I first discovered Bauble Stockings via a reader comment a few weeks ago, and am so glad I did, not only because it led me to an incredible small business but to the extraordinary woman of substance behind it: Kate Stewart.
In Kate’s own words, Bauble Stockings are “hand-stitched needlepoint ornament-sized stockings that hang out your tree. As tradition has it, they contain, or have a clue to, the final gifts of Christmas, a grand finale for each member of the family.” The concept has its roots in a family tradition: Kate used to help her father select special Christmas gifts for her mother and hide them in a special small stocking on the tree.
But what makes Bauble Stockings all the more remarkable is that they are hand-stitched by Haitian artisans who earn fair trade wages while being able to work from their own home on their own time — a considerable boon in the age of COVID-19. The company currently employs 107 women full-time, year-round. Kate’s admirable social conscience has also led her to donate 5% profit of each sale to the Atlanta Children’s Shelter, an organization that provides childcare for homeless families such that mothers are able to go to work knowing their children are safe and cared-for. In just over two years, Bauble Stockings has donated over $10,000 and offered surprise holiday bonuses to all of their artisanal stitchers in Haiti.
In Kate’s words: “starting this meaningful tradition in your home genuinely creates meaningful work in another.”
Below, get to know founder Kate a bit better as she answers my Proust Questionnaire.
Your favorite qualities in a woman: Generosity of spirit. My company would not be successful, or growing at this pace, if not for women sharing their light with me — from the women who highlight us to the guest artists who design stockings in exchange for a percentage of profits going to a charity of choice to all of the women purchasing, talking about, and participating in this tradition. Together, these actions are creating good jobs for one of the most vulnerable populations in the world: single moms in Haiti.
Your favorite heroine. Elizabeth Newton of ENewton Design. At the beginning of COVID19, she allowed online customers to designate local stores to receive 20% of each sale on her website, and later donated over $100K to stores. To me, she is a role model and a heroine, and someone who inspires me to create a business that helps the communities around me.
Your main fault. Letting go of control.
Your greatest strength. Getting stuff done through decisiveness.
Your idea of happiness. My kids’ laughter.
Your idea of misery. Bad bosses.
Currently at the top of your shopping lust list. Curtains for our formal dining room. (Clearly I’m getting old!)
Desert island beauty product. Sunscreen.
Last thing you bought. Two decked-out Halloween wreaths by a woman who just launched her company at Scott’s Antique Market — one for me and one for my BFF!
I feel most empowered wearing… Holiday brunch attire — it’s my Bauble Stockings dress code and I love it.
Favorite Magpie post. Christmas Gifts for Loved Ones because I am a gifting nut and I love thoughtful gifts. I’ve actually given a lot of the items on this list and am excited to figure out how to gift the rest!
P.P.P.S. My first (public) foray into fiction.