My husband and I had just relocated to Houston and I was feeling more homesick than ever for my beloved New York City. When Emeka suggested we go to a wine tasting party I figured it would be a great opportunity to get out and shake myself out of my New York-coma. Within five minutes of walking into the party, the lovely hostess introduced me to a stunning woman with bright eyes and fierce style named Lea Bodie. Little did I know this new acquaintance of mine would become my dear friend and business partner a year later. 

Over the night there was a safety about each other's presence that led us into vulnerably sharing our individual stories; from the joys and triumphs, to the tears and heartaches. Within moments of discovering that we both were survivors of abuse, it was as if an eternal bond fused us in the deepest understanding. That's the beautiful thing about the hearts of women. When we make the choice to lay down comparison and take up the tools of encouragement and love, we are then able to nurture and unveil the fullness of true beauty bestowed upon us by the Creator. That evening with Lea, I was reminded that where two are gathered in authenticity, home never feels too far away. 

In the past year, Lea and I continued to grow closer in the same way our husbands conveniently became best buds; fostering friendship over homecooked meals, dance parties in the kitchen, late night laughs and deep conversations until 4 o'clock in the morning. Even after my husband and I relocated to The Philippines, we kept in close touch with the Bodies, already planning our next family vacation. 

I could have never imagined that the seeds of longing to lead a generation in fighting against human trafficking within me would be a holy burden simultaneously growing in Lea's heart. After much prayer and much leading in The Spirit, Lea and I decided to join together the desire of our hearts to see women step into a revelation of their worth. The brainchild, or rather, heart child of this prayer is Láro

For the past few months, every effort on both our ends has been done in love with one mission in mind: to reclaim celebration for those who have been robbed of their joy. "Laro" in the Philippine native language means: to play. There is something that happens to those who have suffered abuse; a paralysis in your ability to laugh, to play. Láro seeks to leverage fashion and our support of those longing for more to inspire light in the midst of darkness. Our mission is to empower women while advocating for underprivileged and marginalized communities around the world, specifically through supporting indigenous artisans and joining the fight against human trafficking. 

I recently spent a week with Lea in Houston, Texas officially launching our brand. In reflection, I still cannot believe the power and passion that has sprung forth, already impacting more than we could have ever hoped for in such a short amount of time. All because two women decided not to compare but rather, to EMPOWER one another. Even as I type this, Lea is off running our very first fashion show collaboration and is no doubt, giving every moment no less than her very best. I couldn't be more proud to call her not only parter, but above all, friend. 

I wish I could say that all my relationships with women are rooted in mutual respect, love, and genuine desire to see one another succeed. The idea that celebrating another woman's milestones somehow hinders your own growth and success is a lie from the pits of hell. And yet, how many of us women fall to this deceit, crippling the friendships around us? Ladies, may we always be the biggest advocates for one another, seeking to build and never to tear down. And may the solid foundation on which we band together be our unshakeable worth and identity in The One who created us unlike any other; fearfully and wonderfully made. Without rival may we rise; for we are stronger together. 


To learn more about Láro, click here.


Featuring: Láro

Instagram: @shop.laro

Facebook: ShopLaroHandbags


Photography: Debbie Porter Photography