I had the privilege of asking Sherri Ohler, the founder and designer behind S.O. Loved, some questions about her business and mission. She has a huge heart, a beautiful story, and we’re privileged to invite you into her dream by including one of her creations in our very first box.
Okay Sherri, What's your primary role with S.O. Loved? How many people are on your team?
I wear so many hats right now but my favorite is my Designer hat. I look forward to time in the studio when I get to create something new! Right now it's still just me and my daughter and I try to save all production for her so she has steady income as a S.O. Loved Artist.
Let's talk about your creations. Was jewelry something you had a passion for previously, or is this a new thing?
I LOVE designing, whether that be home decor, which I did for years with my paintings, or jewelry. It's the creative process I love, and I adore packaging design so that has been a really fun part of this S.O. Loved adventure!
Bracelets are obviously your cornerstone piece. Any styling tips?
For a simple look, wear just one alone. For a dressier look, pair wrap bracelets with our Dress Me Ups that are accented with a bit of bling. For a funky look like I love, bundle your wrap with our Hope Threads collection!
S.O. Loved has a great coming-to-life story that includes a vision of changing the world by creating beautiful things, big dreams that had to start firmly planted in the lives of some of the people closest to Sherri, and some great confirmations from shelters interested in partnering with her training program. You can read more on Sherri’s About page – it’s good stuff!
S.O. Loved gives 10% of all sales directly to anti-trafficking organizations and homeless shelters. Sherri, why single moms? Why trafficked women?
I was a single mom for 14 years and remember how difficult it was to have to leave my girls to go make an income. For a while, I had to choose time with them or money for them. I was given little to no child support and as a result it was difficult to make ends meet for many, many years. My heart will always be soft for single parents.
As far as trafficking goes, I am just shocked at how prevalent and close to home it is. I have three daughters and the thought of anyone forcing them to do anything against their will, let alone prostitution, is heartbreaking. We can all help – sometimes the problem seems insurmountable because it's so big, but the traffickers are outnumbered by us. If each of us does something we could rescue them all. I believe that!
What kind of impact do you feel like you've had? I know whenever I'm mulling over a new venture the question "is it worth it" invariably tries to knock me down. (Obviously it so is and that's a lie!)
Right now S.O. Loved is providing enough extra income to help one single mom rent a nice home, in a nice town for her and her baby that is due in April, and since she gets to make the jewelry at home she will not have to leave her baby to work full-time. That is a big deal that will bless generation after generation and give both baby & mom an easier start in their new adventure together. I couldn't be happier with the way the S.O. Loved vision has worked in this situation. We are doing exactly what we set out to do! Yay!
I was reading something on your website about a big dream you're working on ... what can you tell us about that?
What we want to do is provide all the jewelry-making tools and materials to a shelter and then come in and run a training so it can serve as a manufacturing site for S.O. Loved. The more demand we have, the more girls we can provide income for. When the girls leave the shelter, they can choose to continue as a S.O. Loved employee, or they can pass on the mantle to someone new at the shelter and take the skills they learned with us to create their own business! We hope that the messages on the bracelets really sink in to all who craft them as well as all who wear them. I believe they are anointed by Jesus to help women understand their identity in Him, I really believe that.
The Blessings Box is a new concept, right? How do those work? How can our subscribers continue to support your mission and vision beyond just buying more bracelets?
When we raise $460, we will put 50 bracelets in a box to give to an organization to sell or give away to women during street outreach. Or, when someone donates the price of a bracelet to the Blessings Box Project, we will put two bracelets in the box! So really, we are encouraging the consumer to join us in this effort. If people get involved then together we can bless people who are fighting the good fight!
We also offer Blessings Boxes as a way for individuals to raise funds for their missions trip, team, or just as a way to earn extra income through trunk shows. The more one sells during their show, fundraiser or event, the more they earn free and the more bracelets we give into a Blessings Box on their behalf.
Any words of encouragement for the dreamers and up-and-coming do-ers?
My best advice is never stop chasing Jesus. See where He is moving in the world and jump in. If you chase the dream, every time something goes wrong or the business seems to be lacking you will wonder where you went wrong, but if you chase Jesus He will show you what He wants you to contribute in the world.
Jesus called me to help women feel beautiful and understand their identity in Him, so I will do that whether S.O. Loved is crazy busy or unusually slow. Jesus is the reason and my mission stays the same. If there are no jewelry orders to fill today, then I can use that time to learn, pray, call on shelters, minister in the streets, design new pieces, etc. but the mission to do what Jesus is doing – loving a lost world, fighting evil and bringing people into the Kingdom to be free – that never changes.