Chutney for Change: Rebecca Williamson's Story

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As we near the end of the Dressember season, we can't help but feel inspired by the creativity of our advocates. One example of this creativity is the founder of Holmsted Fines Chutney's, Rebecca Williamson. Rebecca has used her passion for making fine chutney to raise funds and awareness for Dressember's grant partner, International Justice Mission. We had the chance to chat with Rebecca about Holmsted Fines and her inspiration for using her talents to make a difference in the fight against human trafficking.

Rebecca Williamson studied at Le Cordon Bleu in London where she discovered Chutney, an item she typically found in traditional English kitchens. Chutney can also be thought of as from India in the forms of tomato relish, a ground peanut garnish, or a yogurt, cucumber, and mint dip. European-style chutneys are most commonly fruit, vinegar, and sugar with added flavorings as a way to preserve fruit and use the glut of fall fruit. Chutney is versatile, often served with fish and poultry or on cheeses and baked goods

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Upon her return to the United States, Rebecca decided to make her own chutney with a southern twist in Birmingham, Alabama. She purchased every chutney she could find to survey the competition and created unique flavors not found anywhere else such as balsamic red onion and apple jalapeno.

Rebecca always knew that if she owned her own business, it would not only be an avenue to make money but it would also be a platform to raise awareness. Rebecca loves fighting the issue of human trafficking and believes that she can use her skill and passion for food to do that.

It began when Rebecca asked her family members to donate gifts to IJM instead of purchasing birthday presents for her one year. Her visionary spirit has allowed her to do more than just raise awareness but to take action.

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Rebecca wanted to see something rise up in her community to join the fight against human trafficking. By giving a percentage of Holmsted Fines sales to International Justice Mission (IJM), she is able to make this impact. International Justice Mission is the world’s largest anti-trafficking organization that works to protect the vulnerable from violence in some of the poorest communities.

“I would really love to mentor other people to pick an organization close to their heart and commit themselves to giving.”

Anti-trafficking work has been placed on Rebecca’s heart for a while and she believes it is in the hearts of many more. She would love to share her passion with other businesses and encourage them to fight human trafficking.

Having to overcome challenges with Holmsted Fines, Rebecca gives advice for entrepreneurs to measure success based on their personal goals. She mentions the temptation to look at other successful products on social media and compare but stresses the need to remember it takes time to be successful.

“Success is not overnight.”

Rebecca does a lot of the work herself and recommends that those who want to get into their field should start working on the ground level. Specifically for entrepreneurs, her advice is to do whatever you can and work for someone who can show you the process of running a business.

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Her last piece of advice is to, “ask lots of questions.”

Rebecca loves to ask questions and learns from the success or failure of others. After visiting Guatemala, Rebecca got to see the amazing transformation occurring in the lives of human trafficking survivors. She believes that God has placed the question, “What happens next?” in her heart regarding the lives of survivors after they are rescued. Rebecca wants to know what skills or knowledge they need to live a flourishing life even if they return to vulnerable communities.

Rebecca is thankful for this tug on her heart and for the CEO and Founder of Dressember, Blythe Hill, who felt the tug and ran with it. Rebecca participates in Dressember this year for the first time. She committed to wearing the Dressember pins and even do yoga in a dress. She wants Dressember advocates to know that ending human trafficking is not an impossible task. She believes that wearing a dress every day for the month of December has power, especially when advocates participate all over the world as a united front.


One woman that inspires Rebecca is Stephanie Van Der Westhuizen, a missionary from South Africa who is currently a missionary in Chile. Stephanie helped Rebecca gain a solid foundation through a discipleship and mentorship relationship. Stephanie has taught Rebecca to utilize her personality in making an impact. 

The name, Holmsted Fines, Comes from the West Sussex manor, Holmsted, in England where Rebecca resided when working with Youth With A Mission (YWAM). Since the beginning of her chutney adventure, Rebecca has noticed the fast-growing market for chutney and is thankful for organizations that allow her small business to export. She looks forward to traveling and attending international food shows in the future.

Thank you, Rebecca, for chatting with us and for your advocacy this season! If you're interested in buying her tasty chutney you can find her selection by visiting the linked logo below. We encourage you to think about how your talents can help you engage in the fight against modern-day slavery. 

(p.s. Don't forget that you have the chance to design a dress for the 2018 Dressember dress collection. You can find the details for that here.)

Special thanks to Eric and Jamie Photography for the photos of Rebecca. 


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About the Author

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Kaitlyn Wanta recently graduated and is now facing the real world. After learning how to stay warm in a dress during Wisconsin's winter, she has enjoyed hearing and sharing the stories of fellow Dressember advocates. Her bucket list includes riding in a hot air balloon, finishing a cookbook by making all the recipes, and catching a fish larger than herself.