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Changing Lives One Stitch at a Time

Goodwill Overcomes Barriers to Jobs
Through just a hook and yarn, hats and accessories company Krochet Kids is helping support women in Uganda as they work to meet the needs of their families. The hand-crocheted items are not only fashionable, but also give Nordstrom customers a way to give back.

Kohl Crecelius learned to crochet from his older brother and then taught his friends Travis Hartanov and Stewart Ramsey; the three guys sold their hats to their fellow high school students. Together, they became the "Krochet Kids."

In 2007, Kohl, Travis and Stewart founded Krochet Kids International (KKi), a non-profit organization working with a growing number of women in war-torn, northern Uganda to create a collection of men's and women's crochets hats and fashion accessories. More than 85 women in Uganda are employed to create the hats, earning fair wages, training and education so they can provide for their families and begin planning for a better future.

The right fit

"Krochet Kids is a perfect fit for Nordstrom because it's a great quality product, it's fun and all of the proceeds go to help the women in Uganda," said Janae Schain, assistant buyer, B.P. Accessories. "It looks amazing and you're giving back."

KKi believes in quality, handmade products that bring comfort and style while serving as a vehicle for social change. Introduced to a select number of Nordstrom stores in October 2010, the Krochet Kids hats were popular with customers and the product soon sold out.

"When customers hear the story behind the product, they fall in love with it," said Janae.

Buy a hat. Change a life.

Each hand-crocheted hat features a label that is personally signed by the woman who made it. Customers can learn the woman's story and thank her through the Krochet Kids website. That personal contact is soon going to be even more accessible.

"This year's new line of hats will have smart phone tags sewn in the labels which will take you directly to the website so you can write a thank you note to the woman who made the hat," said Janae.

The purchase of crocheted hats and accessories helps KKi sustain and grow current job and income programs as well as empower future generations through education.

"The cooperation of our staff in America and artists in Northern Uganda has created a sustainable cycle of employment and empowerment," said Kohl Crecelius, CEO and co-founder.

Goodwill Overcomes Barriers to Jobs

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