Maria Murphy, a fashion industry executive with over 30 years of experience, founded her passion project Lei-Lei while holding the position of VP of Sales for Tahari Arthur S. Levine. She took time out of her busy schedule to hang out with us for our March retail spotlight.

What made you purchase Sasa Designs? The first purchase I made was through our friends at Global Goods Partners. We have a soft spot for them because they introduced us to you and your beautiful products! The reaction to the beaded hoops we first carried was overwhelming and we sold out of them right away. We reordered but then realized that we needed to get our hands on a greater assortment of colors and items. That’s when we went direct and had the pleasure of meeting Megan and her parents at NY NOW. We were immediately embraced by Megan’s warmth and passion and felt a connection to her work ethic and drive to help others.

What do your customers love about Sasa product? Our customers love the story behind the Sasa products! They feel compassion for the women artisans and immediately want to make the heartfelt purchase. Of course it doesn’t hurt that everything we carry by Sasa is so good looking and well made!! It’s a win-win combination.

What impact has our partnership had? We started this business on the belief that helping others eventually helps the entire world. Our socially conscious e-commerce marketplace showcases handmade items by women artisans from impoverished countries around the world. Our goal is to inspire positive consumer behavior to bring about real change, both in society as well as the environment. The Sasa brand meshes perfectly with our Lei-Lei mission of empowering women and enabling them to achieve self sufficiency, pride and strength. You ask about the impact your brand has had on our partnership… the other day I received a lovely note from a new customer who has worn hearing aids for years. She was thrilled to hear about Sasa working with deaf women to create products and support their families and purchased 2 Unity necklaces! I was so touched by the story she shared and knowing that we together…Lei-Lei and Sasa…could bring about positive change to women around the world while sharing the story with our consumers.

What's your favorite piece of Sasa? My personal favorites are the Earth Collection Stone Hoop Earrings…in every color!!! I wear them all the time with everything I own. They are so incredibly light and comfortable that I forget I have them on. I get so many compliments making it a super easy sell! We have reordered all of the colors several times and will continue to buy back into them throughout the year. If new colored stones become available you can be sure that we will buy those too!! Close second favorite piece…the Unity Necklace…love this too worn layered and in fact wore both of my favorites at a recent photo shoot used for an interview blog post resulting in more orders!!


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Emily Sexton, Founder of The Flourish Market in Raleigh, North Carolina, sat down with us to share some of her thoughts on Sasa Designs.

What made you purchase Sasa Designs? First of all, I loved the unique design of the pieces. And then to know that they were made by courageous women - that sealed the deal!

What do your customers love about Sasa product? My customers love to buy Sasa products for themselves, and they LOVE to gift the earrings to their friends and loved ones. I always look to buy pieces for our store that will demand a compliment when our customers wear the item, and that rings so true for all of the Sasa products that we carry :)

What impact has our partnership had? While I know that my customers have been able to provide dignified jobs to the women with which Sasa partners, there has been a big impact on the women in my community that shop at The Flourish Market. I teamed up with the Sasa Team to put together something very special for our dressing rooms in our flagship Raleigh, NC store. Hanging on the wall is a beautiful picture of the women that make the gorgeous Sasa Designs products in Kenya and they wrote a message of encouragement to our customers that inspires them to overcome their setbacks and use their strength and power to change the world. It is so moving for our customers to read, and I love that they can leave our store empowered by the women with which we partner with across the globe.

What's your favorite piece of Sasa? The Equator Hoops - I love that I can wear them every day but they give me a bit of an edge. I like to think of myself as an every day relatable gal with a dash of spice, so these earrings are my spirit animal (wink). You are slaying the earrings!!!! Our customers can't get enough!

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As we grow, so does our amazing group of Brick and Mortar shops around the globe. We're sitting down with the creative people behind the brands to ask a few questions. Here's our June chat with founder, Emily Betzle from...

Believes every person has the ability to thrive and strives to do their part to see every person has that opportunity. BB partners with producers around the globe who are providing life changing opportunities, like our talented Sasa Designs artisans in Kenya.

Why do you choose to carry Sasa? We carry Sasa products because we absolutely love the heart and the spirit behind your work. We love that Sasa doesn't just believe in developing products but also believes in developing people and communities! Your comprehensive program does more than simply provide employment, but sees the potential, talent, and beauty in each one of your employees. This is truly something special, and something we want to support in every way we can!

What keeps your customers buying Sasa? Our customers love Sasa products because they are beautiful, on trend, reasonably priced, high quality, and, most importantly, they absolutely love the story behind the product, and knowing and seeing (thanks to the cards you send) the person who hand-crafted their purchase!

What impact has our partnership had? Our partnership has been so wonderful for so many reasons, but I think the most important impact is how it allows us to be deeply and positively connected to our brothers and sisters in Kenya and around the globe! One small but specific example of this is that I live in a small community in Wyoming, and last year at our holiday gift market we sold enough Sasa products to support your payroll for an entire month! Realizing this was so poignant and powerful for our volunteers and community as it clearly demonstrated how our actions can have powerful and beautiful reactions half way around the world.

Photo courtesy of Bought Beautifully.

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