Emily Grace Moon | By Grace Designs
A Purposeful Conversation with Emily Grace Moon
September's Conquer for Good: Connect speaker Emily Grace Moon is the co-founder of By Grace Designs, a social fashion venture that partners with local women and organizations in Ghana and India to produce beautifully designed fashion pieces and accessories. Growing up in Ghana, Emily saw firsthand the struggles women face in extreme poverty. So she set out to build an organization that educates, employs, empowers and elevates women through fashion.
Before her talk at Conquer for Good: Connect, we sat down with her to discuss her personal purpose, the challenges and surprises that come with building a purpose-driven company and more. Scroll down to read our in-depth conversation with her, or watch her presentation at Conquer for Good: Connect below.
CFG: What difference do you hope to make in the world?
EGM: There's a quote I heard from the documentary "Daughters of Destiny," which profiles a boarding school that finances the education of children from the lowest caste in Indian society. The owner of the school says, "It's important for the children to return home over the holidays. They see how it is, and then they have the desire to change that. They realize that this is the purpose of their upbringing." I think that each one of us is positioned in a particular place at a particular time so that we can enact change within the certain sphere with which we are given. Growing up in Africa opened my eyes to a different type of world, and I hope that in some way with my life, I can help be a vessel to improve lives of others around me. This, really, is the purpose for my upbringing.
For anyone interested in pursuing a social purpose, what three pieces of advice would you give?
First - begin with the end in mind.
Second - passion initiates, faithfulness completes. You have to have elements of both in order to be successful as an entrepreneur. Passion and spark for what you are doing, and faithfulness to complete the task even when you don't feel like it.
Last - The only way to fail is to give up. Just keep moving forward, no matter what! Don't discount the progress that you have made. Comparison is the thief of joy, and it's easy to look at someone else and get discouraged. If you stay in your lane and are faithful with what you are given, that's success.
What's been the biggest challenge in building your organization?
Finding the time to manage everything. Kelsey and I work full-time jobs, and it's a full plate. More so this year, I've started to learn when I need to say "no" to opportunities (even good ones).
What have been the most pleasant surprises
Probably winning the Regnier Venture Challenge haha! I certainly did not expect that when we applied, to be very honest. But that moment is one I'll never forget. It was one of the most incredible days ever.
What is your personal purpose?
Honor God, love people and live for something bigger than myself.
What are three ways people could help with your organization?
1 - Shop our products!
2- Tell others about us.
3 – Donate to our 501(c)(3).
Who as been inspirational in the work that you do?
There are so many people in social entrepreneurship that inspire me! No one's story is the same. I guess more than anyone, my parents are the ones that have inspired me the most. They showed me what it looked like to love people, and to give your life for a cause.
Have there been any partnerships that have helped you get where you are today?
Yes - absolutely! Our partnerships in India have been invaluable. It wouldn't have been possible for us to start from the ground up in a second location, so working with Daughters of Hope and Lions in Four has made all of our efforts in India viable.
In 100 years, when people talk about your organization's work, what do you want them to say?
That we've been able to provide for the education of hundreds of girls! And that those girls were able to follow their dreams (and kick poverty in the face).
What does the term "Conquer for Good" mean in your life?
"To conquer means that you are defeating something – whether that's poverty, injustice or prejudice. What motivates me is that little by little, person by person, we make a small change and a small impact. It may not look like “Braveheart” or “300,” but poverty is also a battleground and every time we're able to offer a woman a job or pay for a girl's training, good wins and poverty is defeated.
There's a verse that I love (Romans 8:37) that says , “We are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Conquerors are victorious – but when it says we are “more than conquerors” – that means that we have overwhelming victory.
Is there anything else you would like to share about your journey?
One of our women's favorite proverbs is "Small drops of water make a mighty ocean." This speaks to the heart of By Grace - as we make small changes and small impacts, we are a part of a movement that is so much bigger.