MONUMENT — A local business is helping Nepalese women coming out of slavery.
Lindsay Theken created her headband business HeadPeaceback in 2016. She couldn't find the perfect one in the marketplace, so she decided to create one by combining design elements from a few of her favorites.
"I suffer from migraines so I'm very particular about the tightness of a headband on my head and the fabric. What I love about these HeadPeace headbands is that they're a nice thin fabric that is soft but not slippery. They keep moisture from your head when you're working out, and they stay put. They are also not too tight so I don't get headaches from wearing them," said Theken.
When Theken started her business, she didn't know how to find a manufacturer in the United States.
"I kinda put my whole project on hold. Fast forward a couple of weeks, I was at my daughter's gymnastics class and saw a lady who I'd never seen before. I just started talking to this nice lady and she tells me that she lives in Nepal and owns a textile manufacturing company that helps women coming out of slavery and trafficking situations get back on their feet," said Theken.
Purnaa is a Colorado-based company that employs people from marginalized backgrounds in order to provide a stable foundation that breaks the cycle of poverty. They were just awarded the US Secretary of State Award for Corporate Excellence (ACE) as the 2021 Outstanding Small to Medium Enterprise in the category of Economic Inclusion.
"Our decision to nominate Purnaa for an ACE award was guided by our strong belief that the story of Purnaa needed to be told, especially in the context of Nepal.
Despite constitutional and legal protections, discrimination in employment and occupation still occurs in Nepal…And that is where Purnaa comes in. By employing people from these (marginalized) backgrounds, Purnaa gives them opportunities for independent and healthy lives that might not be otherwise available in the social context of Nepal."
"How I help them in their mission is by paying them a good price for all of my products. They provide scholarships for their employees, pay them a living wage, and counseling. It's really touching to read some of the stories of the women they have employed and how their job has improved their lives. It is heartwarming to know that I am supporting an amazing company," said Theken.
She says her customers can feel good about their purchases at HeadPeace.
"It is a socially ethical, certified fair trade company and you know that your money is going to a good place," said Theken.
Theken says she plans to take her company to the next level. She wants to see her products in more stores and worn more by the younger generation.