The Lily Claire Story

Lily Claire is 100% a Godthing.

Lily Claire Bags

It started with a bag that I loved and carried for over a decade. A bag that became my go to bag for every day and for travel. A bag that was so functional and lightweight and classic that I carried it in every season and for every reason. A bag that traveled with me for business and for pleasure, in the U.S. and internationally. A bag that my male colleagues were so fond of they named it the “carpet bag”. I loved my carpet bag and so did everyone else. People stopped me on the street to ask about it. They stopped me in malls, in foreign countries, at the hairdresser, at the coffee shop, on airplanes—EVERYWHERE.

The bag had a special appeal. Women loved it. Men noticed it. And I hated to change out of it for any reason. But that was all it was, just a funny little thing that happened when I carried my go-to handbag. Until one day, at the least likely time in the most mundane of places, someone said for the bazillionth time “I love that bag! Where did you get it?” And this time the Godthing happened.

On that day, while I sat in the chair of my hairdresser, the voice inside that prompts me now and then, the one that I know is not my voice but the guidance of the Holy Spirit said, “Make that bag Lisa”. To which I said with great faith and enthusiasm, “Uh….no God! I know nothing about making bags. I can’t sew a stich. I know nothing about manufacturing. I know nothing about marketing. I am not a designer. I have a business already God! I’m busy. And by the way…..I’m in the middle of a divorce so this is REALLY not a good time. Can you check back with me later?”

And that was my final answer, until it wasn’t. God was patient and oh so persistent with His leading. He gently, firmly and sometimes hilariously nudged me down this road. He showed me that though I didn’t know how to do this, He did. And though I didn’t need a new thing to do He had a new thing He wanted done. And in doing it He would give me my heart’s desire to help people, to involve my 16 and 19 year old daughters in work that matters for Him and for others and He would make it all a great adventure. Lily Claire Bags was born.

From the start it was always to be a business that wanted to make money only to give it away. God was clear that the reason for Lily Claire was to give away 100% of its profits to wherever He directed.

Lily Cliare Bag

Initially God led my heart to support a mission in India that I had be introduced to on a mission trip. A ministry that teaches sewing skills to young women who have been married at very young ages and either abandoned or abused by the families of their “husbands”. When I met these women I expected just that, women. But instead I met girls of 14-18 years old who had already been married and abused or abandoned. They had already suffered more than I could imagine in their short lives and many believed that their lives had little or no value. The simple sew school that functioned on a budget of less than $10,000 a year taught these girls not only a skill by which they could hope to support themselves but also that they were priceless treasures to Jesus Christ. It is such a small cost to give hope and share Christ’s love with those beautiful child women.

Since then God led Lily, Claire and I (just in case you are wondering about the origin of the company name my girls are named Lily and Claire) to another wonderful ministry that has stolen our hearts, Emily’s Place in Plano Texas. Emily’s Place is a faith based “transformational” housing ministry that provides a unique 24 month continuum of care, counseling, housing and life skill training for women and children who are victims of domestic violence.

It is not a shelter that allows women to stay 30-90 days but a transformational housing ministry that provides women and children a home for up to 2 years to allow them to grow and heal and find their way to a new life. Lily, Claire and I fell in love with the women and children of Emily’s Place so much so that Claire has started a mentoring and tutoring program for the children of Emily’s Place and Lily Claire will support the ministry with the profits of this season’s bag sales.

Where the profits from these bags go will change over time but they will always go. They will always be used to help and to care for others. Lily Claire just launched its website to allow on line sales and we have a few retail stores carrying our product. It is all very new, we are small and there is much work to do. But everyone who sees these bags loves them. They are beautiful and functional and great fun to carry. But they are more than just a bag there is a little magic in each one.

People continue to stop us on the street and ask about the bags and we hear from our customers that the same thing happens to them. There is really no explaining it—it’s a Godthing. When you buy Lily Claire you are a part of that Godthing. We don’t know where God will lead us next but we are enjoying the great adventure.

Lisa Sooter