Name: Chrissie Lam
Role/Function: Founder & CEO, Love Is Project
What She’s Currently Working On: The #loveisproject grew out of a simple desire to find out what love means. We traveled the world in search of this answer and the responses were so overwhelming, we had to share them somehow. Since then, we've employed hundreds of female artisans in Kenya, Indonesia, Ecuador, Bhutan, India, Vietnam, Guatemala, Colombia & Mexico to share their love stories through jewelry.
We’re excited to launch our upcoming Love Is Project photo book: The Greatest Love Story Ever Told. This book is a collection of stories from my last five years of travel and work with female artisans around the world. It encapsulates so much of what makes The Love Is Project meaningful. This book also gives readers a first-hand look at the unique cultures, talented artists and inspiring people who bring The Love Is Project to life every day. You can support the Kickstarter that will fund The Greatest Love Story Ever Told here. This book will also help fund future partnerships with female artisans, so we can continue to spread the love!
1. What was the “aha” moment that sparked your interest in social impact?
My "AHA!" moment came when visiting the Maasai Mums in Ngong, Kenya. Inspired by the bold colors used by their tribe, I designed a simple bracelet featuring the word LOVE in traditional Maasai beadwork. I had the equally simple goal of helping to create jobs for their community.
With that bracelet in hand on a flight to Russia, I asked two strangers from Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan what love meant to them. I then profiled them on Instagram. What started as a personal travel project transformed into a viral social media campaign in 2015. The grassroots support of influencers spreading the word validated the “LOVE bracelet” concept and product-market fit, convincing me to create the stand-alone brand now known as The Love Is Project.
2. How did you break into the social impact space?
Prior to founding Love Is Project, I worked in concept design for 12 years with brands like Abercrombie & Fitch and American Eagle Outfitters. In 2012, I left corporate fashion with a mission of working with artisans around the world to create products and connect them to brands for market access.
I connected artisans and brands in a consulting capacity for a few years before launching Love Is Project as a standalone brand in 2017. Instead of leaving my experiences and network behind, I was able to to merge my background in design with international development.
3. What most excites you about social impact these days?
Ten years ago, there were much less fashion-forward brands in the social impact space. Branding, storytelling, community and product design have come a long way. It is exciting to see so many younger brands focus on social impact and sustainability. It is positive to see larger brands want to support and foster sustainable initiatives and development. I subscribe to Reconsidered to hear more about all of the above.