A while back I introduced you to Elegance Restored, the online marketplace that offers you the ability to make a difference to other people’s lives purely through what you purchase. Elegance Restored goes off the ethos ‘I see you, and I care’ and the products that they stock are not only beautiful but also high quality.
In the package I received from Kelsey, she had alongside the products supplied a handwritten note further explaining where each product was made and the impact purchasing it had made to those people’s lives. PLUS! The pieces are incredibly affordable! So for a student-loan fuelled grad, that’s an incredible extra win that will keep Elegance Restored as a key place for all things related to bags, jewellery and Christmas gifts.
I was lucky enough to have Kelsey sit down and open up about why she started Elegance Restored, where she envisions it in the future and so more about Kelsey herself -the real Beyond the Brand. There are some really great nuggets of wisdom in here, I hope you enjoy it x
WHAT MADE YOU START ELEGANCE RESTORED?
Wow this is a loaded question. It was actually a fluke of an old friend calling my husband up from across the country. In the course of their conversation our friend mentioned that his painting company, Anderson Painting had just done a build out on The Fourish Market storefront in Raleigh, North Carolina. This got our wheels turning like crazy. Once the idea was in front of us to start a boutique that would be used as a tool for funding adoptions, for paying garment workers fairly and providing jobs for women leaving the sex trade, for creating awareness about situations of injustice and need in the world all while trading affordable fashionable goods we couldn’t believe that we hadn’t thought of it before. Dozens of experiences throughout my life, as well as my husband’s, have prepared us for this venture. We started it because we felt we would be missing out on a calling if we didn’t.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST CHALLENGING THING YOU HAVE UNCOVERED SINCE BEGINNING?
Education. Since I began this journey I have found that most people are just like I was, totally unaware that there was even a problem with the fashion manufacturing industry. It has been very challenging to grab enough of a person’s attention and then inform them without totally bumming them out and then finding that balance of truth to create awareness without breaking a connection.
IS THERE SOMETHING YOU WISH YOU HAD KNOWN BEFORE YOU STARTED?
Not that it would have changed anything but I wish I had known that this would in some ways make me very sad. In regards to some people close to me I feel as though I’m looking down from a cliff to where I was just moments before, and I’m cringing at the fast fashion choices happening below, I’m waving my arms frantically trying to get their attention to let them see what life-affecting choices they are making. It breaks my heart because I feel that if only they knew the true cost that is being paid by another human they would immediately make a change.. the worst is when they do see me but they don’t really care and just keep buzzing about from one fast fashion purchase to the next.
BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
“Be patient and have grace with everyone… especially yourself” I’m still learning this, I’m sure I will until the day I die but I used to be a bit …. okay quite a bit of a judgmental spirit. I had all the answers and could tell anyone exactly what they were doing wrong. And then I was crushed in the best kind of way. If you’re open to it pain has a funny way of healing, kind of like a surgeon with a scalpel. I’m so thankful that I now have much more patience and grace for each human around me because it only brings me more love to love others well.
ONE BOOK EVERYONE SHOULD READ? WHY?
Perelandrea by C.S. Lewis.. It will challenge your view on why any person might make a choice that you view as wrong and allow you to have grace for them. Plus it’s a space travel story so that pretty much rocks.
WHERE DO YOU ENVISION ELEGANCE RESTORED IN THE FUTURE?
I see Elegance Restored as a means to an end and that end would be caring for the orphan and widow, for the sick, the poverty stricken. We would like to use commerce as a tool for bringing the third world into the global marketplace, as a way to fan their local economy and bring them above the poverty level. Those in need must be able to hope not only in the goodness and charity of others but also in the desires and passions of their own hearts. This is what respect looks like. Elegance Restored is special in that we are not profit driven but people driven, love, passion and hope driven towards seeing a better world. Our hope is to get to a place where my husband and I can make a living wage and then donate everything else towards funding adoptions via A Family For Every Orphan. If you want to hear the big BIG dream… I want to see a time when there is no such thing as fund raising for adoptions to happen for children with special needs or those who are less desirable for adoption because of their age, a time when all funds are available for anyone wanting to give a child a loving home. #fundalltheadoptions
WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO DO WHAT YOU DO ON A DAILY BASIS?
It sounds cliché but truly it’s my kids. I want them to have the gift of seeing all the other humans in the world as equally valuable as them. I want them to truly be color blind, accent deaf and fueled with compassion by the sight of those with illness or disability. The only way I can see teaching them that is by valuing all people as I value my children and you better believe I would want my son to receive fair pay for his labor, of course I would want my daughters to have another option to provide for themselves other than prostitution and God forbid I and my husband leave this world before they are grown, I would want nothing, especially not money to stand in the way of them being adopted into a loving family. Kids learn by example and I’m inspired by that, to take action towards becoming who I hope they will become an even better version of.
DO YOU HAVE A MORNING ROUTINE? IF SO WHAT IS IT YOU DO TO SET YOURSELF UP FOR THE DAY AHEAD?
My morning routine consists of attempting to eek out every last minute of rest before my three kids come in to wake me up since they likely woke me up several times throughout the night. I may say a quick prayer about having patience with them and myself if I’m not being woken by having the wind knocked out of me by someone WWF style jumping on me. Then coffee.. whatever happens next there’s coffee involved.
ARE THERE ANY OTHER MOVERS AND SHAKERS OUT THERE IN YOUR WORLD THAT YOU THINK PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT?
Ummm well no real huge names but my friend Kari Rae Lewis is someone who has really been an example to me. When her and her husband were less than two years into their marriage they took a step towards changing the world by becoming foster parents. They haven’t stopped for almost four years now and are in the process of adopting. Their decision was just different. It had nothing to do with their needs or what sounded like fun. It was just something they believed in, change in their small corner of the world. With no applause, they did and are doing some hard work for the sake of Love. It’s inspiring.
Seriously guys, what a humbling interview with an incredibly epic legend. If this doesn’t make your own little piece of Elegance Restored in your world, I don’t know what will. You can check out their website here, or follow along on their journey via their Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.