When Michelle emailed me about being the photographer for Imagine Goods’ new Fall product line photoshoot, it was the quickest “yes” I’ve made! I had actually been crossing my fingers the last couple months that she would ask me sometime to help them out. I love their products, and the message behind their company is so empowering that I want to write up a bit of a longer post to introduce this incredible business to you and their morals behind each product.
Michelle and Aiyana have had a love for traveling the world and knew they wanted to find some way to combine it into something that had an impact on peoples’ lives. At first they harnessed this love by starting up a non-profit that worked closely with the needs of the people in Cambodia. Through the non-profit, Michelle and Aiyana would raise money to provide people in Cambodia the supplies needed to build clean water wells, sanitation projects, or any other projects needed for the group they were working with. By giving the people the opportunity to work, they were not only giving them a better way of living but also providing them hope! As they continued to finish project after project, it became clear to these two ladies that the most empowering thing to these people was the opportunity to have a job!
So this became the pivotal point that Imagine Goods shifted from a non-profit to a business.
Since they were already involved in the country of Cambodia, the two women came up with a way to not only empower the people of Cambodia, but more specifically, empower survivors of trafficking. By giving them a secure and safe job, women are provided with the ability to earn a living wage which takes away the necessity to do anything to make ends meet. Michelle and Aiyanna travel to Cambodia two or three times a year to not only pick out the fabric for the next line of products but also take the time to really get to know the people who sell the fabrics and make the products. People matter to these ladies way more than the bottom line! So they do everything they can to keep the money “in the country” and create meaningful connections with everyone that helps make this business possible.
Each product is carefully designed to what Michelle and Aiyana would want to buy or wish they could find in an ethically sourced way. The products range from wristlets and shirts to tablecloths, napkins, and everything in between. The patterns and colors in the fabric bring the culture of Cambodia to life while still providing a bit of a vintage-inspired style in each product.
My favorite part of each product is one of the smallest pieces, but one with the most impact! Each product has a symbol. This symbol represents the artisan that made the good you purchased. Each artisan had the opportunity to pick a symbol that best represented them and also tell their story in their own words so that you have the chance to go to the Imagine Goods website and learn a bit more about the human behind the product you hold! This to me just shows how much Aiyana and Michelle care about each of their employees and the stories that got them to where they are!
This story is the reason that my answer to photographing their product shoot was a no-brainer! Working with these two was nothing shy of an amazing experience. Each product was carefully staged by their stylist Katie Hostetter and ready for me to move quickly through each piece to capture the products in everyday situation! Each set up was so different from the other, yet they all shared a common style that brighten the room they were in. The models were so amazing to work with, and it was so fun to take all the things I use in a typical engagement or family shoot and tweak it to emphasize the product instead of the person! This collaboration was so special to me and knowing each product has such a special story behind it makes this shoot one of the top ones in my books! Thank you, Michelle and Aiyana, for the incredible opportunity and for what you do for the people in Cambodia!
XOXO ~ Heather Marie
Once you finish checking out the photos, please click on the link below and check all the other products on the Imagine Goods website