By Montserrat Cataldi

When the sun rises in the early morning, or when it sets a the middle of the day, there’s this hazy light that fills the sky. But right in the middle of the day, that’s when the sun shines its brightest. And that’s how each of us, no matter where we live, was made to shine.

Jessica Honegger

Back in the days, a woman with the name Jessica Honegger visited Kenya as a teenager, as she always wanted to follow her grandma’s adventurous footsteps.

During her time at Kenya, Jessica saw real poverty for the first time. During a walk throughout the city, she met a woman running a brightly colored fruit stand and realized that such dignified work enabled her to provide for her family. That’s when she knew she had to use the opportunities life presented to her to provide meaningful opportunities for other people.

Jessica Honegger, author of Imperfect Courage and Founder of the socially conscious fashion brand Noonday Collection.
Jessica Honegger, author of Imperfect Courage and Founder of the socially conscious fashion brand Noonday Collection.

Years passed before Jessica decided to visit Africa again, this time with her husband. During this trip, Jessica and her husband made the decision to adopt a child named Jack, whose parents had recently died of AIDS.

“The most basic human right is being able to have a parent,” she always thought.

The couple started the adoption process. However, when the 2008 recession hit, the couple was no longer able to pay the $25,000 international adoption fee. That is when Jessica knew she needed to do something to turn things around. And it all started when, during that trip to Africa, Jessica’s friends introduced her to Jalia.

Jalia Muwanga is an African artisan that loves to make beautiful jewelry that help people express their most authentic selves. At that time, Uganda was going through an economic recession, therefore, artisans needed bigger markets in order to enjoy a sustainable income, provide opportunities to their children, and help their communities thrive.

How Noonday Collection Started

Very inspired and moved by Jalia’s story, Jessica returned home and hosted Noonday’s first Trunk Show. The purpose of the show was both to raise money to bring Jack, their son, to the US from Rwanda as well as introduce the American community to Jalia’s handmade collections. Shortly after the show, women fell in love with Noonday Collection’s story and beautiful designs and Jessica’s dreams began to take off.

When Jack came to the United States and finally met his parents, Jessica knew that Noonday’s impact went beyond Jack’s story. Jessica decided that she wanted to turn Noonday into a viable business so that it could multiply its impact around the world.

She soon partnered with Travis Wilson, a friend of hers passionate about social entrepreneurship and highly experienced in building businesses from scratch. Both Travis and Jessica had spent years working together in Africa and Latin America. Together they dreamed of starting a business that would alleviate poverty through entrepreneurship.

This dream became Noonday Collection, a business that uses fashion to create meaningful opportunities around the world. And that’s when Noonday Collection found its light.

Travis Wilson with his wife and their three kids. Travis left his job in corporate finance to focus on social entrepreneurship in Africa and South America
Travis Wilson with his wife and their three kids. Travis left his job in corporate finance to focus on social entrepreneurship in Africa and South America

Noonday Collection’s Impact

Today, Noonday Collection develops Artisan Businesses through fair trade, empowering artisans like Jalia to create dignified jobs in their communities.

“Jessica and I took a chance on each other, and now, my business has employed hundreds of people in my community. Not only that, but our work in Uganda is also creating jobs and empowering women in America. I’m so proud of how we have created opportunities for people all over the world to rise and shine,” Jalia shared. In addition to that, Noonday Collection helps adoptive families by donating 10% of sales.

To create a marketplace for their Artisan Partners, Noonday Collection invites women in the United States to launch their own businesses through their Ambassador Opportunity Program. Noonday Ambassadors are stylists, storytellers, and social entrepreneurs who create a growing marketplace for Artisan Businesses through Trunk Shows.

Two women artisans looking at each other smiling while displaying their beautifully-designed products
2015 Spring Launch Trunk Show with Jamie Ivey

Across the developing world, millions of people work as artisans, using traditional skills to create handcrafted products. But without access to the global market, these Artisans often struggle to earn a sustainable income. Noonday Collection, a socially responsible business that uses fashion to create meaningful opportunities across the globe, collaborates with artisans in 15 countries to help them get access to a global market, which allows them to grow sustainably.

Join them today through their Ambassador Opportunity Program, style your friends, and become an agent of change and progress in the world!

“Together we are building a flourishing world where children are cherished, women are empowered, people have jobs and we are connected” – Noonday Collection.

“If you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday”

Isaiah 58:10

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