Caitlin Abber
March 14, 2013 3:00 am

Many of you might recognize Jayma Mays as the quirky and loveable Emma Pillsbury on Glee. What you may not know, is that Jayma is also the spokesperson for the socially responsible brand Raven + Lily. Founded three years ago by Kirsten Dickerson and Sophia Lin, Raven + Lily is “dedicated to empowering women through design partnerships and sustainable economic opportunities.” They work with women in developing parts of the world to create beautiful, hand-made jewelry and apparel, and pay those women fair trade wages, as well as offer health care, micro-loans, and other great opportunities. Raven + Lily’s artisans are women who are working to end the cycle of poverty. They are from Ethiopia, India, Cambodia, and even Los Angeles.

 I had a chance to speak with Jayma about her work with Raven + Lily, and what inspired her to get involved and help empower other women.

“I have known about Raven + Lily for a while,” said Jayma. “I have loved the collection, and always bought gifts from them for friends. Then one day I was watching the documentary, Half The Sky, which is about women around the world, and organizations and partnerships that work with underprivileged women, and I knew I wanted to help. Raven + Lily immediately popped in my head.”

Jayma will be traveling to Ethiopia this summer, followed by Kenya for a photo shoot.

“I’m in love with the collection from Ethiopia – the Asmir Collection,” said Jayma. “It is made from leather and the beadwork is actually bullet casings that they’ve melted down. It’s so powerful that this was once something that was made to cause harm, and now it is bringing wealth to these women”.

Empowering women is a passion of Jayma’s, and something she has picked up from her own mother, who always told her to believe in herself.

“My mom did not make me feel like I was a little girl,” said Jayma. “She made me feel like I was a strong person who could do whatever I wanted. She was always playing up the advantages of being a woman. I feel like I grew up with the idea of believing in myself, that if I set my mind to something I can do it”.

Jayma believes that Raven + Lily is about more than fashion and accessories, it’s about women helping each other succeed.

Raven + Lily is a company that truly believes every woman’s life is valuable,” said Jayma “I am really thankful to be involved”.

For more information about Raven + Lily, visit www.raven+lily.com

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