By JACKIE GOLD
Three Bethlehem alumnae have founded sustainable businesses through Instagram. Their businesses have raised over $1,000 for charity.
Dahlia Earleywine, Olivia Namkoong and Maggie Preller all use their platforms to raise money for charities and make custom items for patrons. As, they are currently attending the University of Southern California, Columbia University, and Brown University respectively, these three bright women are making a difference in their communities and beyond.
Namkoong started her business, LivThread, about a month ago as a custom crochet account on Instagram. Namkoong says this was a skill that she learned during the quarantine, but her page has taken off. “It’s been overwhelming,” she said.
Recently, Namkoong has started to take clothes around her house that were about to be donated and sew them for sale. “I found I really enjoyed taking old things and making them new,” she said.
Half of Namkoong’s proceeds go toward the Black Trans Travel Fund, an organization that provides safe transportation for Black trans women in New York and New Jersey to prevent assaults on public transportation. Namkoong said, “I felt really good about giving to an organization where you can see the local effects of your donations.” So far, Namkoong has raised over $1,000 for the Black Trans Travel Fund from LivThread.
Namkoong’s best friend, Dahlia Earleywine, also started a business to raise donations. Earleywine is currently fundraising for the Equal Justice Initiative to end mass incarceration and excessive punishment. Earleywine creates earrings to sell locally and donates 100 percent of her profits. “If I was making a profit, it would be a matter of a couple of hundred dollars, and I realized that I don’t need that,” she said.
Earleywine said that she feels she has been successful. “If my initial goal was to raise money as a hobby for a good cause, then yes, I would say I am successful,” she said. Earleywine said she is proud of her and the other Instagram businesses because they are “healthy for the community.”
Modish Mango, the business started by Preller, is also a sustainable business that helps the community and charities. Like the other accounts, Preller started hers about a month ago. “I was thinking of what I’ve always loved: art and fashion. And as a public health major, I’ve always been interested in social issues,” she said. For Preller, starting a business to raise money for the Black Trans Femmes in the Arts Collective seemed like a natural next step.
Preller makes clothing that is completely sustainable and environmentally friendly. Prior to starting Modish Mango, she designed tote bags that raised over $300 for charity. “Everyone can give in some way,” she said. And for Preller, Modish Mango has been her way of giving back.
These three gifted women have created an opportunity for sustainable and ethical fashion in Bethlehem. Each of them spoke about the desire to help others, uplift Black voices, and remain environmentally conscious. Their impact can be seen through their success as the accounts continue to grow.