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[ Spirited Clothes: The Story behind the Vision ]

Nicola Willis, Co-founder, Spirited Clothes

It’s always great to read stories from some of the amazing people who come along to and are part of Redeemer family. Today, the amazing Nicola Willis, one of the visionary’s behind a social enterprise and business, Spirited Clothes, shares some of the fantastic work they are involved in. Read on to learn more about the story behind the brand and the valuable work they do.

Our business was started around a kitchen table conversation at my friend Kate’s house in Sydney, Australia whilst I was living & working there. Out of my heart & mouth came a vision to see a business developed where women were trained in sewing skills and then used those skills to make products for us to sell. The money from the sales would then pay their wages and fund community projects thus helping the wider community.

The plight of women that had found themselves trapped in sexual slavery had really gripped my heart on my several trips to India. These women had, through no fault of their own, found themselves in the red light area and were tortured and abused on a daily basis. Many of them had children, and many of them, as they shared their stories with us would say the same words, “I wanted to die in there” due to the extreme trauma there were forced to endure. They feared for their children and wanted a better future for them.

We heard first-hand their stories of how they had been sold to the pimps in the red light area by husbands, tricked by ‘friends’, employers or simply how it had fallen upon them to provide for elderly or sick parents or younger siblings. With little or no education they had taken the only option available to make a living – the red light area.  Determined to find a way to help them, we set up 2 sewing training centres to give them skills and they began to sew our loungewear and scarves.

Our vision quickly expanded to also helping those in extreme poverty after I moved from Australia to the Philippines and saw the need to help women there with skills and a livelihood. Working with local Pastors that I was serving under, we started employing a small number of women to learn how to sew and make our clothing. This then expanded to working with a local company in Cebu to make their clothing & accessories too!

We have faced many challenges and set backs on our journey but have always kept going because we have found so much joy in every visit we make to India, every batch of clothing that we receive from them and every sale we make. We can see the real difference it is making to the women who work with us and for those who are survivors of trafficking we can see the part that our business has helped in their rehabilitation. One of our ladies since being released from trafficking has married and on our last trip we had the privilege of being able to help them finish building their own home!

We love what God has done with our vision and how He has always given us the grace, strength, encouragement and finances to keep going when we, at times have felt like giving up. We are excited to see where He takes us in the future and look forward to many more adventures of faith with him!

Our range of clothing can be found on our website at www.spiritedclothes.co.uk along with the stories of some of our workers (you may even recognise some of the models on our site!). If anyone would like to know more or would like to get involved with what we are doing, feel free to email me on nicola@spiritedclothes.co.uk

Redeemer Church Office | St Barnabas Terrace | Plymouth PL1 5NN

Tel: 01752 568400

Charity No : 1125216   |   Company No : 6390847