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unlocked - the jewelry brand empowering homeless women and words of wisdom from the founder

Meet Unlocked, the jewelry brand giving opportunities to women transitioning out of homelessness. We are partnering with them this Valentine's day to giveaway $200 in merchandise! Check out our Instagram for details.

Meet the incredible women who started this brand Alexis...

Unlocked is an ethical jewelry brand that employs and empowers women transitioning out of homelessness, using 100% recycled sterling silver to create gorgeous designs.

What am I most proud of? Honestly, there isn't a certain moment or accomplishment that comes to mind. It's more the relationships that I've been able to build and the ways that those have transformed both parties. More concisely, I guess I could say I'm proud of my willingness to let relationships transform me. I think of walking around downtown Nashville befriending people experiencing homelessness a few years ago and what a tremendous difference that has made in the way I see the world and the way I think about my career. I think of one of our very first Makers, Gwen, who came to Unlocked wanting to get back into childcare and is now a Pre-K teacher with a home and a car of her own. I think of Ray, who I met while volunteering and who became my "adopted grandpa," eventually becoming the primary investor in Unlocked despite not even owning a mattress. I'm proud to consider myself a close friend to so many incredible people.

Hardest challenge? My hardest challenge was certainly recovering from Lyme Disease. I was diagnosed in the summer of 2016 and had to take a medical leave of absence from Vanderbilt. For months, I was debilitatingly ill. I had trouble walking and even sitting up, I was nauseous, and everything hurt. Still, that time of healing was when I began wandering around downtown Nashville, meeting people experiencing homelessness. I was able to take the time to think deeply about what mattered to me, and it eventually ended in co-founding Unlocked with my friend, Corbin Hooker. I now look back at that time as one of the most intense periods of growth in my life, and I wouldn't take back it back for anything.

What does hope mean to you? I've had the distinct honor to work with some of the most hopeful and inspiring people I can imagine, and it seems that what they do so well is balance perseverance with contentment. To be clear, they aren't necessarily content with the way things currently are, but they're content knowing that the work is being done and that they are a part of that progress.

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