At the base of a beautifully constructed Future Glory handbag lies the beating heart of its operation: the apprenticeship program.
For co-founders Theresa Lee and Jennie Chen, their mission to create amazing handbags is one and the same as their mission to support social change. On top of donating a portion of every sale to local San Francisco-based organizations, their apprenticeship program provides women from these organizations with skills training and employment.
“Being able to change someone’s life in a sustainable way,” Jennie notes, “it’s been an amazing thing to witness.”
Their first apprentice, Lisa, was introduced to Jennie and Theresa through Because Justice Matters and has been with the program for more than six months.
“I get a lot of satisfaction out of the precision that’s needed for marking the cloth and cutting it,” Lisa says. “It’s part of the foundation of what they do, and if I don’t get it right, well then, it won’t be right. I like being at the base and having a sense of order and reason.”
Having been through tremendous hardship throughout her life, Lisa not only finds a renewed sense of purpose through her work with Future Glory, but also by being part of a company that directly supports other vulnerable women who have been in similar circumstances.
“It’s been extremely rewarding because I personally relate to the cause and I get to help other people in a way that is very important to me,” Lisa says. “Part of what life is about for me is having purpose and meaning, and making amends for hurting myself and others in the past. This is a perfect way for me to do that.”
In addition to making a positive difference in her own life, Lisa also mentions that Future Glory’s mission helps bring more attention to human trafficking and domestic violence, as well as opens the door for more women to come forward.
“I see it down the line as benefitting victims of horrible crimes,” she notes. “A lot of sex trafficking and domestic violence, people don’t talk about. I didn’t talk about my experience for years, until I got into therapy. I think a lot more goes on than what is disclosed. Businesses like this help put it out to the public that this is something that needs to be addressed.”
As Lisa steadily draws a line on a new sheet of cloth, we can see the satisfaction in her eyes as she finishes and grabs her scissors.
“I see a greater purpose to this,” Lisa continues. “I love doing it and being paid to do something that you love and have it affect society in a positive way—what greater thing could you ask for?”