As we start to make our way into the holiday season, life at GAIA can be pretty hectic. Filling holiday orders, wrapping gifts, and making sure that each customer is taken care of with a smile. (We love what we do!) But amidst the craziness of matching pom poms with the right swatch of fabric, we love to take the time to reflect on the moments during the year that remind of us why we love to work for a company that offers a place for women to support one another. Read on for a few of our GAIA team members' most memorable moment of gratitude and thanks.
'I became a mom right there in the foyer of our new GAIA home.'
My most memorable GAIA moment of 2018 isn’t hard to pick this year! It was March 20th, the day we moved from our old office to our new storefront. We were buried in boxes, saying goodbye to our sweet space of 4+ years, and then navigating the cardboard traffic at the new location, as the old tenants moved out the same day! It was madness! I don’t think I stopped moving all day, and was just about to unpack the first box when my husband came bursting through the front door of our new studio. I thought he was paying me a surprise visit to congratulate us on a successful move! But instead he told me that he and our adoption caseworker had been trying to reach me all afternoon because we had been matched with a little boy, our son Miles, who was 5 weeks old! I became a mom right there in the foyer of our new GAIA home, covered in dust and dirt, exhausted and satisfied from the craziest most exciting day that just got infinitely crazier and more exciting! I am so thankful for my team. All the GAIA Gals that work tirelessly behind the scenes to make magic happen, and who all stepped up in a big way so that I didn’t have to worry one bit as I stepped away to welcome our new baby boy. There are no other women on this earth that I would rather have by my side...at GAIA or in life! Love you girls, and thank you for all of your love and support through this new season of my life. Miles doesn’t yet know how blessed he is to be constantly surrounded & doted upon by such incredible women! He’s one lucky little dude! -Lauren, Digital Marketing Maven & Strategy Wiz
'I walked into this space and began to tear up.'
Behind the beauty of branding and blouses, it is easy to become disenchanted by all of the work that still needs to be done. But then there are moments that remind you why we are all still here: still truckin’ along, witnessing quirky friendships unfold and lives transform. One of those enchanting moments happened for me during Paula’s birthday party. Manar, Huda, Forat, Buthayna, Mariza, the GAIA Team of past and present were all there...plus our interns! I had just finished helping some gals on clean up duty in the kitchen and I was going to get something from the retail space. If you haven’t been to the GAIA Cottage there is this magical vantage point in the hallway where you can view all of the wonders at once. I walked into this space and began to tear up. To my right, between the cash-wrap and chalkboard, our interns were building blocks with Amina (Marzia’s daughter) as Miles (Lauren’s son) crawled around on the floor. To my left, were the women of GAIA: some in matching pink hijabs, some in comfy sweaters, some gathered around the table lavished with pizza and dishes of food which were labors of love. “This is GAIA,” the thought echoed in my mind. We blossomed from one unique friendship and transformed into a community. Women helping women, from all walks of life, by supporting each other, loving on babies as if they were our own, growing in talents, and celebrating our gifts. We don’t always do this perfectly, but this reminded me of what it’s all about. - Devin, GAIA Cottage Hospitality Guru
'These women are more than just coworkers.'
This year, and frankly, every year I have worked for GAIA, I am overwhelmingly grateful for how the GAIA team functions as a true family. This past year, my husband and I experienced a major loss, but also experienced one of the greatest joys: getting pregnant. The GAIA Gals rallied around us and were extremely supportive as we processed our grief, and were just as excited as we were when we found out we were having a baby! I will never be able to put to words how thankful I am for their continuous love and support. These women are more than coworkers, they have become my close friends, and I can’t wait for my son to be surrounded by such strong loving women, who also happen to come from all different backgrounds and parts of the world! My family and I have been blessed beyond measure by the GAIA Gals. - Alyssa, Design & Production Ace
'It's always such a joyous celebration!'
"This summer we invited all of the artisans to the office for a potluck lunch and pictures. It was so encouraging to see all of the women breaking bread together, catching up, and playing with each others' kids. We don’t get to have all of them here very often, but when we do it’s always such a joyous celebration! I’m so thankful that I get to work in a positive environment where everyone is welcomed with open arms. That day at GAIA really made it feel like a home, where all women are welcome at any point in time.” - Brooke, Design & Production Pro
'There are so many special moments.'
Every moment I spend here has a strong memory, whether it's our endless laughter, or the sense of accomplishment after I create the first new product for a collection. There are so many special moments. Also, I can't help to think about the moment this past Spring when I was able to travel back to the Middle East to see my Mom, two sisters and their families for the first time in 7 years after being separated when we fled the violence in Syria....which I know could not have happened without the unending support from the team and everyone at GAIA. - Buthayna, Refugee Artisan Trainer & Calmer
'The sense of community at GAIA is contagious.'
As the newest member of the GAIA team, I am most thankful to have been able to experience and learn what being a part of the "GAIA Family" truly means. In my short 3 weeks on the job, I've already witnessed a joint baby shower, a birthday party for our fearless leader Paula, and multiple GAIA Family lunches. I've gotten to love on babies, try Middle Eastern dessert, Afghan cuisine, and immerse myself in a community environment that is full of warmth, love, and diversity. The sense of community here at GAIA is contagious and, as the newbie, I'm quickly learning is part of what makes working for GAIA so special. I'm incredibly thankful to get to work beside so many inspiring, loving, empowered women here and can't wait to see how many more thankful moments this next year brings! Being a member of GAIA is so much more than any other career position I've had, it's truly joining a family; a family I'm thrilled to be a part of. - Megan, Ops-Overseer-In-Training
'I didn’t think it could get any better…'
My work at GAIA has given me so much to be thankful for over years… just having the honor of working alongside refugee women - hearing their stories, being humbled by their resilience and grace, and witnessing their families thrive in their new home - it has truly blessed my soul. Not to mention my incredible team!! Watching them joyfully come to work each day to lift up the lives of others just warms my heart… these are some GOOD humans I get to hang with every day! I didn’t think it could get any better… until our happy GAIA family found our new happy home. Moving into the GAIA Cottage this past Spring has been such a joyful new chapter in our journey. A warm, cozy, and inviting environment for our artisans, staff, and guests to gather in has been a dream come true. Opening a store wasn’t necessarily part of the plan, but that’s turned out to be a blast as well! The best part is that we’re able to open our doors to the community, building fellowship in way we haven't been able to achieve in the past - bringing people together from different cultures, backgrounds, and faiths. We’ve hosted Craft Workshops led by our refugee Artisans, and Kids’ Art Workshops with children from multiple cultures creating alongside each other. This new chapter has definitely had it’s challenges, with a lot of stress along the way… but miraculously, people came into our lives with the desire to help, to contribute in some way. Artists, Designers, Coordinators, the list goes on. For all of this I am so grateful. This Thanksgiving, my belly AND my heart will be full! - Paula, Founder & Ship Steerer