Parker Clay is a handcrafted goods and fashion company making ethically sourced, timeless products while creating opportunities for vulnerable women and their families to become economically independent. The social enterprise’s luxury lifestyle brand has found a way to use quality craftsmanship to empower others.
It all started when founders Ian and Brittany Bentley traveled to Ethiopia in 2011 to adopt their first daughter and moved to the capital city of Addis Ababa one year later. While living in Ethiopia, they had the fortune of spending time with organizations working to empower women emerging from the commercial sex industry. Meeting these women and witnessing the amazing, transformative work these organizations were doing deeply moved the couple. It was after this experience that the beginning of the Parker Clay mission — creating quality products with a purpose — began to take shape.
The idea to work with leather emerged when Ian stumbled upon an incredible leather bag, while looking for a birthday gift for Brittany. The bag was handcrafted by a local artisan with ethically sourced materials that they would later find out was some of the highest quality leather in the world. With these resources in mind, a vision of empowerment through enterprise was born. Parker Clay would soon grow into what it is today, a luxury lifestyle brand using handcrafted goods to transform communities in Ethiopia through social and economic empowerment.
An honest job is more than just a paycheck, but a means to economic stability and social dignity for the artisans and their families. By transforming the lives of women and their families, we are strengthening communities.
Parker Clay accomplishes this through two primary channels in Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia: the NGO Ellilta – Women at Risk and the Parker Clay Production Facility. Ellilta – Women at Risk fights the commercial sex industry by offering prevention and awareness programs, counseling, skills training and other services to women and communities in Addis Ababa. They operate a company, Ellilta Products, to train and employ women from their program in jewelry making or weaving. Parker Clay partners with Ellilta Products to source its woven blankets from the organization.
The Parker Clay Production Facility in Ethiopia is where all of the leather products are made. Besides following fair trade practices, they pay their employees an average of 87% above local wage rates. They also offer additional benefits to employees including pension, generous vacation policies, transportation to and from work, access to laundry facilities, daily coffee breaks, savings groups and more. The social enterprise views both channels, Ellilta and Parker Clay, as powerful platforms for empowerment through employment.
Looking ahead, they are excited to bring on additional sales channels and marketing opportunities, knowing increased revenue will deepen their impact. They have exciting new collaborations on the way and a wide range of leather color variations coming in 2018 — including pink, blue and red. Follow them @ParkerClayIntl on all social media platforms to stay in the loop. Watch a video of their story here.
Parker Clay joined SEA for the opportunity to learn, network, increase brand exposure and marketing that could accelerate the company’s growth and mission — specifically opportunities with Summit ‘17, the online Marketplace and Holiday Gift Guide. They are happy to be in a community of people who “not only care for the common good, but do something about it — people who are trying new things to make a real difference in the lives of vulnerable populations, even when it hurts the bottom line, social climb or free time.”
To learn more about Parker Clay Intl, check out their member directory profile.