Name: Marissa Perry Saints
Occupation: Founder of Dsenyo, Entrepreneur, Mother
Twitter Handle: @dsenyo
Facebook Page: facebook.com/dsenyo
What are three words that best describe you? Creative, Determined, Thoughtful
Could you describe your business? Dsenyo (dee-SEN-yo) celebrates beauty and empowerment. Our line of fair trade goods includes jewelry, handbags, ethical fashion, baby/toddler apparel and gifts. Each fair trade product is handcrafted by women and artisans in Africa and Brazil working to build a better life and inspire social change in their communities.
What is your role, where are you based and what do you inspires you most about your work?
Was there anything in your past that pointed you in the direction you’ve taken? I was inspired to start Dsenyo after living in Malawi, Africa. I was both inspired by the strength of the women I met and frustrated by how few jobs and economic opportunities there were for them. The women we work with are often widows because of the AIDS epidemic and care for many children including their own plus other dependents.
What experience in your career are you most proud of? I’m really proud of our partnership with Mulberry Mongoose and how we are able to help create jobs for women and artisans while also donating to anti-poaching efforts.
What advice would you share with those still in school? Travel, travel, travel as much as you can! If you have the opportunity to study abroad in college and live with a local family, do it. These are some of the most rewarding, and challenging experiences you will have and they enrich your life in ways you can’t imagine. As our world is more and more connected, we need young leaders that can cross cultural divides and have a broad perspective on the world.
Why is giving back is important to you? How has giving back helped you? Most of all it gives me a sense of fulfillment about my life. In addition, I learn so much from the people we partner with giving me a balance perspective on life that I cherish and wouldn’t have otherwise.
How do you incorporate giving back into your life? Through my business.
Which charities are near and dear to you and why? SLCS and ZCP Dsenyo’s partner anti-poaching charities. PR and our local public radio stations, because of the quality, balanced reporting they provide.
When it comes to your own philanthropic efforts, what do you look back and feel made the largest impact on those that you set out to help? The fact that we teach our partners that Dsenyo is their customer and other business skills we teach them so they can succeed beyond Dsenyo orders.
What is the most creative fundraising idea you’ve come across? In April, I completed a successful Kickstarter campaign for Dsenyo which raised $26,583 – surpassing our initial goal of $20K. The funds are being used for production of our expanded snare wire jewelry collection designed by a contest winner and student, Hayley Stewart and made with actual confiscated snare wire from anti-poaching patrols in Zambia. With the sale of each piece, $5 will go back to the non-profit organizations who are leading the fight against poaching in Africa: SLCS and ZCP.
What brands do you wear most often? My favorite fair trade brand for women’s clothing is Mata Traders. Otherwise I shop at consignment and thrift stores.
What is your favorite beauty product? Zambeezi Lip Balm
How would you describe your home décor? Arts & Craft/Rustic Safari
What is your secret for hosting a great party? Introduce people to each other to help get conversations going
Favorite food: It’s a tie between Mexican and Indian
Favorite cocktail: Greyhound
Favorite restaurant: Right now it’s Pizzeria Da Lupo in Boulder, CO
Favorite vacation spot: Hawaii
Do you have any tips for parents? The book “Baby Wise”, tone is a bit arrogant, but the method works!
Favorite TV show: Right now it’s “Call the Midwife”…probably since I just had a baby!
Favorite movie: Monsoon Wedding
Favorite song: Luna Llena (Elvis Crespo)
Favorite book: Casa de los Espiritus por Isabel Allende
Favorite apps: Endless Alphabet (for toddlers)
iPhone or Android: iPhone
Favorite workout: Indoor Soccer
Where do you get your news? NPR app on my phone