Katie sat in long meetings, listening with one ear while her other hand doodled. Slim, poufy, swishy skirts - sketches bloomed for the amazing print fabric she saw on women swirling around her. Then she stopped and chided herself for not focusing on the more important mission at hand.
In a dream one night, those skirts came dancing in her head, along with the absolute imperative to get on with making them. What could be more important than following that thread? At last, Katie confided in the husband and wife team leading those meetings, pastor Francis and his wife, Benedict, and together, they got to work on skirts.
Benedict gathered together nine widows from her local community in Togo who were desperate for work to support their families. Katie flew in seamstresses to train them in the finest details, as well as sewing machines to enable them. She scoured local markets to find the best wax print fabric from Ghana and Ivory Coast and weed out the imposter prints from China. She worked up designs, fussed over fittings, loved on the women. Then, she brought dozens of beautiful skirts home to Charleston and sold out of them in weeks.
When Katie Walters began to hunt for the perfect boutique to carry her brand. Francis + Benedict, ibu was thrilled to be the one chosen. Fun, spry colors in three styles - something for everyone, and such a great price — it makes you want one of each.
A few weeks ago, while in the US visiting his colleagues, Francis came to ibu. He watched our slides of artisans in 34 countries and found himself overwhelmed to realize that the seamstresses his wife had gathered together would be represented here at ibu. He asked to say a prayer, in French, and blessed the boutique and the sashaying forth of the skirts that once doodled out of Katie’s creative mind.
We celebrate with Katie, and Benedict and Francis, and all the nine artisans of Togo, toasting the beauty we together can create when we follow our thread.