WOW! EPA Made founder, Ayaka, has a moving story. She is using her struggle to make an impact in the lives of single mothers. EPA Made provides employment for single mothers through the creation of ethically made apparel and home goods.
In 2010 founder, Ayaka, went through a trying time when her marriage hit rock bottom and she separated from her husband. For the first time Ayaka experienced a struggle to love, forgive, and the challenge of being a single parent. The holiday season was especially hurt Ayaka's heart and she started praying to God to bring back her husband. After two years of trying times and prayer Ayaka's husband came back to his family. After marriage counseling the couple was able to fight through the pain and their family was reunited. However, Ayaka did not forget the struggle she experienced. She began volunteering at a group home for single teen moms. Witnessing the hard times the young ladies experienced broke Ayaka's heart. Through this volunteer work she learned she had a lot in common with the teens and became aware of the difficulty single teen mothers have finding employment.
At the time Ayaka's husband was working in e-commerce and she was working in graphic design. Together they decided to start a business employing single mothers, EPA Made was born. Ayaka witnessed single mothers rediscovering their confidence, while creating products of their own. She and her husband have been able to watch these women find their voices and excel. The ladies employed by EPA Made participate in different roles of the company. Individuals are able to take on management roles and go to events to sell products. This furthers the business skills of the women. EPA Made employees have expressed joy about selling products at vendor fairs because they feel valued by customers and not confined by a label.
Eventually EPA Made filed to become a non-profit. About a year ago EPA Made opened their first store in East Palo Alto, California. Over the past two years EPA Made has employed twenty single mothers and currently employs four. Graduates of their program have gone onto other retail and management positions, including a manager at Whole Foods. EPA Made has partnerships with local day cares which allows single mothers to work even if their children are not old enough for school.
EPA Made's cozy apparel is made with organic cotton. While customers are wearing high quality materials, the concept of organic materials has brought up interesting discussion for Ayaka and her employees. Ayaka has been able to encourage health and educate the women on what they are feeding their children through the discussion of organic products.
The EPA staff wanted to display single motherhood in a positive manner. At the time a show about otters came on the television. The show talked about how loving and kind the mother otters were to their young. The otter became part of EPA's signature design. My friends at EPA Made were nice enough to make me my own personalized otter! How cool!!!! Their sweatshirts are cozy too. I highly recommend checking out EPA Made products. There are some wonderful ideas for holiday gifts for children.
Use the code EPAMADEISHONEST to receive 10% off your purchase through December 17th.