We had the good fortune of connecting with Adisyn Pyles and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Adisyn, how did you come up with the idea for your business?
Freeleaf is the combining of my passions for women’s rights, collective freedom, and finding beauty amidst chaos. In 2016, my co-founder, Jiayi, and I started Freeleaf after having met several survivors of trafficking who were desperate to get free but remained trapped in cycles of poverty and exploitation due to economic need and a lack of viable opportunities. By starting a social enterprise, we were able to provide full-time employment with fair wages and safe working conditions to these survivors. We also provide vocational training like literacy and computer courses as well as holistic care like counseling and medical care. We decided to use the ancient Chinese art form of knotting and adapt it to modern applications in order to create a world where women are {k}not for sale. It has been a messy journey learning to start and run a business– everything from product development, building a website, marketing, and customer relations has been a learning curve for us! Ultimately though, we love creating beauty alongside these resilient and incredible survivors and we are committed to becoming profitable and scaling the business to employ more survivors!

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Our team of strong women create handmade home accents, jewelry, and accessories items, all of which incorporate some kind of knot into the design. This is intentional, to reiterate our mission to create a world where women are {k}not for sale.

Freeleaf was created to provide employment to at-risk, abused, and exploited women. This means we work with women from a large variety of backgrounds—homeless women, women with mental or physical disabilities, women who have been in the sex industry, domestic abuse survivors, women with low education, trafficking survivors, single moms, sexual assault survivors, etc. Because we know that poverty is such a huge risk factor for trafficking and abuse, we set out to create a company that could provide stability and sustainability for otherwise vulnerable women.

However, we don’t only want to provide employment to women. We want to see women experience holistic freedom—physically, economically, relationally, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. Our holistic care programs are designed to address the non-economic struggles that our employees often face. To do this, we provide each woman with safe shelter, medical care, professional counseling, coaching/mentorship, vocational training, and constant encouragement. Ultimately, this holistic viewpoint is designed to help women grow to understand their intrinsic value and give them the tools and confidence to stand firm and achieve their dreams—whether they stay at Freeleaf or move on to somewhere/something else.

Living abroad, starting a social enterprise, being a working mom, and walking alongside women who have experienced severe trauma has been anything but a smooth road.

It’s hard to even know where to start in naming the struggles! Everything from designing products, figuring out international shipping, trying to make sales, learning to manage staff, keeping up with our finances, and balancing work/home life while building a start-up has been challenging. It’s been a wild adventure of many struggles and tears, and also incredible beauty and joy. Ultimately, I’m just thankful to be along for the ride.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I actually don’t live in Dallas.

As an Austinite, my favorite places to go are Loro, Uptown Cheapskate, and the splash pad in Buda where my kids love to play!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Everything that Freeleaf has been able to accomplish is in credit to the amazing survivors that work with us. They handmade each of our beautiful products and they have taught me so much about resilience and perseverance towards accomplishing your dreams.

Website: www.freeleafltd.com

Instagram: freeleafltd

Image Credits
Jess Winni

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