GLENDALE—Sosé and Allen’s Legacy Foundation (SA) has launched the second season of its WithLove.am online store selling handcrafted items from artisans in Armenia. The store is the latest iteration of the Foundation’s ongoing commitment to “continue Sosé [Thomassian] & Allen [Yekikian]’s vision by establishing programs and supporting existing programs aimed at bridging the gap between Armenia and its Diaspora, through an emphasis on education, repatriation, and volunteerism within the homeland.”
Conceptually, WithLove.am stands out from typical Armenia-focused retail efforts because it is selling a limited edition of 200 leather pouches that contain a curated selection of 4 products that were all hand-crafted sustainably in Armenia. For $100.00 (including free priority shipping within the United States), customers get the entire package and can “keep all 5 items to themselves, or spread the love and gift them to the people who inspire them most,” according to the website. This format builds on the success of WithLove.am’s sold-out inaugural 2015 run of 200 laser-engraved boxes containing honey, a leather bracelet, a brass ring, a bowtie, and goat’s milk soap (all made by hand). WithLove.am is the core of a potentially larger, recurring business practice that would benefit the SA Foundation’s nonprofit projects in Armenia.
The items–including the leather pouches–were created in partnership with 5 existing brands in Armenia, most of whom are based in Yerevan: sterling silver pendants that depict a map of Armenia with the capitals Yerevan and Stepanakert (of Artsakh) stamped with hearts by Seeds of Wind, all-natural body and hand lotion made with essential oils by Nairian, herbal tea blends harvested in the mountainous Tavush region of Armenia by Darman Tea, hand-made paper from the flowers gathered at the Armenian Genocide Memorial Complex by the Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets (FPWC), and sewn-by-hand leather pouches by Al Kashi. Withlove.am is committed to promoting these names throughout the selling period ending on January 7th, 2017 in an effort to shine a light on and bring new clientele to “5 ridiculously talented home-grown brands committed to doing business in/from Armenia, for Armenia, and with Armenian materials,” according to the website.
Since its inception in 2013, the SA Foundation has renovated the Proshyan youth center, commissioned, Kickstarted and helped publish a 3-volume English translation of Malkhas’ revolutionary Awakening (‘Zartonk’), planted a memorial forest with the Armenia Tree Project, sponsored the ‘Luys I Luso Installation & Live Performance’ which introduced Armenian music, history, and cinematic art through an immersive experience to the neighborhood of Little Armenia in Los Angeles as community outreach and integrative efforts, executive produced the production of Traversed, a 25-minute experimental documentary–all in Armenia.
“WithLove.am is our way of bringing you treasure that speaks volumes from one of the oldest, yet only just burgeoning corners of the world: Armenia. Maybe you’ve been there already–or maybe you’ve never even heard of it. Trust us, it’s an ancient beauty–and its people’s hands are weathered and wise,” says the website’s mission statement.
For more information about WithLove.am, contact the team behind it at [email protected] or by visiting the website: withlove.am.