I had the privilege of meeting guest speaker, Gail O’Reilly at a recent Women’s Guild meeting at St. David Armenian Church in Boca Raton, FL.
Gail Talanian O’Reilly is creator of a most unique business venture – Made in Armenia Direct, designed from the heart, to ‘link Armenia’s craftspeople with the world’.
Gail, who is 100% Armenian, and her husband Richard, an ABC – Armenian By Choice, traveled to Armenia for the first time in 1991 with the Armenian Assembly of America to celebrate the opening of the housing manufacturing plant. She was emotionally charged by this visit – appreciating what her ancestors had gone through in the early 1900’s to make their family’s life possible in the United States, and stirring inside herself a heart-felt sadness for the residents she met still living there under very poor conditions – especially after the earthquake of 1988 and the collapse of communism.
After numerous visits to Armenia, Gail was convinced that in order to help make Armenia a thriving, independent nation, there had to be a good reason for the residents to want to stay and work there.
Gail continued, “MIAD has been refusing to pay bribes (which was a typical practice), has been identifying craftspeople, teaching quality control and accountability, finding the ‘right’ markets in Armenia and in the U.S., and developing trust. The main idea behind MIAD is for the craftspeople, designers and entrepreneurs to find some financial security and independence so they can support themselves, their families and extended families (while still calling Armenia home).”
|My MIAD Christmas gifts
|MIAD logo on back of box
As I listened to Gail speak, I proudly realized that I already have a few MIAD items in my home! Over the past few years, my husband, who loves to shop via the internet, had purchased some MIAD Christmas gifts for me – a lovely filigree basket, a carved wooden box with a swivel top, and a clay Christmas tree ornament in the shape of a saint.
If you’d like to support a business that is truly trying to make a difference in Armenia, place your trust in – and place an order with – Made in Armenia Direct!