Amanda's Story of Hope

Summer is here and what better time to celebrate the growth of more women at Starfish Project, and introduce you to our Boutique Sales Administrator, Amanda, who has been with Starfish Project for over 6 years now.

Here is Amanda’s Starfish Project Story:

[Amanda, working with the design team in Asia.]

Meet Amanda from Indiana

I'm the Boutique Accounts Manager for Starfish Project. What this means is that I work daily to help us acquire new retail partners, and help curate products to fit our customer needs. I run customer service for our wholesale and Faire websites, keep in touch with current retail partners, work with the Sales Team on acquiring new businesses, and work directly with the women in Asia to keep the website and wholesale marketing current. I love my job!

When I first heard about Starfish Project and its mission, I was overwhelmed. I cried. I prayed for the women. I prayed for the world. I wasn’t prepared, or ready to get involved as a volunteer, advocate or anything else, because I was dealing with my own trauma and memories of being exploited as a child. For a couple more years I continued to receive gifts of jewelry from family and friends that were from, you guessed it, Starfish Project. I felt that the mission of Starfish Project was so powerful and good, but wondered how I could possibly help in any way while struggling as a young mother just to take care of my kids, and be a good wife and daughter, daily. As a survivor of child sexual abuse and exploitation by friends of my family, I immediately connected with the women on the other side of the world. It took two years in counseling (I still go for continued support) and nudging from my husband and, I believe, God, to decide to go volunteer and then work as an advocate for Starfish Project. This is where the rest of my story begins.

"Through my work at Starfish Project, I get to actively fight to end exploitation."

There are so many wonderful things about Starfish Project! When I joined a staff position, after being an advocate, I learned even more. The staff on both sides of the world work closely together on product design, websites and sales. Getting to work with women (and a few men) from all over the country and world is inspiring and empowering. I am truly amazed at the talent of every woman and man on this team! We build each other up, cry when the going gets tough, and celebrate when there is joy to be found. Not only do I get to work with amazing people every day, but I get to sell beautiful ethically made jewelry, with a profound purpose. You may wonder if I purchase and wear much jewelry now…well, the answer is absolutely! In fact, I tend to purchase from every line because there is always something beautiful available. I also love to share and give away jewelry when people are impacted by the story of what I do. I like to think of it as the gift of hope that keeps on giving.

"Starfish Project brought me in when I was broken and searching for meaningful work, to begin healing and thriving."

As a mom, balancing home and work life is always challenging. Working at Starfish Project has given me the flexibility to be there when my children and husband need me and to be there for my work team when they need me too. Although my degrees are in English, Elementary and Secondary Education, I get to utilize new abilities as a Sales Administrator. Sometimes, I even get to teach!

[Amanda's wonderfully supportive family.]

One of my favorite recent moments with the Asia team was teaching about how to retrieve sales data and information from the back end of our website. Although I never thought I would become computer systems savvy in my work, Starfish has trained me up as well and I feel confidence for the first time in my life! Starfish Project brought me in when I was broken and searching for meaningful work, to begin healing and thriving.

“I love that my kids can believe in the mission of Starfish Project and help restore hope.”

My children have been coming to the distribution center since they were 7 and 2. Though they didn’t start volunteering that young, they did have fun playing with boxes and learning to put stickers on the circle boxes. Lately, my oldest has been begging me to sign up to volunteer this summer. They always feel welcome amongst the staff and other volunteers. They tell all their friends and teachers about our mission, wear Starfish jewelry and take pride in being part of the Starfish family. I love that my kids can believe in the mission of Starfish Project and help restore hope.

[Helping Aunt Kathy with stickers.]

I am forever grateful for the opportunity to walk with and work for Starfish Project. Never have I felt so loved, appreciated, encouraged, and supported. I am amazed that I have been volunteering with Starfish Project since 2014 and have since worked more than 6 years with this wonderful organization. I look forward to what the future holds!

When you shop for that special gift or shop, know that Amanda is following your orders and loves to know what you pick. She will be the one to respond to customer requests through wholesale and to make suggestions for your boutique.

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