This Initiative Provides Aid to Ethiopian Women Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Parker Clay
Courtesy of Parker Clay

What is the story behind your handbag? Parker Clay, an emerging leather goods company, designs its products in California and manufactures them in Ethiopia—and unlike most brands, the story of how the bags get made means everything to Parker Clay.

Over 130 employees work at its Ethiopian factory, and 96 of them are women. Of these women, 32 were found through Parker Clay’s partnership with the non-profit Christian women’s rights organization Ellilta—Women at Risk. The organization’s goal is to bring women out of prostitution—which is both legal and widespread in Ethiopia—and find them skills training and employment in safe, sustainable trade industries, like leather goods.

Montecito Weekender & Overnight Bag by Parker Clay
Courtesy Image

Parker Clay’s founders, Ian and Brittany Bentley, wanted to create such an environment for Ethiopian women. Its factory in Addis Ababa gives its artisans higher wages and more benefits, including laundry facilities, access to transportation, vacation time, and pension, pursuing the company’s goal of combining human rights advocacy with sustainable, superior goods.

Each of Parker Clay’s products—handbags, totes, wallets, backpacks, etc.—is made using practices unique to Ethiopian culture. Parker Clay’s products support local cattle farmers and also incorporate all-natural vegetable dyes, which are better for the environment. They’re designed, as the best leather goods are, to be timeless, to age with style.

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By visiting its store online, you can support Parker Clay’s mission to provide women working in prostitution with artisan jobs. In 2020, the brand plans to employ over 100 more Ethiopian women from backgrounds of prostitution.

Parker Clay’s ongoing promotion, We Go Together, is taking a “pay it forward” approach. Donors can support the brand and, in exchange, receive two gift cards of equal value, as well as a sizable discount. For example, those who donate $100 will receive two $100 gift cards—one in September, one next January—as well as a 40 percent discount code toward your next purchase. Read about Parker Clay’s mission for yourself and consider donating at its website.

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