Life happened all at once for local Erika Lausch: She got married, quit her job and launched her own business, all in the span of the past six months.
While Lausch had a stable job at a financial consulting company for three years, she said her heart was somewhere else.
“I decided I wanted more than that,” Lausch said.
And so Fruits of Grace was born.
Fruits of Grace is Lausch’s company and retail store that sells certified fair-trade and handmade items made from men and women in the U.S. and around the world.
Lausch shares a business space with her father’s flooring company, MS Floors, at 160 Harrison Road unit 5 in Sequim, and her storefront is open from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.
She also has an online store available to customers 24/7.
Lausch is running her company and working part-time for her father’s company at the same time.
With Fruits of Grace, Lausch hopes to create ethical, sustainable jobs for men and women around the world to raise awareness and support for persecuted Christians, sex-trafficking victims, those in extreme poverty and prevent orphans.
Lausch launched her company about two months ago after working with Trades of Hope in 2016 — a direct-sales business that partners with countries around the world by empowering women artisans through sustainable and fair-trade business.
Trades of Hope supports women from a variety of backgrounds, from those rescued from sex slavery to war-torn countries to single mothers raising handicapped children. The business markets these women’s handmade, fair-trade products through the home party model.
“I became very passionate about it,” Lausch said.
She took this concept and created her own business that also could support ethical, healthy and stable jobs for working men and women both in the U.S. and internationally.Lausch buys certified fair-trade and handmade items from Guatemala, Romania, Asia, Kenya, Haiti and the U.S., so far.
She said she also is looking into buying items such as handmade pottery and jewelry from women in Clallam County.
Her storefront and online shop sell items such as jewelry, bags, home decor, baby shoes, men’s ties and bow-ties, candles and more to support ethical working conditions around the world.
Lausch researches each company she buys inventory from — to ensure they are fair-trade and ethical — and also donates 10 percent of her business proceeds to a different organization each month that either rescues, rehabilitates and/or creates safe working environments for men and women.
For the month of November, Lausch said she chose to donate her proceeds to Not Abandoned, an organization that provides support for victims of sex trafficking and the sex trade.
“Women in different countries can’t get real jobs because they are at home,” Lausch said.
She said in Haiti — one of the countries she buys handmade mugs from — many children are given to orphanages because either one or both parents don’t make enough to support their children.
“Eighty percent of kids in Haiti have a family that can’t provide for them,” Lausch said.
Many of the companies she partners with, she said, provides jobs for men and women so they are able to have a stable income in safe and unexploited working conditions.
“I owe it all to God who’s given me a heart to take care of women and children,” Lausch said.
“When we give others grace they are able to flourish.”
Lausch said while this is just the start for her business she hopes to open up her own storefront and include more items, such as clothing to support more fair-trade jobs. She also plans to host events and fundraisers.
She wants her customers to know that her store isn’t just for women and children, and also wants to include more men’s items in the future.