Arrow Fat Left Icon Arrow Fat Right Icon Arrow Right Icon Cart Icon Close Circle Icon Expand Arrows Icon Facebook Icon Instagram Icon Pinterest Icon Hamburger Icon Information Icon Down Arrow Icon Mail Icon Mini Cart Icon Person Icon Ruler Icon Search Icon Shirt Icon Triangle Icon Bag Icon Play Video

~ GAIA Goodness ~

Meet the Girls Behind "GAIA for Girls"

Teeming with kids of all ages, even through the summer, Jack Lowe Elementary School in central Dallas is a lively place. It’s where founder and managing director of the Vickery Meadow Summer Reading Academy Dalene Buhl comes each morning to oversee unique programs in English language phonics, reading, and writing, with extracurricular nutrition, music, PE, tap dance, and art.

New on her roster this year: GAIA for Girls. With great enthusiasm, she supervises nine girls, grades 7 through 10, in our jewelry-making venture and lives up to her unofficial title of 'Chief Optimist'. Buhl and her colleague Gail Stoke were instrumental in helping us create the GAIA program intended to empower girls and their mothers to help their families, and Buhl beams when she talks about the potential long-term impact on the young students. The program not only provides income for the girls and their families, she says, but it also stimulates their creativity, builds their confidence, teaches them about business from inception to production and beyond, and plants seeds of curiosity and independent determination for their futures. Talk with the girls and you can almost see those seeds sprouting.

In some ways, these teenagers are very typical. In one moment, they giggle shyly; in another, they boldly offer their opinions. Like other teenage girls, they enjoy television, sports, music, and their friends. But in other very significant ways, they are unlike many teenagers you know. Their hardships can be difficult to fathom. Some come from families who live on less than $800 per month (let that sink in for a moment). Others have parents who are disabled, ill, or have died. Yet despite their burdens, these girls have strong spirits and palpable ambition. That’s how they ended up in the program in the first place: They felt frustrated by their families’ situations and determined to find a way to help.

The girls say that working together, designing and crafting text bracelets for GAIA for Girls has not only been good for their families, but it’s also strengthened their friendships and given them the satisfaction of making something beautiful. There’s a lot to love in this little group. Says 13-year-old Norhafizah, whose family immigrated to the United States from Malyasia: “We have talents that are rare in the world! We are uniquely awesome!”

Below, you can get to know a few of these sweet girls a bit better.


Age: 13
Home country: Myanmar
Loves: Reading, dancing, sleeping, and watching cartoons
Goals: To be a doctor, travel the world, and live a happy life
Favorite part of GAIA for Girls: “Designing and crafting the bracelets!”



Age: 12
Home country: Myanmar
Loves: Cooking, sewing, singing, dancing, and reading
Goals: To become a doctor in order to help others
Favorite part of GAIA for Girls: “I like that [my sister, Emmanuel, and I] are helping our parents.”



Tay Mo 

Age: 14
Home country: Thailand
Loves: Playing soccer and the violin
Goals: To be successful in and outside of school; to be a leader in my family
Favorite part of GAIA for Girls: “Being creative and making something beautiful is a good way show your true colors.”



Age: 13
Home country: Burma
Loves: Watching K-pop, singing, and dancing
Goals: To become a doctor and help others
Favorite part of GAIA for Girls: “Helping my parents with the finances. This is a good opportunity to learn and earn money.”



Age: 13
Home country: Malaysia
Loves: Playing badminton, swimming, exercising, dancing, singing, and eating
Goals: To go to college and get a good job after
Favorite part of GAIA for Girls: “Because I often like to waste my time watching movies and eating and playing and sleeping, this is good for me. I like being creative, and this keeps me active.”



Age: 15
Home country: United States (first generation)
Loves: Listening to music, playing the piano, doing crafts, and helping in school Goals: To go to college and eventually own a business
Favorite part of GAIA for Girls: “As far back as third grade, I was designing bracelets and selling them to friends at school, so I am really excited to make it an actual job.”


Shop the GAIA for Girls collection now.

Continue reading

A Little Bit of Little News

If you follow GAIA on Instagram, you may have noticed a few new things for the smaller set. Maybe you spotted a sneak peek on an Instagram post with colorful arm candy that read: “New bracelets for the littles — likely to be borrowed by the bigs!”

Yes? No? Either way, we’re here to give you the scoop on those bitty bracelets.

 With four messages — XOXO, CUTIE, I ❤️ YOU, and BFF — the bracelets are handmade by refugee youth in Dallas as part of a new GAIA initiative to provide work to local refugee girls and their mamas. We weren’t looking to start something new when opportunity knocked, but we know a need when we see one.

When we learned through volunteers from Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church working with students in the Vickery Meadow area of Dallas that a group of teens were frustrated by their mothers’ inability to find work, we took notice. When we heard that the students were asking how they could help, trying to determine what they could do to generate work, earn money, and improve their circumstances now that they are here in the United States, we all began to brainstorm together ways to engage these girls.

GAIA for Girls

GAIA for Girls

With wheels turning, we thought, What if we create a new collection for GAIA? We had considered expanding our existing Kids collection to include jewelry...Wouldn’t it be kind of perfect to offer bracelets for younger girls, made by older teen girls working to affect change in their own lives? And so we designed these cute new bracelets with the girls skills in mind, and partnered with the volunteers to train the girls and get them up and running. They were thrilled!

The students are really driving this initiative. These girls have grit. They have moxie. They are bright, eager and excited to work for what they want. Many of their families have survived serious trauma either before or after arriving in the country, and yet they are positive, energetic spirits who inspire us.

GAIA for Girls

GAIA for Girls

Look into their faces and you see tomorrow’s entrepreneurs. They will surely go on to be fashion designers and restaurateurs and captains of industry of all sorts. Watch their industrious hands and you know you are watching the creation of something much bigger than jewelry. That makes our hearts sing!

This new initiative truly exemplifies what GAIA is all about. The students get to help their families and we get to further support refugees in Dallas — and ensure a brighter future for these teens, because we know that empowered girls become empowered women.

* Special thanks to the dedicated mentorship provided by PHPC tireless advocates, Dalene Buhl, Gail Stoke, and Rev. Kathy Lee-Cornell, and our friends at Tasby Middle School, Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church, and the Vickery Meadow Youth Development Foundation.  ** Please note that absolutely no child labor laws are violated in this project.

GAIA x Folklore girl's skirt 

More Neat New Things for Kids

The darling bracelets aren’t the only kids’ news we have for you, however.

We’re excited to offer monogrammed diaper pouches and the sweetest kids clothing from Folklore, another Dallas-based company with a mission for helping women improve their lives. Handmade in Guatemala with upcycled cotton from the New Denim Project, the striped skirts and dresses coordinate with some of our tops for a mother-daughter look that cannot be beat.

With diaper pouches that coordinate with large pouches for mama’s stuff, and large pouches that coordinate with little mouse purses, and pom-pom bags that match our mini hearts and mini kitties, there’s lots more mommy-and-mini goodness from GAIA. 

Shop the entire GAIA’s kids’ collection.

Continue reading

5 Children’s Books to Help You Talk About Refugees and Kindness 

 When we need to teach our children — or ourselves, for that matter — about a complex topic, we at GAIA turn to books. Reading is proven to open our minds and help us empathize with other people.

With the recent events concerning refugees in our country, our founder, Paula, wanted to sit down with her children and give them a glimpse into some refugee stories. She also wanted to remind them of the importance of making others feel welcome and loved in the world — and in their day-to-day lives. When she first shared these kid-friendly reads on Instagram Stories, our followers begged for more. 

So here ya go!

Children's Books

“Welcome,” by Barroux

A trio of polar bears finds themselves drifting out to sea in the French author’s simple, colorful book. At first, they are scared (who wouldn’t be!?), but relief sets in when they finally reach land. That is, until an inhospitable herd of cows forces them to move on — and that’s just the start of a series of rejections. What, oh what, will these bears do!? Buy it here.

Children's Books

“Stepping Stones,” by Margriet Ruurs

Told in Arabic and English and illustrated with the stone work of Syrian artist Nizar Ali Badr, this little book tells the story of a family who flees their war-torn country and after a long, hard journey finds a new life in a new land. It’s a moving masterpiece with a message of hope. A portion from the sale of each book supports an organization that assists refugees. Buy it here.

Children's Books

“Lost and Found Cat,” by Doug Kuntz and Amy Shrodes

If you’re an animal lover, get ready to weep. The true story of Kunkush the cat inspires waterworks. A family flees Mosel with their beloved kitty cat secretly in tow and makes it a very long way with Kunkush. But when the family lands in Greece, Kunkush gets separated from his people. What happens later is nothing short of a miracle! Buy it here.

Children's Books

“Because Amelia Smiled,” by David Ezra Stein

Sweet Amelia wears a big grin on her face. She knows that she feels happy, but what she doesn’t know are the far-reaching effects that her smile will have on other people. David Ezra Stein does more showing than telling with his wonderfully detailed colored pencil illustrations. We never get tired of looking at this one. Buy it here.

Children's Books

“If You Plant a Seed,” by Kadir Nelson

This book had us at “bunny,” but its message is deeper than cuteness. The little brown fella in this book learns some important lessons about reaping what you sow — and the vast rewards of planting seeds of kindness. Buy it here.

Continue reading