Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Rethreaded Repurposes Its Growth This Holiday; Nonprofit Helps Survivors of Sex Trade with Sales

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Rethreaded Repurposes Its Growth This Holiday; Nonprofit Helps Survivors of Sex Trade with Sales

Article excerpt

Byline: Rhema Thompson

The holidays have particular significance for Rethreaded founder Kristin Keen from both a sentimental and business standpoint.

The season is one of hope and harmony - just like the names of the scarves and necklaces the company sells - but it's also a season of big sales for the nonprofit. Around this time last year, Keen was almost drowning in holiday orders.

"We literally ran out of inventory," Keen said. "It was just me and another person doing just basically - at most three of us - doing home parties."

Momentum for Rethreaded - made popular through the city's One Spark crowdsourcing festival - has been gaining traction over the last two years. The nonprofit provides jobs and support to survivors of the sex trade through the sale of accessories fashioned from recycled materials.

The company does about 70 percent of its sales during this time of year, but this holiday season, it's handling the demand with a larger staff, more hours and more partnerships. The business that began with just three employees, now has a staff of nine and seven additional "home party leaders" to host home sales events.

On a recent weekday, the nonprofit set up shop at fabric and home decor retailer Calico Corners in San Jose.

Curious customers of the store like Charnese Monet, Corey Leroy and Stacey Dunlap made their way over to a table decorated in looped and braided scarves, necklaces, candles and trivets.

Monet said she'd seen the Rethreaded logo in other places before but didn't know about the cause behind it.

"I had no idea. I'm connecting the dots today," she said, eyeing purses and candles on the table.

Leroy, who was torn between buying a sweet-smelling candle and a wooden trivet, offered to donate fabric from her own drapery business to the organization.

It's those kinds of community connections and partnerships, Keen said, the group hopes to make more of this season. …

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