Badassery Magazine March 2018 Issue22 - Page 23

T hrough combining her back- grounds of advocating for women, working in the non- profit sector, and as an art direc- tor in the entertainment industry, Raven + Lily Founder and CEO, Kirsten Dickerson, has forged a ring of circular empowerment for women on a global scale. Kirsten has been an advocate for women since 1993 working with homeless and HIV-posi- tive women, as well as volun- teering with Mother Theresa. She’s always had a passion to inspire and empower woman. Moving to Los Angeles introduced her to the entertainment industry where she discovered her passion for design and talent for art direc- tion and wardrobe styling work- ing on films and music videos. Fueled by both of her pas- sions, Kirsten would often find herself dressing a musi- cian for a shoot during the day and rushing off to volunteer at the local shelter that evening. Kirsten soon began building friend- ships with designers and taking them to visit some of the nonprof- its she’d supported. One of the or- ganizations was a group offering micro-loans and micro-enterprise training to women artisans so they could start their own businesses. But as she became more familiar with the industry, she realized the artisans were missing two crit- ical areas of support: design in- put and a marketplace. This was when the idea for Raven + Lily was born. She could offer de- sign input to the artisans help- ing them make products people wanted to purchase and also sell the goods on behalf of artisans. Raven + Lily started as a non-prof- it by selling scarves and other small goods in markets in LA. By starting small, Kirsten could ex- periment to learn what worked and didn’t work and build re- lationships with core groups. Once she established which groups would be ready for part- nership, Kirsten turned Raven + Lily into a for profit corporation, which started with two artisan partnerships. They’ve now grown to maintain 19 artisan partner- ships in ten countries, including the US, representing over 1500 women. Her mission was to build a brand that could grow and scale by bringing additional women into the fold both through existing partners and new partnerships. 22