Ten years ago, when I set out to change the world with a small, neighborhood business, I heard about a company called Thistle Farms.
Based in my hometown of Nashville, Thistle Farms was a small offshoot of Magdalene House, a rehabilitation program for women recovering from life on the streets. I don’t remember how I first heard of the lotions, lip balms, and candles crafted by the women of Thistle Farms, but I knew I wanted to carry them in my store.
The folks at Thistle Farms worked with me and my tiny budget to help me place my first ever wholesale order. Come pick it up on a Friday, they said. And be sure to come for the circle.
I drove to an older ranch house in West Nashville to witness their operations first hand. I arrived just a few minutes before their morning meditation circle. At first I felt self-conscious, as these brave and vulnerable women shared their stories and struggles. But I realized that I, too, had a story. The details were different, but we all shared common themes of acceptance, grace, and redemption.
Months later, when I had one of my first pop-up events, a miracle: a woman who had been through the Magdalene House and Thistle Farms program found my booth and shared a bit of her story. She introduced me to her daughter and granddaughter, and her pride for the products she had made was contagious.
Thistle Farms is personal to me. It’s part of my story and the story of my city. And now, as Thistle Farms has grown into a national network of recovery, it’s bringing healing, empowerment, and employment to even more women in need. That’s why I’m honored this month to be raising money to help Thistle Farms continue their mission.