This is going to be one of my favorite posts. The whole purpose of DigiDame was to give people over 50 new ideas on how to reinvent themselves. Just because we are finished with one career, doesn’t mean we can’t find real purpose in another.
Enter Sarah Oliver of Sarah Oliver Handbags, an American accessories company in Northern California. All of her exquisite handbags are hand knitted by seniors, a.k.a. The Purlettes +1. Her mission was “to re-engage seniors in the American economy and empower them with a new found sense of purpose and passion.”
I first learned about Sarah and The Purlettes on a recent episode of Shark Tank. Sarah was asking for a $50,000 investment from one of Sharks because her business has been growing faster than she ever anticipated. She needs to buy yarn and other supplies in greater quantity so she can keep up with orders. She also has to keep The Purlettes busy.
Images from Sarah Oliver Handbags
Sarah came up with the idea of employing seniors because, as a young girl she used to knit with her mother and grandmother. She asked seniors at The Redwoods Senior Retirement Community, in Northern California, if they would be interested in working with her. The response was an overwhelmingly “yes” and thrilling.
If you want to get chills and teary-eyed, watch the video to hear the seniors comment about their new found profession.
The Purlettes hand knit every one of the bags, even 98 year-old Kay. The seniors average three handbags a week. Some say they have never been happier in their lives.
Both Marc Cuban and Lori Greiner of Shark Tank ponied up the money and now Sarah has the benefit of consulting with two major business people. Keep knitting away please.