I have to admit when I saw this tweet from Dr. Bill Thomas my first reply was Dude, your Twitter account has been hacked!
If you haven’t seen what @saraholiverbags is up to, you should take a look at this… http://t.co/55B9I4fQZE this is insanely cool
— Dr. Bill Thomas (@drbillthomas) January 4, 2015
Dr. Bill tweeting about insanely cool designer hand bags? Riiiight. But it turns out the joke was on me. When I finally clicked on the link I was introduced to designer Sarah Oliver and her insanely cool handbag business. Sarah grew up in a family of multi-generational knitters and developed a hobby creating craft handbags for her friends. Demand for her unique knit clutches and mini-purses soon outstripped her ability to produce them and this inspired Sarah to strike out on her own and start a business. Remembering her roots, Sarah got the idea to approach a local retirement community to recruit a knitting circle to help her ramp up production. Today, that knitting circle — self-named the Purlettes +1 (the “one” being the group’s only male member) — is the backbone of Sarah Oliver Handbags.
Kirsti’s hands. 98 years old. Born in 1915. Still knitting. #saraholiverhandbags #LoveWhatIDo #purpose #hands #madeinamerica A photo posted by soliverbags (@soliverbags) on
The Purlettes +1 range in age from 78 to 98 and work together at The Rosewoods retirement community in Mill Valley, Calif. Sarah or a member of her team meets with them once per week to pick up completed fabrics and drop off patterns and wools for the following week. Their creations are sold in speciality boutiques nationwide as well as several foreign countries and online.
“Society needs to break stereotypes and develop new models of aging for the 21st century. Everyone benefits from communities, workplaces and societies that encourage active and visible participation of older people.”
-World Health Organization
The success of the company has inspired Sarah Oliver Handbags to recruit teams of Purlettes across the country. Sarah said the wisdom imparted by the Purlettes +1 has been a constant source of guidance to improve the patterns and grow the company. She also praises her distributors and consumers for embracing the mission of Sarah Oliver Handbags to empower elders.
“As a mission driven company, we are leading a movement to re-engage seniors in the American economy and empower them with a new found sense of purpose and passion,” Sarah said.
See for yourself how much fun this visionary entrepreneur is having, and check out the goods here.
Check out this French site as well – similar concept and apparently thriving in France. Leveraging Granny (Mamy) skills and creativity!
Jytte Lokvig says
Great! Here’s another project that similarly helps elders have a sense of purpose.