Francesca Kennedy: Must-have Shoes That Support Charity

September 29 - On The Dot

There are some stories that just stick with you. Some may be tragic, while others are joyful. They make you feel some strong emotion, whether it’s fear or pain or contentment or jubilation.

These are the sentiments that make us utterly human. Don’t dismiss your emotions—whatever they may be—and don’t question yourself if you don’t feel the same way as everyone else. Today, accept your reactions to what you see and read and hear. Open up and let yourself feel.

WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 80 Cents of Every Dollar

Ladies, here’s a statistic that probably won’t surprise you: According to Half the Sky Movement, a crusade to crush women’s oppression worldwide, for every dollar a woman earns, she invests 80 cents in her family, money that mostly pays for medicine, housing and healthy food. Men typically invest 30 cents in their family for every dollar they earn.

This is really powerful because it means by investing in women, poverty can be decreased through the generations, more money can be spent on making sure families are healthy and more positive long-term effects arise as women contribute back to their own communities.

WOMAN TO WATCH: Francesca Kennedy, CEO and Founder of Ix Style

Emboldened by a desire to better the beloved Central American community of her family’s origin, Francesca Kennedy felt called to act. So, she launched a really cool socially conscious fashion company called Ix Style that donates a ton of money to communities in Guatemala.

It all started in 2010, when Francesca took a trip to Guatemala’s Lake Atitlan, the storied lake where her grandfather had lived and her family visited often. The lake remains a key source of drinking, cooking and cleaning water for the local community. But by then, the lake had become overrun with blue-green algae, resulting in contaminated water—a disaster so terrible, it could be seen from space.

Through Ix Style, Francesca is on a mission to provide Guatemalan communities with fresh water and indigenous women with more opportunities to learn, make money and support their families. Ix Style, a name derived from the Mayan word for “water,” employs more than 1,000 female artisans who create traditional Mayan huarache sandals, handbags and jewelry, and the company donates 15 percent of its profits to an organization that works to reduce extreme poverty and malnutrition throughout Guatemala.

Though Francesca’s dream took time, (It took about a year for her to gain the artisans’ trust.), the women she employs are now able to pay for their children’s school, put dinner on the table and more, all by weaving and assembling these traditional sandals.

Pretty cool concept, huh? It doesn’t hurt that the Ix Style sandals are so stinkin’ cute, and are available in a variety of colored leather and contemporary styles. And the reversible Mayan handbags and jewelry, all made by the local artisans as well, are already on my birthday wish list!

The world is taking notice too. Ix Style’s products are currently available at J.Crew, Anthropologie, Gap and other retailers, and also from the company’s website. A few celebrities are big fans of the sandals, including actresses Amanda Seyfried and Gwyneth Paltrow, as well as fashion designer Rachel Roy.

Thanks, Francesca, for making us look a whole lot cuter while supporting the best of causes!


Francesca Kennedy’s favorite quote is by writer Mark Twain, who said:

“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”

This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice.

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