Interview with Ashleigh Becker of Sela Designs
In a world where so many companies are built through the exploitation of human beings, it is encouraging to find small business which are not only passionate about human dignity and fairly made products, but are also trying to actively change the lives of those suffering.
Sela Designs is a nonprofit jewelry company which donates 100% of its profits back to charity, each piece of jewelry created from ethically sourced materials and made entirely by hand in the United States. Ashleigh Becker, founder of Sela Designs and 2018 Dressember advocate, works often with a natural material called tagua, which is hand shaped and dyed by South American artisans through an ethical and eco-friendly process. She is careful to buy her supplies from companies with high labor standards and Sela Designs knows that “the supply chain matters, people matter, and we want to source materials that allow for safe working conditions and living wages.”
I was able to interview Ashleigh and was so encouraged to hear why her jewelry company was founded:
“When I quit corporate America to be home with my first child, I quickly realized living on one income didn’t leave a lot of room for extra generosity financially. Sela Designs developed and grew slowly, [but] we started with a purpose to give and have never changed that, no matter how much money has come in. I have never taken a salary and hope I never have to.”
Ashleigh carefully chooses which charities benefit from her profits, and currently is giving to five organizations, ranging in purpose from providing orphan care to working towards the end of human trafficking.
This year she designed a unique and stunning pair of red and gold earrings called “The Dressember,” and donates all of the profits from those to The Dressember Foundation. Her company also funded an entire rescue mission through The International Justice Mission this holiday season.
I absolutely love how clearly she explains modern day slavery and what Sela Designs is working towards ending:
“I believe a lot of other social justice issues are wrapped up in modern day slavery. If forced labor, unsafe working conditions and low wages weren’t issues, we wouldn’t need to pursue ethical fashion because everything would be produced ethically, right? If women and children weren’t bought and sold in the sex industry we would probably have less of an orphan crisis. If people weren’t treated like property then we wouldn’t have to fight for their basic rights as human beings. I may be a bit of an idealist, but I do believe ending modern day slavery would, in itself, correct so many other issues.”
While Ashleigh has always had a heart for others and has displayed that in many loving and creative ways, this is her first year participating in Dressember. Ashleigh firmly believes that together, we can see slavery ended in our lifetime and she encourages Dressember advocates to remember that “You are important and your voice does make a difference. You are needed…just think about the lives that will be changed because of your impact.”
Sela Designs is just one of many companies working towards a free future, whether that is by producing things in an ethical way, giving back to organizations fighting for human dignity, or both. No matter what you are or the abilities you have, we can all find ways to fight for the dignity of others. Ashleigh started with her love of jewelry-making, and every Dressember advocate begins by simply dressing up. When we put on dresses or ties, or simply go out of our way to listen, care, and invest in another’s life, we are advocating for the broken. We may all be on very different journeys, but we can all be partners in caring. Ashleigh reminds us:
“Everyone can do something. We all have something that we are passionate about. What does your heart bleed for? Whatever your thing is, find a way to do something. You can make a difference and you can be part of a solution.”
Small Run, Big Impact.
Join us on April 13th for our second annual 'You Can Do Anything in a Dress (or Tie)' 5k. Run in our Los Angeles 5k/Yoga event or run virtually in your own city! Set up your free campaign page and purchase tickets for the LA event today!
About the Author
Myra Grady is honored to be using her love of writing this fall as she joins Dressember in their fight against human trafficking. She is pursuing an English degree through Thomas Edison State University and currently enjoys her days as a preschool teacher. Outside of work, Myra can often be found exploring St. Louis with her husband, watching The Office reruns, eating far too much ice cream, and learning how to knit.