In 2015, Elohim + Nim began as an online boutique for women, started by a fresh out of college graduate. The store's focus was on curating a selection of clothing and accessories from markets all across the US. We got an excellent opportunity to meet and work with a lot of great vendors during our first two years. But then something felt like it was missing. I wanted to make a difference with the store, but the day to days always seemed to take over. We started by donated to organizations each month, but that just didn't seem like it was enough. Finally, at the beginning of our third year, the workload, the late nights, and the red-eye flights began to feel like too much for one person. I pushed myself as far as I could until one day, I just knew I had to take a step back. The store was put on hold because I was exhausted, my mental health was suffering, and I had lost the motivation needed to run this business.
After a couple of months, I got a chance to reconnect with my faith, get to a healthy place mentally, and just focus on finding what I was missing to keep going. Silently I was even looking for a confirmation that this was over (spoiler alert: I never got one). During this time, I was drawn by the idea of making a difference in my home country Honduras. That week I booked a trip to Honduras with no plan or idea and just hoped that God would light the way. I ended up looking into many ways to help but nothing seemed to click or work out. I probably took 3-4 trips before I was introduced to the ladies in El Naranjo, La Ceiba. A community with many needs and little hope. As I arrived in El Naranjo, I never expected to feel such warmth and peace in such a small village, but I did. Here I was miles away from the nearest city with a group of ladies knowing that I was in the right place but had no idea how I was going to help.
On my next trip, we started with some DIYs and some materials. We tried all kinds of things but we always seemed to run into a problem. Every trip after that would consist of bringing supplies for the ladies to practice and try new ideas to see what they could pick up naturally. Finally, we ended up making earrings. That trip we worked on some ideas and finally narrowed it down to five styles.
Two days later I headed back to the States with a couple of earring samples in hand and no plan. I had no idea where to go from here. The store was still on pause; I was working at a t-shirt shop, while still trying to figure out my life and had no direction. All I could think of was that I had a group of women hoping that I could bring some good news on my next trip to visit them. I didn't know what I was going to do. I knew it would be a privilege to get to bring some light to these women and to be part of the change in their lives, but little did I know this was also going to shape my own life.
I went back to work that week with no leads as to where to go with the samples. I had been praying all week for the opportunity to open up but nothing had happened yet. Later that day, Meredith from Sweet Baton Rouge (best place to work, btw), let me know she was still searching for one more item for her Lagniappe Box. I didn't know what to do. Was this it? What if I never had this chance again? What if I messed this up? I've never been the best sales person so I wouldn't even know where to start. Finally, I grew the courage to ask Meredith if she wanted to take a look at the samples, and ta-da! Just like that, God had opened up a door. Meredith placed the first order ever. And it was not any kind of a first-order it was an order for 160 Pom-Pom earrings! This first-order not only made an impact on these women's lives but also their families. Definitely a big confidence boost for all of us. This first-order not only made an impact on these women's lives but also their families. Definitely a big confidence boost for all of us.
Here they were, a group of women in a remote mountain area of Honduras, and somehow someone had found them, and they were valuable enough to have work brought to their door. Being a part of this moment meant the world to me. From that day on, I knew that I didn't care if I had to start from the ground up, this was it, the new mission for Elohim + Nim, and the fire I was so desperately needed.