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735 Herndon Avenue
Orlando, FL 327972

407-308-0358

Market Colors is an online store and nonprofit organization. Our team collaborates with craftsmen in Africa and India to create handmade products that will sell well throughout the world. We exist to equip African men and women with a sustainable income, generated through the sale of their products.

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12 Days of Christmas

Lizzie Wirgau

This past year has been full of so many new adventures for Market Colors. We expanded our number of craftsmen, intern team, office space, and product lines. I cannot wait to see what 2014 holds. When planning for the upcoming holidays, I knew we had to celebrate with our Market Colors 12 Days of Christmas giveaways!

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Journals from Africa: Amanda

Lizzie Wirgau

Journalfromafrica
Journalfromafrica

Who: Amanda Brown Where: Kenya When: 2010

"The summer after my freshman year of college, I was blessed with the opportunity to travel to Kenya with SERV International. Never having partaken in a mission trip of this scale, it was a leap of faith for me to fly 18 hours and spend three weeks in a third world country. I left the States with bottles of bug spray, numerous shots and pills, my camera, and the words from a friend in the back of my mind. Her statement that “when you go to Africa, you leave a piece of your heart and you’ll never get it back” could not have proved truer for me. It has been three years since I was in Kenya and my time there still comes to mind every day.

Africa is a unique place. Something about its people, landscape, and culture embed itself in your heart. Like many others who have traveled to Africa, my life changed drastically. The most significant thing I learned while in Kenya was the power of love. I spent several days visiting IDP camps (Internally Displaced People) outside the isolated village of Lodwar, near the Sudan border. Pulling up in our Land Rovers, we approached what appeared to be a mound of rocks, except it was the people’s home. They lived on a hill of garbage under the scorching sun, taking refuge under several bushes, and yet they still loved their lives. And even more memorable, they loved God with a blinding passion. These natives had absolutely nothing, but they had not given up. They gave praise to God for every gift they received and every day they lived. The selflessness these people showed and the love they revealed to me, a white visitor who could not possibly understand their situation, made the biggest impact on my life.

While every person I met in Kenya made a memorable impression on my trip, there were several faces that still have a special place in my heart. I spent six hours with two girls, Sarah and Rose, in the slums of Thika, and to this day we communicate weekly through Facebook. They know my life, my story, my struggles, my friends, and my family. And then there was Nancy Amoni, a four-year-old native Lodwarian at the House of Hope orphanage. She spoke only Swahili and Turkana and had been scared of mzungu (white people), but managed to attach herself to my hip and reach deep into my heart. Nobody has ever affected me like she did, and telling her goodbye after two weeks may have been the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I learned that the Kenyan nation has a welcoming charisma that you cannot help but fall in love with. I saw the true nature of selflessness and how the power of a stranger’s love can embed deep in your soul for years to come. And no, I still have not gotten all of my heart back."

If you'd like to share your stories from Africa with us, please email info@marketcolors.org. We would love to feature you!

Esther

Lizzie Wirgau

by Lizzie Wirgau This past Sunday, I received word that Esther, a craftsman for Market Colors in Kenya, lost her battle with AIDS. Esther, 33, had been told that a special drink would cure her illness and that she no longer needed to take her medication. I share this not to pull on heartstrings or to bring any shame to Esther but to communicate the weight of very real corruption throughout the world.

When I was 15, I became very passionate about the organization To Write Love On Her Arms. I think I was first drawn to them for their interesting shirts that I saw celebrities wearing -- such as my favorite - Bryce Avery. TWLOHA has an inspiring story that goes along with their mission and vision. In it, they write, “We are only asked to love, to offer hope to the many hopeless. We don't get to choose all the endings, but we are asked to play the rescuers. We won't solve all mysteries and our hearts will certainly break in such a vulnerable life, but it is the best way. We were made to be lovers bold in broken places, pouring ourselves out again and again until we're called home.” I’ve come back to this quote countless times when I’ve needed inspiration but also when I’ve needed to be lifted off the ground from heartbreaking news.

I want our customers and readers to know that many of the craftsmen we are partnered with in Africa come from very difficult backgrounds and are working through incredible struggles. Many of their challenges look different than ours. Thinking on Esther’s passing has caused many of us to feel an overwhelming sense of sadness. But it’s also emphasized the burden Market Colors was created to bear: to transform lives for these craftsmen. We realize we can’t fix things and we know that we are new at this. But we also realize that we are able to play a very real part in changing lives and giving opportunity. In the wake of something so tragic, it’s apparent that this needs to happen now. It’s what God has called us to as an organization.

Many of you have received products made by Esther. She worked on the laptop cases, iPad carriers, and Mini Bags. I hope that when you do stumble upon her product card, you are compelled to do something. Market Colors was called to transform lives for African craftsmen and to do our best to be “lovers bold in broken places.” What are you called to do?

Please keep Esther’s family in your prayers. Esther’s husband died recently so her three children are now left orphaned. May her story motivate you to discover what God is calling you to do. For information about how you can support Esther’s family, please contact lizzie@marketcolors.org.

esther
esther

 In memory of Esther Wanjiku Wacera

Gifts For The Whole Family!

Lizzie Wirgau

With Christmas fast approaching, as we discussed in our last blog, now is the time to purchase those final gifts. Market Colors has the best supporters! JP and Teresa Pratt decided to purchase gifts from Market Colors for all their family members! We are so encouraged by JP and Teresa's support. You may also know Teresa as being one of our Market Colors product models. We checked in with the Pratts to hear the whole store:

Lizzie: Why did you want to buy Christmas gifts from Market Colors this year? Teresa: I think Market Colors is an amazing nonprofit. My husband, JP, and I wanted to spread the word about something we believe in, and we thought it would be more meaningful than just buying the next consumer product on someone's list.

Lizzie: Which Market Colors gift are you most looking forward to giving? Teresa: My brother just got married in September and I think the gift I'm most excited to give is to Elizabeth, my brand new sister-in-law. We bought her the Metallic Chevron Clutch. She is going to love it! I honestly think everyone will love their gifts from Market Colors for both the meaning behind the gift and as well as the practicality and attractiveness.

Lizzie: Does giving gifts made by our Market Colors craftsmen make you extra excited to give gifts this year? Teresa: Absolutely. It gives a personal aspect behind the creation of the product, as well as the purchase. It makes it feel like we bought it from a friend, in a way. We LOVE Market Colors!

Visit our store to purchase your Christmas gifts from Market Colors: store.marketcolors.org

Teresa
Teresa

Teresa with her Market Colors gifts

12 Days Of Christmas

Lizzie Wirgau

by Lizzie Wirgau I love Christmas SO much. I love everything about it... family time, delicious food, snow (back in my Michigan days), evergreens, lights, Elf and Christmas Vacation, gift-giving (and some receiving too!), holiday cups at Starbucks, mall decorations, the NSync Christmas album, traditions, candlelight church services, Christmas countdowns, and, most importantly, celebrating the birth of our Savior! And, I'd like to think that as a tribute to my crazy love of all-things-Christmas, Jesus let me be born on Christmas! That's right folks, it's possible - I was born on December 25th.

Due to my deep adoration for Christmastime, I start to get a touch sad as we get closer and closer to Christmas with the anticipation that this time of year will soon be coming to an end. And, as Christmas is the busiest time of year for our team here at Market Colors (lots of charitable gift-giving happening!) we also don't want it to end! So we thought, let's stretch it out a bit and start the celebrations early. We are now on Day 6 for our 12 Days of Christmas Free Giveaways. All you have to do is "like" our page on Facebook or "follow" us on Instagram (@marketcolors) and then share/repost today's contest picture! We draw a name at the end of each day. May the odds be ever in your favor!

12 days of christmasFBandinstasmallest1
12 days of christmasFBandinstasmallest1

Launch Night

Lizzie Wirgau

by Lizzie Wirgau Brainstorming sessions, meetings, coffee runs, e-mails and trips to Africa, product orders, 1,000 post-its, sleepless nights, and lots and lots of prayers… everything this past year led up to September 9th, 2012 at 7:30pm. It was the day we opened our Market Colors store for our first product sales.

We had two launches that night… (1) our Product Launch & Benefit Show in Orlando and (2) our online launch at midnight.

Thank you so much to everyone who came out to our event! We had about 400 people attend and sold a ton of products! We’re so grateful to our sponsors for their support and participation: 4Rivers, Hunter Vision, Newfashioned, Embraced by Grace, Real Thread, and Fluid Prints. We also had some incredible performers at our launch... Tigerweather, Rubox, Chris Burns, and The Silver Fleece. And thank you to Redlight Redlight - our amazing hosts for the evening!

Be sure to check out our store to view all the products. With the exception of our t-shirts and decals, every item is handmade by craftsmen in Africa. When you purchase an item, you also get a product card with information about the craftsman that made your item!

The craftsmen were so excited are to hear how much people like their products here in America! Through the success of our store, we've been able to order new products and re-order some favorites! We will have several new items in time for Christmas gift giving.

Thank you again to all who've been so supportive and encouraging. Together we can transform lives throughout Africa!

Some pictures from the Product Launch & Benefit Show

photo 3
photo 3

Lining up outside the venue waiting for doors

photo 2-1
photo 2-1

Thank you to the KBurgers Food Truck for being a part of our event!

photo 1-1
photo 1-1

Product display

photo 12
photo 12

Bird's eye view of the main room

To see more pictures from the night, please visit our Facebook page.

Color The Country: DC and (bonus) France

Lizzie Wirgau

photo 1
photo 1

We have colored our country’s capital! Oh Honest Abe, we are so lucky to have your support.

Throughout her travels this summer, Liz Hartsell visited Washington DC. She took a night tour of the monuments and grabbed this picture at the Lincoln Memorial! Little known fact: Liz serves on our Market Colors board as our Secretary!

photo 2
photo 2

Le Marché de Couleurs dit bonjour de France!

Ahhhhhh, Paris! My love for Paris started when I was 9 when I saw Mary-Kate and Ashley’s movie Passport To Paris. What’s not to love about two 12-year-old twins gallivanting around Paris on mopeds? Paris is a magical city with some of the most amazing views, food, history, and people in the world.

Tim Bergsma and his family spent time in Paris this summer. He left before we released our v-necks and decals so he did the next best thing – iPad pic of our logo!

Wondering what we're talking about? Check out the post about our campaign: Color The Country!

Want to be featured on our blog? Grab your v-neck or decal, take a pic by a license plate or landmark, and send it in to us!

Color The Country: Michigan

Lizzie Wirgau

michigan
michigan

Michigan: home to Cider Mills, two peninsulas, National Coney Island’s “Hani,” The Great Lakes, snow, Sparty, and Kristen Bell. Also, our founder, Lizzie, spent the first 18 years of her life in Michigan.

KatieMI
KatieMI

Katie Turk decked in her Market Colors v-neck with her Michigan license plate. We are grateful for Katie’s support of Market Colors and how she helped us “color” Michigan! We’re also so grateful that Katie once had a customized license plate that said “KTLADY1.”

We’ve colored Michigan and Florida! 48 States to go! Traveling somewhere? Live somewhere else? Grab your v-neck or decal, pose with something that explains where you are, and send it in to us! We want to feature you on our blog!

Color The Country: Florida

Lizzie Wirgau

CTCflorida
CTCflorida

Florida: home to oranges, The Orlando Magic, alligators, Disney World, The Fountain of Youth, and the Market Colors headquarters! Since Florida is home base for us, it seems only natural that our first Market Colors decal spotting took place in Orlando.

Kylee
Kylee

Kylee Talbot with her decal in Orlando, FL. Kylee is a huge supporter of Market Colors and she is heading to the Amazon in just a few weeks on a mission trip. We are fully expecting a picture of a Goldon Lion Tamarin wearing her Market Colors v-neck. We would also settle for a spider monkey.

photo 2
photo 2

The Case Family Tahoe. Heading out on a family trip up I-75 with Ohio as their destination, Heather Case said she wanted to promote Market Colors along the way. So here’s there first pic from their driveway in Orlando, FL.

We've colored Florida! 49 States to go! Traveling somewhere? Live somewhere else? Grab your v-neck or decal, pose with something that explains where you are, and send it in to us! We want to feature you on our blog!

Color The Country: 50 States To Go!

Lizzie Wirgau

Color The Country
Color The Country

Our goal is to COLOR THE COUNTRY by having Market Colors represented in all 50 States!

HOW? Take a pic of your Market Colors decal on your car, OR one of you or a friend wearing the Market Colors shirt, next to something that clearly shows what state you're in.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN? Send it to our Facebook or Twitter, and your picture will be featured on our page!

So grab that 35mm or camera phone, and pose with your Market Colors shirt or decal next to the state line, state landmark, or a license plate!

WHERE DO WE GET THE SHIRTS/DECALS? You can order them online! We just opened our online store on Monday!

Click here to visit our store

There is a special prize if you take the most creative picture... you will get a Market Colors African product before anyone else!

We are accepting photos now! Let's COLOR THE COUNTRY!