By Jody Morgan | December 2017
Launched to turn a profit marketing fine keepsake jewelry of gold and pearls, Love You More now offers a Bohemian Line of jewelry, purses, and clothing specifically designed to empower the women making these handcrafted items to reliably provide basic needs for their families. While the original Love You More Line donates 10-20% of profits to a variety of charities, the newly released portion of the business is dedicated to giving the ladies involved in putting each piece together both additional income and useful skills so that they can offer their children the opportunity for a future far brighter than the prospect they faced themselves.
In 2009, Alamo resident Gaby Ghorbani decided to exchange her financially remunerative role as a well-established entrepreneur to follow the personally rewarding path dictated by her heart. She longed to share with local youngsters the life-changing experience of discovering their own individual ability to positively impact the lives of others that she first embraced as a 10-year-old child growing up in Mexico. Riding home from school in her family car one day, she spotted a boy about her own age pedaling candy on the street and knew she somehow had to find the means to help him. Although involved from that day forward in supporting charitable endeavors in her spare time, she wanted to devote herself full-time to making a difference.
Pledge to Humanity (PTH), the non-profit she founded, has grown exponentially. It teaches young people of all ages that helping others forms a sense of connection rather than a duty to fulfill service hour requirements and that in turn furnishes a remarkably powerful feeling of self worth and achievement.
Ghorbani explains: “I believe in the innate compassion in the heart of every child. I know and believe in the ability they have to give, to love, to empower, and to make a significant impact in the world.”
However, as Ghorbani remarks, she has an entrepreneurial nature that wasn’t fully satisfied and decided to build a new business. Still interested in conveying a message of heartfelt connection, she created a collection of gold and pearl jewelry to be given and cherished as an expression of love. She named the line Love You More.
Not surprisingly for those acquainted with Ghorbani’s capacity for multitasking, releasing the Love You More line did not keep her from continuing her PTH work both at home and abroad. Her Love You More venture was only a few months old when she identified the means to utilize her for-profit start up to serve a need PTH could not address.
PTH was working in Gardenia, a Mexican village near Puerto Vallarta, to improve deficient dwellings by replacing porous walls, roofs, and floors with materials that would protect residents from the elements. The village was known as “Dump Town” because of its proximity to the adjacent odoriferous space. When Gaby learned the dump was being moved away, she was happy for the residents. Soon they would have cleaner air to breathe. Then Ghorbani discovered the women of the village were heartbroken by the news. Gleaning from the dump was a major source of livelihood. They wouldn’t have enough money to buy the supplies their children required to attend school, never mind to pay for basic clothing and food needs.
She spoke with the local pastor and leader in that community. He had already started helping some of the women to make small items they could sell at nearby beaches. She decided to train the women to make a special line of jewelry and bags that would give them a dependable source of income. Love You More would handle sales.
Ghorbani emphasizes that Love You More is in no way connected with Pledge to Humanity. The next step was working out designs and finding materials. Teaching the ladies to make quality products was essential. Mistakes made by trainees learning proper techniques with genuine leather proved costly. After providing the ladies with vinyl for practicing new skills, Gaby realized how many of her vegan friends actually purchased only faux-leather and designed a selection of vegan bags especially for them.
Having heavy, valuable finishing details like chains and charms added closer to her Alamo residence not only saves on shipping costs, but it also helps to generate extra income for women working from their homes in California.
Always ready to turn an unpleasant experience into a source of inspiration, Gaby is excited about the Bohemian Line’s concert and game ready purses now in stock for holiday gift giving. Gaby and her daughter learned for the first time that many venues are not allowing women to bring in any purse exceeding 4.5” x 6.5” when they had the frustrating experience of being turned back to their car to deposit their oversize bags (just 2’’ over the approved dimensions) after waiting in a long concert entrance line in Santa Fe. Some sports stadiums have the same rule. If you show up with an oversize purse, you may have the option of checking it with all of your valuables in a tent outside the grounds. But wouldn’t you rather be prepared with a bag just big enough for cell phone, keys, credits cards, and a bit of cash?
Recently Gaby discovered a sewing school in Puerto Vallarta. She decided to give these women the chance to earn extra income by making clothing, primarily in one size to fit most with a few pieces offered in a limited size range. Cotton and linen fabric for the original pieces comes from Guadalajara.
Ghorbani is currently researching additional sources. Teachers from the United States conduct a free daily after school enrichment program at a nearby school where the sewing ladies’ children can learn computer skills, English, and music. Gaby is determined to help fund the salary of at least one of the American teachers.
Helping others is a way of life for Ghorbani. As all of her PTH children learn, if you keep your eyes and heart open to the needs of others, you will find endless opportunities to improve their lives.
The approach of the holiday season is a stressful time for mothers struggling to make ends meet. Gaby knows the ladies crafting items for the Bohemian Line would do anything in their power to give their children presents and a holiday feast.
Even though the new enterprise has yet to yield a profit, she is committed to making sure the ladies working on the line have pantries stocked with food and special gifts for each family member this Christmas. When Gaby explained what she was providing to Lupe, one of the women on the Gardenia crew, Lupe replied, “You have brightened my day! Thank you so much!”
To date, The Bohemian Line has only been seen at a few select trunk shows. The Phoenix Salon in Walnut Creek is generously giving space for display so East Bay customers can see the quality of the pieces in person. A full range of products can be purchased online for the holidays at www.loveyoumore.com. Stock is already on hand in Alamo.
Empowering more women to support their families is Gaby Ghorbani’s goal. As soon as the Bohemian Line has profits to share, a significant portion will be channeled to the educational needs of the children of the women working on the line.
Erica, who has been with the Bohemian Line since its inception and supervises the Gardenia workers, knows what the success of the project will mean to all of them. She says: “Gaby, I know you want to help us so much. We are extremely grateful to you for believing in us. We hope to see this grow for the benefit of all of us because you have worked so hard to make this happen.”