Eileen Rosete: founder of Our Sacred Women
A few months ago, I shared about this amazing Women Are Sacred organic tee. It's my delight to introduce you to the woman behind this empowering brand. I deeply appreciate Eileen's commitment to creating empowering products that don't harm anyone or anything in the process of their creation. Read on to learn more about Eileen's vision...
Share a bit about your personal background
I grew up in sunny Southern California and followed my then-boyfriend/now-husband to Chicago after college. What I thought would be a 1-2 year stint in the Midwest turned into an 8 year run! I spent the first four years working for a non-profit organization that focused on increasing racial diversity in the legal profession. I also dedicated a lot of time to volunteering – first with a non-profit that helps youth make informed decisions about their reproductive and sexual health, then with the largest rape crisis center in the city, and finally with a local domestic violence shelter – and completed yoga teacher training. I have no clue how I mustered the energy, but I continued to work full time while teaching trauma informed yoga at a residential treatment center for women and girls all day Saturdays and Sundays. In 2012 I went back to school and earned my graduate degree in Marriage and Family Therapy at Northwestern University, and worked until I gave birth to my daughter in July of 2015. I wasn’t sure how all my seemingly diverging interests would fit together when I founded Our Sacred Women in January of 2016. But it’s become increasingly clear that I’ve consistently been drawn to opportunities that allow me to help people, especially women, feel seen and valued.
What is your vision for Our Sacred Women?
I want Our Sacred Women to be THE destination for specialty gifts that embody a true sense of reverence for women. When people need a gift for a really special woman in their life, I want them to think of Our Sacred Women. When people want to honor a woman who is dear to them but aren’t sure how, I want them to think of Our Sacred Women. When women want to celebrate themselves, I want them to think of Our Sacred Women.
Can you identify a few obstacles you've faced in this endeavor?
There have been so many major obstacles that it’s hard to choose a few. In general, trying to create products without having any design or manufacturing background, and to do so in a way that is sustainable, has been one giant obstacle. I first conceived of the idea for our organic “women are sacred” statement tee in 2014 while I was finishing up graduate school. I had no clue where to start, what to Google, or who to ask for help. I worked on creating the shirt for a solid 6 months, up until the point where I had a few digitally printed samples made. Two things happened: I didn’t like how the shirts turned out, and I found out I was pregnant.
All of a sudden, I lost enthusiasm for the shirt and began to naturally shift all of my attention to my body and the health of my baby. It wasn’t until a year later that I revisited the idea and found that I was just as excited about it as when I first started working on it. From that point, it took me an additional 10 months to create the shirt that is now available on our website. Those 10 months include weeks spent sourcing sample blank shirts from companies across the country, numerous design edits, 3 print runs, and 2 major vendor changes. It’s such a simple shirt that you wouldn’t guess it represents over 2 years worth of labor. During this process, I experienced many moments of frustration and wondered if each problem was a sign that I should just stop. Instead I came to see each obstacle as a sign that I was meant to go in a different direction (like that Rascal Flatts’ song “Bless the Broken Road”). What inspired me to keep trying was a deep sense of duty to share the message “women are sacred” with the world. It’s hard to fully describe, but every time I thought about the shirt being worn and women seeing it, I honestly felt emotional. This strong sense of purpose was and continues to be my main source of motivation.
What are your favorite brands to support?
I’m minimalist at heart and my favorite color in clothing is black. I could wear black on black on black every day! But I’m actually at a point where I’m trying to redefine my personal style. I recently Marie Kondo’d my closet and dresser, and need to rebuild my wardrobe with pieces I love. I think my hesitancy to shop is due in part to wanting to save money and also to just not being sure how I want express myself with fashion. I went through some huge transitions in the past two years – becoming a mom, moving back to California, becoming an entrepreneur – and I’m still trying to figure out who I’m growing into and how to reflect that sartorially.
What are your favorite brands to support?
After becoming pregnant and later watching the documentary “The True Cost”, I completely shifted my consumer practices. I prefer brands that offer ethically produced goods made of sustainable, non-toxic materials. When it comes to clothing, I prefer organic materials, low impact or vegetable dyes, and those produced in the US or fair-trade certified if made abroad. Some of my favorite brands include Eileen Fisher, Groceries Apparel, PACT and Threads 4 Thought. We also dress our daughter primarily in organic clothing and some of our go-to brands are Colored Organics, Kira Kids, and Kate Quinn.
Has the decision to shop ethically influenced your daily life?
Yes, absolutely. It has made things harder in that I can’t just purchase items based on function alone. I’m constantly thinking about things like toxicity (is it organic?), production (were the workers paid living wage?), packaging (should I buy the value pack of garlic in the awful net-like packaging or the unpackaged, non-organic ones?). It’s gotten much easier as shopping ethically has become more and more integrated into our daily lifestyle.
What's been the most rewarding part of founding Our Sacred Women?
Hearing feedback from our customers and seeing our products out in the world via Instagram! I feel so fortunate to have received such heart-felt responses from people who purchased our products for themselves or others, and from those who have received them as gifts. They have shown me that OSW’s mission - to cultivate meaningful connections through specialty gifts that help women feel seen, valued, and honored – has been fulfilled many times over.
One customer shared with me that her “women are sacred” lapel pin has played a big role in her healing from being sexually assaulted. I was absolutely floored when I heard this. I couldn’t have dreamed that this little pin could have that kind of impact.
It’s truly an honor.
I also really enjoy hearing what kind of feedback customers get from people who see them wearing our shirt or pins! I’ve heard from 4 people now that when they wear their “women are sacred” t-shirts to the gym, they get people responding with encouraging words and gestures (like “hell yeah!” with a fist in the air!).
Where would you like to see the brand in 5 years?
Within the next 5 years, I’d like to see us expand our product line to include high-profile collaborations that reflect our values for ethical, sustainable production and reverence for women. I love bringing my design ideas to potential partners whose talents can help elevate the message. I think a brick and mortar shop/studio would also be a lovely addition - a place where people can see our products firsthand and also provide a space in-person consultations for more customized gifts.
Anything else you'd like to share?
Yes – a favorite quote and one that informs Our Sacred Women’s very essence:
"People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel"
- Maya Angelou