Priscilla Schleigh, Vashon Island, WA, USA
My love for design and handmade things was formed at an early age by both a mother and grandmother who sewed all my dresses. My first shoes were hand-beaded, moose-hide moccasins from Alaska. My SPU degree was in clothing and textiles. In 12 years with Nordstrom, I volunteered with Ten Thousand Villages and traveled to Pakistan to visit with a variety of artisan groups.
In time, I knew that I could in my own way help break the cycle of economic disparity that plagues developing nations. And so I opened GIRAFFE, a Fair Trade global gallery on Vashon Island which offers goods from 175 artisan groups in 65 countries. The beautiful things they make from reclaimed resources not only help the environment but help the artisans earn a sustainable wage.
I call it weaving together beauty and justice.
— Priscilla Schleigh '83, GIRAFFE founder