The Sseko Fellows are a group of women across the U.S. who share our story, sell our products, and make a difference in their community and our world. We are so lucky to walk alongside these women in creating a brighter future, and want to take a moment to introduce you to one of them, Rachel!
Rachel Kelley recently hit ADVENTURESS STATUS, which is a huge deal in Sseko world, let us tell you! This means she sold over $10,000 worth of product in just one month last year! And that she has helped earn heaps of badges for her Sole Sister in Uganda to earn additional scholarship money for university. This ALSO means that she’ll be joining us on a FREE trip to Uganda in the spring! So, let’s introduce you to Rachel…
When did you join the Sseko Fellows Program? Why?
I joined the Fellows program in Nov. 2016. I was NOT looking to add any other commitments to my already full schedule. As a single, homeschooling mom who is in the process of opening up a nonprofit thrift store, there really isn’t much free time. However, when I saw a post on Facebook about the Sseko Fellows program I had to stop and read about it.
I had been a big fan of Sseko since I purchased my Ribbon Sandals back in 2012. I wanted to see what they were up to. When I read about the program, I thought, WOW – by hosting a few trunk shows a month – I can can have a real impact in one woman’s life! I tried to talk myself out of joining for several weeks because I didn’t think I had the time. In the end, I decided that I could find time to host a few shows and play a small part in the Sseko story.
What about the Sseko Fellows Program is lifegiving for you?
Knowing that lives are being changed is an amazing feeling. I don’t just look at the women who are in our program or who work for the company – I look at the generations that will be impacted. One woman will pursue her dreams and create a better life for herself. This will change the course of her life and the generations that come after her. How can you not get excited about playing a role in that?
I’ve also been inspired by my fellow Sseko sisters. They are an incredible group of women who want nothing more than to make a difference in the world. To be surrounded with that type of energy and excitement motivates me to be a better person and give more.
Since becoming a Sseko Fellow what’s changed for you? How have you grown?
Deciding to go for Adventuress was an amazing journey that has forever changed me. I remember being in a meeting in December and Liz saying that any Sseko Fellow who wanted to go to Africa in the spring would have to earn the trip that month – and there were about 3 weeks left. My heart leaped! I so wanted to meet the women in Uganda, but I couldn’t imagine how that would even be possible. I resigned myself to the fact that it was impossible and posted in a Facebook Group that I wanted to know how others dealt with disappointment. I expected some words of wisdom like, there will always be another chance or it’s just wasn’t the right time. However that didn’t happen. The organizer of the Facebook group (who I had never met) contacted me. She asked me what the goal was and helped me break it down. She then told me I COULD do it! She believed in me! A complete stranger believed in me and spoke words of life! Have you ever had that happen? She not only encouraged me that day, but she checked in with me throughout the following weeks and continued to provide words of support. However, she wasn’t the only one! Several women (all complete strangers) reached out to me to encourage me. I was blown away! This was truly a picture of women empowering women.
As I watched the month unfold, I was blessed by the number of people who held trunk shows or purchased items. The last day of the month, I was still almost $600 away from reaching the goal. I had several people contact me throughout the day to ask how close I was to the goal. I thought they were just curious. However, after the day ended and I met my goal, these friends said they would have stepped in to make sure I reached my goal if needed. To have that type of support was incredible!
I’ve seen the power of a community pulling together to help me accomplish my dream of meeting our women in Uganda. It makes me realize that together we can accomplish most anything.
As I look back and see that I achieved this amazing goal because a stranger too time to reach out brings tears to my eyes. I now want to be that type of woman! I want to encourage and support others! There is power and life in our words and actions! Let’s be a community of Dreamers and Doers!
What tenant of the Sseko Manifesto resonates most with you?
Every Great Journey Begins with a Small Step is the tenant that resonates in my soul right now. I’m still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that I will be able to meet the beautiful Sseko women in Uganda. Not only that, I get to spend time with the founder of Sseko and several other Sseko Fellows. How is this even possible? My friends ask me if I’m excited and I still feel like I’m in shock. Is this really happening? Yes. Yes it is!!! This journey with Sseko all started because I took one small step and agreed to have one or two trunk shows a month. Where will your next small step take you?
We talk a lot about being brave here at Sseko. What does it mean to you to ‘Be Brave.’?
Being Brave to me means being honest and vulnerable. To truly be authentic and real and let people know you – that can be scary.
You hit Adventuress Status! What’s the next goal(s) on your list to achieve as a Sseko Fellow?
Hitting Adventuress was an amazing journey. I was a new Fellow and still learning a lot. I’m thankful for the women who encouraged me and believed I could hit the goal when I didn’t believe it myself. In return, I want to help encourage and mentor new Fellows. My next goal is to become a Sseko Mentor and help other women achieve their dreams – no matter what those dreams entail.
I also want to grow the Sseko community here in south Texas. I live in a city of millions of people and have met only a handful of people who know about Sseko. It’s not just about sharing the Sseko story though. I also get to educate people on what Fair Trade and Ethical Fashion means. It’s my goal to grow a strong community of business owners and shoppers here in south Texas. A community that wants to make a difference!
Learn more about joining our community of Sseko Fellows here!