out. Her family had been in Bhutan for centuries. But they were not recognized by the government as citizens because they are Nepalese.

The other thought: Freedom. I can work wherever I can get a job. Hari’s family was in a Nepalese refugee camp. They could not legally work outside the camp. She describes the camp as being a messy place, with scarce resources and little opportunity for work. I cannot imagine being in such a geographically limited space and not having the freedom to walk out of that space and pursue a better life for my family.

Listening to her story was a sobering experience, but when she came to the part about coming to the U.S. and coming to Re:new, her face lit up with a smile! We were all smiling and wishing that all of you could have heard her tell about coming here! She has family here in the States. And she has family at Re:new. She describes the first time she walked through the doors of Re:new. “I felt like I was among friends, like I belonged!”

Friends, this is our mission, to welcome refugee women who have not been welcome, even in the places of their birth. But our mission does not stop there. Along with inviting refugee women to be a part of this community, we provide them the skills and opportunity to be employed in a flexible, great work environment...among friends.

Hari now enjoys the reality of belonging, and she has opportunities to learn and work, here at Re:new and elsewhere. But what makes Hari’s heart sing and her smile widen even more? As her children grow up, they will listen to their grandparents and parents tell the stories of Bhutan and life in the refugee camps, and they will use their imagination and think of how that must have been. But their reality is a life of freedom and opportunity in a peaceful country...a dream come true for this wonderful family!


Recycled Gems May 10 2012, 0 Comments

coffee bag zips

Kari brought in some fun coffee bags this week, and Faduma created this rendition of Claire's Zip Pouch...we love it!
upcycled table runners
recycled patchwork throw
upcycled wallet
Aprons!
upcycled place mats
ruffle bag
zip pouches


Bhutan May 09 2012, 1 Comment

{learn about Bhutan}

Bhutan is a nation made up of several ethnic groups. One of these is the Lhotshampa, people of Nepali origin, who began to settle in the south of the country in the late 19th century. In the 1980s it emerged that Lhotshampas were being seen as a threat to the political order.

When a string of measures were passed that discriminated against their group, the Lhotshampa organised a series of public demonstrations for which the participants were branded as "anti-nationals". Several thousands of Southern Bhutanese were imprisoned, and more than 2000 tortured, according to Amnesty International. Very few of them were formally charged. Thousands fled to India and Nepal. By the end of 1992, there were more than 80,000 living in UNHCR camps in south eastern Nepal.

Situated between the emerging superpowers of India and China, the isolated Buddhist kingdom of Bhutan, hailed by some as ‘the last Shangri-La’, has generated one of the highest numbers of refugees in the world in proportion to its population. 

Since 1991 over one sixth of Bhutan's people have sought asylum in Nepal, India and other countries around the world.

The vast majority of the refugees are Lhotshampas, one of Bhutan’s three main ethnic groups, who were forced to leave Bhutan in the early 1990s. There is ample evidence, as documented by Amnesty International and other human rights organisations, that the expulsion of large numbers of Lhotshampas was planned and executed with meticulous attention to detail.

Over 105,000 Bhutanese have spent more than 15 years living in refugee camps established in Nepal by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.

Thousands more are living outside the camps in Nepal and India, and some in North America, Europe and Australia.

Since 2008 a resettlement process has seen many thousands of Bhutanese refugees from the camps in Nepal being re-settled primarily in the USA but also in Canada, Australia, Denmark, New Zealand, the Netherlands and Norway.

(This is an excerpt from www.bhutaneserefugees.com. Visit this website for an excellent map and information about refugee camp life. )