Colley Avenue’s newest tenant, Maison Soleil, is a fair-trade fashion boutique offering unique and vibrant pieces while benefitting the women that made them. These handmade products range from clothing and jewelry to coffee and home décor.
Maison Soleil’s Mission to Support Women
Maison Soleil focuses on providing high-quality products to customers while supporting women from all over the world to achieve sustainable and equitable trade conditions. By supporting ethical and sustainable fashion through fair trade, the women making these products can have better working conditions while also receiving a source of income for a better life. In the countries these products are coming from, women are often seen as second-class citizens, making it difficult for them to get a job or live independently. For example, in countries like Uganda, where war is prevalent, the husbands often don’t return home, leaving women without a source of income or means to live. They’re unable to get jobs, raise money to go to college, and are ultimately cast aside from society.
Changing the Narrative
When perusing the store, shoppers will experience a clean and minimalist feel from the décor, allowing the products to tell the story. There are messages of positivity and empowerment highlighted throughout the products, reminding customers of the people they’re supporting with every purchase made. By shopping at Maison Soleil, each purchase will directly benefit these women and help them start a new life, all while spreading messages of women’s empowerment. A win-win!
The Story of Maison Soleil
Lindsay Sims, the owner of Maison Soleil, came up with the idea of owning a business while working for another fair trade jewelry and ethical fashion company when she was living in Washington, DC. It was indeed eye-opening to learn how fashion and other fair trade goods could provide women living in terrible conditions with jobs and opportunities. Lindsay decided to open her own business, where she could select the products and artisans she truly loves. In the beginning years, products could only be purchased online or at pop-up events.
Lindsay, her husband, and their dog Gigi eventually made their way to Hampton Roads. Lindsay decided this was the perfect time to take her dream of business ownership further by opening a storefront where she could truly create a space of community and also host events.
The store’s name, Maison Soleil, incorporates Lindsay’s middle name, Soleil, French for ‘sun,’ and Maison, which translates to ‘house.’ “I wanted the name to include Maison because we’re a house of fashion, but I wanted it to be a place for everyone. My middle name, Soleil, comes from the song ‘Nous Somme du Soleil,’ which means ‘we are from the sun, or we are all from the same place.'” Maison Soleil was born with the dream of creating a place for the community.
Stop by the store to hear more from Lindsay about her passion for supporting women through fair trade, and if you’re lucky, you may get a glimpse of Gigi, a frequent furry visitor.
Tiffany grew up in Chesapeake but has called Norfolk home for the past seven years. She fell in love with the city while working with Festevents during college summer breaks. She graduated from James Madison University (Go Dukes!) with a degree in corporate communication. Tiffany now works as a digital marketing specialist and enjoys strolling and rollerblading her way around Norfolk. She lives in Ghent with her husband Trevor, and their two cats, Tux and Joe.