Cary and I chat about her non-profit Designed for Joy
and the impact it is having on women coming from vulnerable situations (trafficking, prison, homelessness, etc.). Designed for Joy employees these women paying them a living wage and providing them work experience while they create the DFJ’s brand of jewelry and bags.
We begin discussing how Cary finds employees in need of job experience in the community in which she lives.
“What’s great about working with the other organizations is the wholistic care approach. If I am bringing a lady in from Caring Connections Ministry I know that she is being taken care of with a mentor. Someone who’s helping her, maybe, get an apartment, or get her GED, or get her children back and I can be the vocational resource piece. We all don’t have to be it all. We can take a little piece of the pie and what we do well and help each other out. And then, give really good wholistic care to these women.”
Cary shares about one of her trips to Rwanda when she visited an “artisan group who were employing 30 women off the streets as prostitutes”, when she began to dream about launching her own business helping women in vulnerable situations at home.
“Two parts, first after being an independent business owner for several years before financial risk is as much of a big deal anymore. I trust my gut and I have an instinct and I know I am good at what I do, but the second part is I DON’T DO ANYTHING ALONE, which is really half of the success. I always bring women along with me, either a couple of steps ahead of me or maybe someone who is new to the journey.”
We begin discussing how Designed For Joy went from designed jewelry, bags, and home decor in an apartment complex to a brick and mortar store in Boylan Heights area of Raleigh, NC.
You can host a book club, an influencer event, a ladies night out, etc. in the DFJ studio.
Cary shares how they spend time pouring into their employees building their faith and confidence.
“We start our workshops with devotion and prayer and that usually warms everyone up and gets everyone talking, gets our volunteers into the conversation. It is a get to know you exercise for the first 20-30 minutes and then the next 5 1/5 hours (or whatever it is) we get to work….We provide lunch for our artisans once a week. That’s a great way to bless the ladies and create community with our volunteers. Jesus was all about some food at a table….It’s a safe place. We have created a really safe, loving place where people can be honest.”
“Our stories really aren’t all that different. It really comes down to, sometimes, the resources you have to fall back on. When you are coming from generational poverty, one speeding ticket, one illness, one car wreck, one missed rent check, that takes years and years to overcome. But if you come from a family that is middle class, even lower middle class, those are just bumps in the road that you don’t even think about. You take for granted the resources you have around you.”
“We celebrate when we have an empty chair. That means someone has gone off and found full time work and that also leaves a space open for a new woman at the table.”
Cary shares Lauren’s story, who found full time work with healthcare benefits that she really needed….Now she is a volunteer and a donor of Designed For Joy
Cary shares about wrestling with the idea of women’s ministry
“Years ago I took my birthday and asked friends to come and listen to a director of ministry in Belize…and then, donate money to her. I think with my birthday we raised $750. We were able to launch an artisan group with just my birthday money…. Esther is the name of their artisan group.”
“I have good, faithful friends and they reminded me, I am not privy to seeing fruit. I am the waterer or the planter for the Lord. It’s His privilege to see the fruit in His timing.”
“The good news is that is the timeline I had put on the project. Two more women stepped up that next week and I learned through that I have to give God time to work on people’s hearts, so that they can step up…”
Cary talks about 2019 for Designed for Joy.
Word of the Year: Momentum
“The world doesn’t make any promises to you and is not looking out for you and that GOD IS. He means it. I’m betting my whole life on it.”