Stay Connected

Input your email address to stay up-to-date with all that is happening at Market Colors.

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.

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 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!

 

Just One More Day

Lizzie Wirgau

by Tiffanie Brunson Each of us, at one time or another, has experienced the agonizing predicament of having something that’s out of reach consume our thoughts. Whether it’s the end of a school semester, a video game that doesn’t come out until next month, or maybe it’s some much needed R&R with your pals. For me, it’s the new Market Colors clutch. Don’t laugh. This is serious.

For those of you who don’t know, I’m Lizzie Wirgau’s roommate. Living with Lizzie comes with its perks. One of those perks is getting to see what Market Colors products are coming up before they are introduced. In this case, this perk has been to my detriment. Let me preface my rant by saying that I think all of Market Colors’ products are stylish and fun. But this clutch . . . I’m obsessed with it.

Ever since I saw this clutch (see below) last week, I haven’t stopped thinking about it. I have a serious problem. I’m faced daily with the challenge of putting together an outfit and realizing that it would be a jillion (It’s a real number. Look it up, I dare you.) times cooler if I only had that clutch! Do you have any idea how frustrating that is??

It may be “unhealthy” to let such an ephemeral thing run rampant in your thoughts, but is it really? After all, this product is making a lasting impact on the life of the person whose hands crafted it.

So, my silly obsession isn’t so silly after all. Take that, capitalism! One more day, just one more day . . . .

The Market Colors clutch, along with many other new winter items, is available for purchase beginning Wednesday, November 14th at http://store.marketcolors.org/.

Interns: Robyn & Lindsay

Lizzie Wirgau

by Lizzie Wirgau The full Market Colors store has been live for about 7 weeks now. We've been incredibly blessed with a great number of product orders, selling out of some products, a new group of craftsmen (more about that soon), interviews with the press, and, most importantly, the capacity to increase the demand for work from our craftsmen in Africa!

With all our new business, it became very clear we needed more interns... fast! As I shared in the last intern post, I'm naturally very protective over Market Colors and I understand the importance of carefully selecting staff. After plenty of prayers, meetings, and brainstorming, Robyn and Lindsay have joined our Market Colors team as interns!

 

ROBYN

Robyn graduated from UCF in May with a degree in Advertising/Public Relations. She specifically has a passion for non-profit marketing/public relations. In addition to all things related to social media, she enjoys music, traveling, cinnamon, antiquing, oversized knit sweaters, and "pretty much everything else your grandma loves" -- her words, not mine. Robyn writes, "I am honored to be able to participate in the work that Market Colors is doing and am excited to use my passions and interests for an organization I believe in so much." Robyn is our Social Media Intern so if you read anything clever or see any awesome Instagram pics, she is the one to thank!

 

LINDSAY (and Thunder!)

Lindsay graduated from Rollins College in August with a degree in International Relations and a minor in Business. Throughout college, Lindsay traveled to Russia many times to help with the orphan crisis. Her mission trip to Haiti stirred up a passion for helping those in need. She writes, "I feel so blessed to be a part of an organization [Market Colors] that empowers African craftsmen to build a sustainable future for their families. I also love the amazing products that they make!" Lindsay is our PR Intern so her focus is on promoting our organization throughout the media. This is a huge need and Lindsay is doing an awesome job!

Next week: Christmas products are released! Find us on Facebook or Twitter to get all the updates.

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

Lining up outside the venue waiting for doors

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

Product display

Bird's eye view of the main room

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

Online Store... OPEN!

Lizzie Wirgau

Four countries, hundreds of craftsmen, twenty types of products, and many miles traveled. And here we are… with a full store, launched and taking orders. Not to mention... quickly running out of items and re-ordering from the craftsmen already! The men and women we work with in Africa are overjoyed to be working.

How can you support the craftsmen?

1. Buy your first Market Colors product and enjoy the personalized card from the craftsmen that made your item. Laptop cases, iPad carriers, satchels, jewelry, scarves, and more! 2. Intentionally share our website and store with 20 friends! 3. Post a link to our store on your Facebook or Twitter!

Thank you for all your support. Together we can transform lives throughout Africa!

Event Sponsors

Lizzie Wirgau

We are so grateful to have some incredible sponsors for our Product Launch & Benefit Show happening this Sunday night: 4Rivers, Hunter Vision, Real Thread, Newfashioned, and Embraced by Grace.  

4 Rivers

Ahhh, an Orlando favorite! 4 Rivers Smokehouse restaurants serve the famous Texas-style brisket and trimmings at three locations, in Winter Park, Winter Garden, and Longwood. They are committed to producing the highest level of quality products and providing superior service to their customers, which distinguishes the 4Rivers brand in the marketplace. www.4rsmokehouse.com

 

Hunter Vision

Dr. Joel Hunter is one of the leading ophthalmologists in the country to do 3D LASIK, the most advanced form of LASIK. Patients throughout Orlando and beyond have been the recipients of his professional expertise as well as his genuine caring attitude. http://huntervision.com/

 

Real Thread

Real Thread Apparel Printing Company designs and sells t-shirts, specializing in water-based and discharged inks. They are experts when it comes to custom designs, and are the creative brains behind many of our Market Colors shirts. http://realthread.com/

 

Newfashioned

Unique, affordable vintage clothing is what you’ll find at New Fashioned, an online store owned and operated by Rachel Ketterman of Orlando. A percentage of proceeds is given to organizations that help women and children who have been forced into sex slavery. http://www.etsy.com/people/newfashioned?ref=pr_profile

 

Embraced by Grace

An adoption and home study agency, Embraced by Grace is devoted to the ministry of placing adoptable children into permanent, Godly Christian homes. They serve adoptive parents and birthmothers through every step of the process. http://www.embracedbygrace.org/

 

 

 

 

Market Colors Product Launch & Benefit Show

Lizzie Wirgau

WHAT: We are launching our first Market Colors product line on Sunday, September 9th at our Product Launch & Benefit Show! This is an exclusive preview and presale!

WHO: Performances by Tigerweather, Rubox, Chris Burns, Civil Parish, and The Silver Fleece

WHEN: Sunday, September 9th at 7:30pm

WHERE: The NEW (opening end of August!) Redlight Redlight 2810 Corrine Dr., Orlando, FL 32803

COST: $5 at the door

We want to celebrate with you, listen to some awesome bands, enjoy a few food trucks, and have you check out our new product line. COME SUPPORT THE CRAFTSMEN! 100% of proceeds from this event go towards fighting poverty in Africa!

All of our products will be available for sale at the show. Our full store will go live online the following day, September 10th.

Products available: laptop cases, iPad cases, satchels, tote bags, purses, scarves, rugs, table runners, wallets, headbands, jewelry, and more! All items range from $5-$50.

Please invite your friends and family to this event! All ages welcome.

 

This event is sponsored by: 4Rivers Smokehouse, Hunter Vision, and Newfashioned

Color The Country: DC and (bonus) France

Lizzie Wirgau

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!

 

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: 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.

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

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 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.

 

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

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!

V-Necks, Decals, and Market Colors Swag

Lizzie Wirgau

With the fall launch for our African products fast approaching, we thought: “Hey! Let’s show off our new, beautiful store and start promoting Market Colors on the street!”

We have ordered a limited number of shirts and decals! These products are being used as a fundraiser for the craftsmen. The more we fundraise, the more we will be able to extend our reach throughout Africa!

The decals are also a part of the fundraiser. And we are utilizing them for our newest campaign: COLOR THE COUNTRY! Want the scoop about that? Check out our store!

 

Meet The Interns

Lizzie Wirgau

by Lizzie Wirgau

Market Colors is my baby. I love it, protect it, pray for it, watch it grow, photograph its milestones, and cut the crusts off its sandwiches. Okay, there isn’t a lot of actual sandwich cutting, but the bottom line is that I have invested my heart, soul, and many sleepless nights into developing Market Colors.

No one hands their baby over to a stranger. Mothers and fathers are careful about who they allow to look after their precious child. Call it extreme, but this is how I felt about selecting interns.

It seemed simple… Too much work? Not able to do it all alone? Get an intern! And while I knew that was where we were headed, it took time for me to actually decide when. It’s now the third week of June, and I am so grateful for our two new summer interns, Kailey and Dana! Based on their awesome work ethic, creative thinking, love for the Lord, and excellent taste in 90s music and organic snacks, they are the perfect additions to Market Colors.

KAILEY

Kailey is entering her senior year at UCF, pursuing a degree in International and Global Studies. Upon graduation, she will attend seminary for a Masters in Theology. Following that, she hopes to work with victims of human trafficking, teaching music and arts. She writes, “I am incredibly excited to help with Market Colors because it helps facilitate ways for African men and women to become skilled craftsmen, fighting poverty and encouraging sustainability!” Kailey’s main projects this summer are working on fundraising and planning our Market Colors benefit/launch show for early this fall! More info about that to come soon.

 

DANA

Dana is a marketing major at UCF. In March of 2011, she traveled to Malawi and came back with a passion for the people of Africa. She writes, “I love what Lizzie is doing with Market Colors and I’m so excited to become a part of the team. I'm hoping to contribute my marketing skills to help Market Colors develop throughout this summer.” Dana’s main projects are marketing and preparing all of our products for sale this fall! She is also extremely handy and actually LIKES putting together office furniture.

It's amazing to have two such gifted women join the Market Colors team. We'll be working hard all summer to get ready for our early fall launch! To stay updated, check back here and follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

Our New Campaign: 61 New Partners

Lizzie Wirgau

When we decided to do the IndieGoGo campaign: For The Craftsmen, we asked ourselves: “What do we really need to raise?” and kind of left the question of “Can we actually do it?” unanswered. I think that’s how I’ve tried to approach most things in Market Colors… doing my best and leaving the results up to God.

Read More

FAQ With The Founder

Lizzie Wirgau

I've seen your site, but can you tell me what Market Colors does? Market Colors works with craftsmen (men and women) throughout Africa. These craftsmen are making incredibly unique and exquisite products but they have hardly any market for them. By connecting them with the international market, we are increasing their demand which, in turn, will create many jobs throughout Africa. When our products are up for sale, we will activate our online store where you will be able to purchase all our items from our website.

We really believe that this organization has the potential to transform a significant number of lives. The truth is, even if hundreds of organizations like Market Colors exist, there still wouldn’t be enough. There are so many villages with so many craftsmen throughout Africa. The need is great.

Where did this idea come from? I worked at Summit Church in the Missions Department for a few years. My job was facilitating the trips we took to Malawi, Sierra Leone, and the Dominican Republic. Because of that, I was able to go on trips as both a participant and a leader. Throughout my visits, I began forming real relationships and God started working on my heart. While I really loved my job, I began feeling like God had a different plan for me regarding my work in Africa. My awesome boss, John Parker, and I started brainstorming about what that could be. We identified this need: there are skilled craftsmen in Africa but no one can get to their products. Then we worked through how I could help meet that need. Those initial conversations happened in April of 2011.

It’s important for me to note that Market Colors could not exist if this wasn’t something God wanted. I get to see God bless our organization daily… often in some pretty huge ways. I feel so lucky to be a part of His work in Africa. Market Colors is a blessing to me.

What countries do you work in? We work solely in Africa. As of now, we have three partnerships in Kenya and one in Malawi with more on the horizon. We are hoping to grow to at least 20 partnerships over the next five years.

We chose Africa because that’s where our church and community are focused and it’s where my heart is. Also, there aren’t as many groups selling products from Africa because it’s so far and so difficult to ship from. That goes back to how we wanted to meet a need.

Is this your full-time job? The short answer is yes. My “work hours” aren’t typical 9-5 because I work on this more than I would on an average full time job. I’ve committed to not being paid a dollar for the first year. This means every penny that gets donated goes directly to making this nonprofit happen. I also work about 15 hours/week for Hunter Vision as a promoter on their Street Team. So that means I know a lot about Africa and LASIK!

What do you do every day? Well, it depends on the day. But on average…

Morning: Because of the time difference between Africa and here, I usually wake up to a handful of emails that I try to tackle early before Africa goes to bed. These emails are usually about product questions and approvals, shipping and payment details, or inquiries about future partnerships. I’ve also started dedicating a chunk of time in the mornings to praying for Market Colors, our partner organization, and craftsmen.

Lunch: One thing I love about my job is that I get to meet with people all the time! I meet people who are interested in getting more information about Market Colors and/or working with us in some form, people who are way smarter than me and I want to learn from, or people who encourage me in this occasionally overwhelming adventure.

Afternoon: At this point, Africa is asleep or just starting to wake up. So I try to use this time to focus on what we’re doing in the US. Right now, this mostly means marketing. I’ll spend time working on social media, design, research, setting up meetings, and brainstorming.

Night: I start to get responses from some of my morning questions that I sent to people in Africa. The iPhone literally changed my life. I can be working at all hours of the day, no matter where I am. I’ve communicated some pretty big and immediate decisions from my phone. It lets me always be in touch. Which is super-essential when you are starting an organization.

How can I help? Share our new video next week. One really great opportunity will be coming up next week! I’ll be posting a video with never before seen footage from my trip to Africa this winter. It has footage with the craftsmen who are making our products! This is going to be used as part of a fundraiser we are doing to raise money for our initial products. Watch the video and then please share it!

Show us your skills. If you have a skill that you think could be useful, please contact us! Some needed skills: marketing, graphics, social media, website, writing. Also, if you have connections with companies, let us know. Examples of companies: printers, t-shirts, sponsors, marketers, etc.

Give us your lunch money. Well, not exactly. But another big way you can help is to donate. Donations keep us going and they allow us to reach more people in Africa. Even donations of $10 can really make an impact!

Pray. Pray. Pray. Please be praying for our growing organization. Please pray for the craftsmen we work with, the production of the items, the growth of Market Colors, and for clarity as our leadership makes big decisions.

When can we buy products? What will these products be? FALL. By early fall we will have products for sale from at least three of the four initial partners! Initially, we will be selling laptop cases, satchels, purses, rugs, and jewelry. They’re all unique, very well-made and affordable.

Hurry Up and Wait

Lizzie Wirgau

by Lizzie Wirgau Hurry up and wait. If I had a nickel for the number of times…

Disney World. Fully adorned in fanny packs and sunscreen, my family and I would leave our hotel before the sun was up so we could arrive at Disney right when the gates opened. Upon entry, we would realize that no matter how early we arrived, we would still have to wait for the monorail, Space Mountain, and the Tea Cups. Busy, no-breakfast mornings, then waiting.

College applications. I applied right when my senior year started. Think I was excited to get out into the world? Not only did I hurry and apply right away, I wanted options. So I applied to 9 schools. Then I waited. Nine times I waited. Hard work, then waiting.

My iPhone. I did the research. I switched to AT&T. I had a buyer for my LG EnV Touch lined up. The release date rolled around, and I, shamelessly, waited in line just to pre-order the phone. I even paid for the phone. And, of course, I couldn’t get it that day - I still had to wait 6 weeks for it to be delivered. Payment, then waiting.

This weekend, I spent time with my family, visiting my brother in Miami. We were reminiscing about growing up in Metro Detroit and how different our lives look now than we ever imagined. My mom said, “People would give anything to just be able to look at their lives in 5 or 10 years.” My brother laughed and said, “Mom, people would pay $1,000,000 to see what’s going to happen to them in 10 minutes.” And it’s true. We aren’t used to waiting. We can’t trust the process of waiting. Instant gratification is what the world has groomed us for: On Demand TV, “I’ll just Google it”, fast food, and HSN. These conveniences are amazing and I’m not planning on giving up my Netflix account. However, these instant rewards make seasons of silence much harder to deal with because they are so foreign to us.

Imagine if I decided to withdraw my college applications because UCF was taking too long to accept me. Or imagine if I paid for my iPhone and then decided just to go back to my EnV because I couldn’t wait.

Galations 6:8 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

What this means to me is to not get disheartened. While all of these examples are incredibly “small deals” in the grand scheme, I think there are things to learn about ourselves and about our Creator in these seasons of waiting, instead of just pressing pause on our lives until what we’ve waited for arrives. My favorite part about this verse is where it states “at the proper time.” We can always, always hold to the truth that God’s timing is the perfect timing. In this sweet, yet sometimes unwelcomed, stillness, there is so much God wants to teach us.

We can’t always see the end result, but if we can grasp that our God is FOR us, than we can at least cling to that truth, even when the rest of our future may look foggy. We can know that God is still at work in the stillness and that He does have a plan for us.

Lately, to hurry up translates to working hard and doing my best. Getting Market Colors set up for success. And then waiting on God to work and fill in the gaps. This has let me depend on Him every step of the way and it keeps me humble… relying on Him to do far more than I am capable of. In these seasons of waiting, we can come before God and ask Him to do more than we can even think or imagine. To pray the big, scary prayers. To let God grow you and shape your future in these times of stillness.

So we work hard and seek God hard. And then we wait. We wait upon the Lord. We trust Him for his perfect timing.

Max Lucado writes: "His job is to fight. Our job is to trust. Just trust. Not direct. Or question... our job is to pray and wait."

The first craftsmen have been found. The products have been ordered. The production has begun. Now we prepare. We pray and wait.