As our lead seamstress, Deng Fen's fingers are behind every stitch. A native of Sichuan province, Deng Fen moved with her husband and 2 sons to the nation's capital in 1992. From a farming family, Deng's family moved because their work as farmers couldn't support their entire family. A seamstress for over 20 years, Deng Fen learned to sew when she was 17 years old. Though she wasn't able to attend school, Deng works hard to help her husband support their family. Their 20-year-old son is now working, and their 9-year-old son is in third grade. Deng's husband is a driver and has a small home business making glue. Deng Fen enjoys picking fruit and spending time enjoying the fresh air in the mountains, though she says she hasn't had the chance to do that since she left Sichuan.
Dou Xuefen carefully folds and packages every Scarlet Threads product. Dou has lived her whole life in the same small village just outside of Beijing, where she and her husband have a modest home. They began their lives working side by side on a small farm growing wheat and corn. In 2006, their worlds changed when Dou’s husband was diagnosed with heart disease. Surgery saved his life but left his heart weakened to a point that he was unable to work. As the sole provider for her family, Dou now works part time for Scarlet Threads as well as doing housekeeping for local families. They have a son who is 17 and an excellent student. He dreams of going to college one day, and his parents want to provide every opportunity for him to achieve his dreams. Dou loves keeping a clean house for her family and sings and exercises whenever she can.
Lian Ying has been sewing since she was a young girl. A mother of two and a proud grandma to a beautiful 1-year-old grandson, she's lived in our village her whole life. Lian Ying first learned to make traditional Tiger hats from a friend in the village. The same friend, who is now in her 80s, helped make the hats for Scarlet Threads. Joined by 2 other women, Lian Ying and her friend carefully preserve an old Beijing-area tradition with each stitch.
Elva, Ganlu, and Nancy
Without the help of these three lovely ladies, Scarlet Threads would have never been more than a dream. Each of these women helped us as volunteer translators every step of the way... from negotiating the price of fabric, to designing and printing our tags, to helping clarify our orders with our seamstress. Elva is from Zhejiang province, Ganlu is from Sichuan province, and Nancy is from Inner Mongolia. Elva and Ganlu both work at the foster home, and Nancy is a pre-K teacher in a nearby city. They are beautiful women, inside and out, and critical parts of the Scarlet Threads team.
Co-founder of Scarlet Threads with her husband Jacob, Carrie lived in rural China from 2007-2011. Long-time believers in the positive impact economic development and fair trade can make on impoverished communities, Jacob and Carrie launched Scarlet Threads in 2009. Though part of her heart will always be in China, after moving back to the USA in 2011 Carrie transitioned into full-time mamahood and spends her days chasing "Hurricane Cora." Carrie reserves nap-time and it's-so-late-I-should-be-sleeping-too-time for Scarlet Threads. (And, if we're being honest, the occasional craft project, good books, and episodes of Modern Family.)
Our marketing and social media maven, Eileen fell in love with Scarlet Threads on a recent trip to China. She left China with a suitcase full of aprons and a passion to help Scarlet Threads products find homes. When she's not working at her day job, she loves playing the piano, reading, cooking, and swimming. A native of Philadelphia, Eileen now lives in Houston where she and Jacob's youngest brother are enjoying life as newlyweds!
Scarlet Thread’s thread-hunter, Hannah Samuels, has lived in China since 2009. She moved to the beautifully rural and rapidly growing village of Qingyundian with her family, and loves it so much that she’s pursuing her undergraduate degree online so that she can continue to live and serve in-country. Hannah’s passion is to love dangerously and she has a continuously broken heart for the helpless and the fatherless. When she’s not loving on the babies in the foster home where she works, chronicling her family’s adventures on her blog or studying, you will probably find her baking. Either that, or hunting down the perfect fabric combinations for Scarlet Thread’s next apron.
After living in several countries around the world because of her husband's employment and seeing first-hand many different ways of life, Latisha developed a burden for impoverished communities and a conviction that economic development could turn poverty to hope. Now living in Houston, Latisha spends her days chasing her busy toddler Gabriella, but she also has her hands full with her and Seth's first "child," Zoe, a lovable Boxer. Latisha has joined the Scarlet Threads team as our client relations coordinator to help build relationships with possible retail outlets, both online and store-front.