In thinking about Grant Blvd's very first blog post, I decided it was really important to introduce myself to you. After all, it's rather rare that we know who we are shopping with and what they value.
I have always been a teacher. In fact, for 15 years I loved working as a teacher. Recently people want to better understand how, and when, and why, I decided to make the leap from being a being in the classroom to building a sustainable apparel brand. In truth, my journey of conceptualizing Grant Blvd began 2 years ago when as a high school teacher, I was working harder than ever to get my students to understand the complexities of the American criminal system. About the same time I was also becoming more and more concerned with the state of the planet. So, I spent a full year investigating the fashion industry and the prison industrial complex from a systems level. The more I discovered, the more I felt compelled to move beyond shock & anger to wanting to create meaningful solutions.
I know we need companies brave & bold enough to create space for returning citizens, companies willing to train them, and excited to employ them. We need companies willing to do the hard work of experimenting with the kind of multilayered, multifaceted approaches necessary for addressing the challenges we’re facing.
In looking back, I’ve always wanted to do my part to recognize and resist imbalance. Mostly because of Grant Blvd, the block where I grew up on the north side of Milwaukee. When my parents weren't at work, they were fighting for the things they believed in. My dad wanted to make sure that people living in poverty had access to healthy food, and my mom spent time on weekends at Taycheedah, a women’s correctional institution, counseling incarcerated women. As kids, my sisters and I, we knew these things. And as an adult, those family memories have always been my guiding lights- my northern stars.
I know so many women who like me, want to wear garments that are stylish & affordable, garments that are sustainably sourced & ethically made, and garments that speak to their commitment to social justice & reform. If this is you, look no further.