TFWH: Sela designs
It all started as a humble beginning – a new mom trying to figure out who she was without a career to cling to, a desire to give big and change the world. In the meantime, I was also navigating marriage, having babies, adoption and real life. I started Sela Designs, a nonprofit jewelry company, so I could give to causes I’m so passionate about, not lose myself in the “middle years” and show my kids that we can use what we have to make a difference.
There’s a lot to unpack in those few sentences. Truthfully, SelaDesigns was built on very tiny, baby steps. 10 years ago my first son was born and I needed a hobby so I read blogs and figured out how to wrap wires and make jewelry I wanted to wear. I bought metal stamps and put his name on every kind of pendant you can imagine. I made gifts for friends and family and they seemed to like them.
It all started coming together as a way to do more when my husband wanted to go on a mission’s trip to an orphanage we had supported for years, but we simply didn’t have the extra money. I decided to ask friends and family to come buy the jewelry and support a good cause.
They came. They bought. My husband went to Mexico.
I had this thing burning in me that every person can do something to help someone and I had to do something. So, I used what I had – the jewelry. I decided that I would use the jewelry to raise money for missions and that’s all. We wouldn’t keep any of the profit. It would simply be a way for us to give.
Here’s the thing about those early years – we ended up with 3 kids in less than 4 years, a surprise adoption included, which meant I couldn’t work very much. At one point I had to take more than a year away from anything outside of raising those babies. But during that time my greatest mission was in my lap, the two children I had and the one that God rescued to be a gift to us.
To say that God will multiply what He has put in your hands is an understatement. God has grown Sela Designs, little by little, year by year, one step at a time to become not just a business, but a community of people who are passionate about orphan care, ending human trafficking and loving people well. It’s not because of who I am that Sela Designs has become successful, but who God is. He took what little I had to offer and breathed life into it.
Every year during the Holiday Season (busiest time of year for retail businesses) I choose a big mission project and set a goal. One year we bought a small vehicle for a children’s home in Ethiopia so they could get their kids to doctor’s appointments on time and not have to rely on taxi drivers. Last year, we raised enough money to fully fund a rescue mission through International Justice Mission, and 3 women were rescued from sex trafficking. To God be the glory!
It’s not about jewelry. It’s simply about taking what God has already put in your hands to do and being faithful with it. Jewelry doesn’t set people free or feed orphans, but people do. We can all do something! None of us can do everything and we don’t need to, but we can do something.
Maybe you are filled to the brim and think you have nothing to offer. I know that you do have something, but let me offer a suggestion – don’t be afraid to start small. Do something little. Use what you already have – time, talents, abilities or money. It could simply be purposing to encourage one person each week and then another. Whatever it is, start now. Take a baby step and watch how God will multiply it.
Today, Sela Designs is a growing small business. I still don’t take a salary and we donate all profit to organizations like Mercy House Global, IJM, Life House, & Ebenezer Grace Children’s Home every single month. My goal is to be able to give more, continue to educate and raise awareness, employ other women and see people around the world set free.
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