As Founder of JOYN, I often think through the culture I desire to establish for this organization. I’ve been especially contemplative during this season of Thanksgiving….
Last summer, my family and I were packing our bags, getting ready to leave our home in India for a short business trip to London and the US. We packed four backpacks, one for each of us, and two little carry-ons for our trip. We had heard reports of the Nationalist Administration deporting Westerner’s from India, but with growing businesses and long-term valid visas, we felt confident we would be safe. We were wrong. As we were exiting immigration in Delhi, getting ready to board our plane, we were notified we would not be able to return to India.
It was devastating.
We had just been ripped away from our home, our community, our businesses, and our dreams. For over 5 years, we risked it all - we were all in, holding nothing back and now, we may never be able to return. And what was worse, if we were honest with ourselves, we weren’t sure the work could continue on without us. But we were wrong again. Thankfully, we were dead wrong. Our leaders rose up and began to make the big decisions they would normally defer to us. They linked arms and carried out the vision. They proved they didn’t need us there, by their side - in fact, they seem to have needed us to leave so they could keep growing without us.
It’s been a difficult season. But our friends continue to do beautiful work, our businesses continue to grow, and our community keeps pressing on. We are so proud of their work and more importantly, we’re so proud that they love each other well and that they search for truth together. More than being great artisans, they are our closest friends, and we hope to be able to get back to them someday soon.
Thanksgiving is upon us now and sometimes gratitude requires intentionality and effort. This is a time for appreciation in our hearts for all we’ve been given—even when it feels like we’ve lost something deep.
This year JOYN won’t be celebrating Black Friday or Cyber Monday alongside the majority of the fashion industry. We are so thankful for our customers and our growing sales, but we won’t ask you to use this holiday as a time to buy more. We want this time to be about giving instead of getting. Most brands out there are driving us to believe we don’t have enough and it’s just not true. In fact, we might even have too much.
This holiday season we encourage you to think intentionally about how and what you spend your money on. Be conscious of what you’re consuming and know how it’s made. Use this time to consider the harmful effects of over-consumption on our world and its beautiful people, especially the marginalized. Practice intentional thankfulness and consider how your gift-giving this season will affect those with less.
If you’re with us, take a break from Black Friday and spend some time extending your season of gratitude. Set aside some time to reflect. Think of ways to give of your time, talents, and resources to others with less. We’d love to hear your stories or thoughts, share them with us on Facebook or Instagram by using #JOYNinthanks and tagging us @joynindia.
P.S. My precious family and I leave the country this Friday for a MONTH long trip to visit six countries in Southeast Asia - exploring where to expand the JOYN story. Follow us @joynindia to hear about our adventures along the way.