"Love is brave," reads one of the T-shirts by Bravely, a St. Louis clothing brand.
It's a sentiment woven deep into the organization, which is an enterprise program of Magdalene St. Louis, a nonprofit residential community for survivors of addiction and sexual exploitation. Bravely was started around a year ago by the women in the program, who wanted to sell merchandise with empowering slogans. The product line includes T-shirts, tote bags, water bottles, cosmetic bags, and coffee mugs, which are adorned with one of three phrases: “Love is brave,” “Compassion is badass,” and “I am a work in progress.”
Bravely employees are women that have reached a certain stage of the Magdalene St. Louis rehabilitation process. They must go through counseling and other healing before they can enter the job-training program. Proceeds from Bravely directly benefit the women; the profits go toward paying them a living wage.
“We are focused on our women learning marketable and transferable skills, rather than more labor-intensive skills," says Zekita Asuquo, director of social enterprise. "That is something that makes Bravely really unique."