October 8, 2014
Voss Foundation is thrilled to introduce our 2014 Women Helping Women Co-Honoree, Kristy Caylor! Kristy is the Co-Founder, President, and Creative Director of Maiyet, a company pioneering a new luxury by creating a fashion brand that celebrates rare artisanal skills from unexpected places.
“Maiyet and Voss Foundation are deeply aligned in our commitment to women’s empowerment in developing regions,” Kristy explains.
Maiyet’s uniquely inspired, design-driven collection seeks to revive ancient techniques and elevate the next generation of master craftsmen in many developing countries. In addition to sourcing from these global artisans, Maiyet deploys customized training programs that allow its partners to create higher-quality, exceptional product and promote stability and prosperity in their communities. Since its first presentation to the world at Paris Fashion Week in October of 2011, Maiyet is regularly featured prominently in international publications of repute, including VOGUE, ELLE, L’Officiel, Harper’s Bazaar, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Telegraph, as a coveted fashion label and a leader in the movement towards conscious capitalism. Maiyet recently opened its first store at 16 Crosby Street in New York’s fabled Soho.
Maiyet is deeply committed to forging partnerships with artisans globally and has entered into a strategic partnership with Voss Foundation’s implementing partner, Nest, an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to training and developing artisan businesses to promote entrepreneurship, prosperity and dignity in places that need it most.
Since 2012, Voss Foundation and Nest have helped build seven wells and 285 latrines for artisans in Swaziland, funded by Women Helping Women luncheons, and have plans to expand to serve more of Nest (and Maiyet’s) artisans throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. In 2014, Voss Foundation’s partnership with Nest was featured in The Guardian.
Kristy elaborates, “Africa is important to Maiyet and we are inspired by the clean water, sanitation and hygiene programs supported by Voss Foundation’s Women Helping Women programs.”
Voss Foundation’s Executive Director Kara Gerson says, “Voss Foundation and Maiyet have been working in concert for years now to empower people in developing countries to improve their own lives. Thanks to our mutual cooperation with Nest, we have the opportunity to provide artisans and their communities with access to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene, which allows them to devote even more time to entrepreneurship, improving their skills and earning a greater income for their families. ”
Kristy began her fashion career at Gap, Inc. with Banana Republic in the US and Japan. Upon returning to the US and seeking opportunities to unite her fashion skills with a desire to ignite social change through business, Kristy took over Gap’s socially-conscious Accessories and Product (RED) divisions, which raises awareness and vital funds to prevent and fight the global AIDS epidemic. Kristy implemented a sourcing strategy through Africa and championed the project’s spirit and ethos both publicly and within the Gap organization.
Kristy has worked and consulted for global brands including Stronghold Denim, All Saints, Band of Outsiders and Mercado Global, a fair trade company based in Guatemala. As a design consultant for Mercado Global, Kristy worked directly with indigenous artisans. In July 2014, Kristy became a member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America.
Kara goes on to say, “The alliance of these three entities [Voss Foundation, Maiyet, and Nest] is the perfect example of the exponential potential of Voss Foundation’s Ripple Effect – and Kristy’s leadership, empowering women in international development, makes her the ideal recipient of our fifth Women Helping Women award!”