It’s not often you find a stylish line that has a positive message and impact in a community, but we found one. We not only love the fashionable designs of YIREH, but the story behind it!
The name, which is inspired from a phrase in Genesis 22:14, and simply means provide, is the designer and creator’s mantra she’s lived by for years. On her travels around the world, Emily Valdez, met a 12-year-old girl named Sumi on the Balinese island of Nusa Lembongan, which was transformative for the both of them.
Since people have to pay to send their kids to grade school in Indonesia, many children don’t get any sort of formal education because their family’s can’t afford it. Sumi’s parents were seaweed farmers and only made $30 a month, so school wasn’t an option. However, Emily changed that.
Heartbroken over the situation, Emily wanted to help. She asked Sumi if she could make anything and she could–beautiful beaded shell necklaces. So Emily bought a hundred and returned home to sell them. In exchange, the funds would be used to send Sumi to school. And that’s how YIREH was conceived!
Sumi is now 18 and still in school. Bravo, Emily!
The following year she went back to Indonesia and this time met a seamstress who was struggling to provide for her family. So Emily hired her and her family members to create cool new designs. She began selling the products on Etsy, and when everything sold out immediately she knew she had to go bigger and launch her own company. That’s when YIREH went from a small jewelry line to a complete fashion and accessories line.
And because YIREH has become such a popular bohemian and resort brand, Emily is able to give back even more. Every year she returns to Indonesia and donates 200 pounds of clothing to villages.
“We bring a mixture of our designs as well as donations from families in our community. Since YIREH makes mostly niche clothing we gather up a lot of new and donated items to fit multiple sizes, genders, and stages of life (infant to adult). We travel to specific villages every year and pass out the clothing and what is really cool is that the villagers decide amongst themselves who needs what,” she told Bella.
“Also, since we have been traveling to Indonesia for 7 years we have established some pretty strong relationships so we bring certain people specific things based on what they need that year. For example, one of my friends who I met when she was just 17 recently got married and had a baby. So we were able to bring her brand new baby clothes and supplies,” Emily added.
We can’t wait to see what Emily does next!