In 2012, Chrissie Lam had just left her job in corporate fashion and was on the hunt for something more. It was in Kenya that she discovered what that might be. As a fashion marketer and creative director, Lam knew she could help the woman of Kenya’s Maasai tribe turn their beautiful beadwork into an international sensation. By merging her background and network in design with international development, she did just that.
Lam worked with the Maasai tribe to design a bracelet emblazoned with a single powerful word: LOVE. The ultimate goal being to create jobs for their community. She brought the bracelet with her on her world travels. Chrissie chose the word “love” because it is universal; relatable to everyone in the world. It is the common thread that connects us all.
On a flight to Moscow she struck up a conversation with two women and asked them: What does love mean to you?
The original LOVE bracelet that traveled all around the world, worn by hundreds of people.
It was the question with infinite answers. This brief encounter led to hundreds more. Lam documented love stories everywhere she went, and eventually shared them on social media. Posts about the LOVE bracelet attracted up to 240,000 likes on Instagram. An Indiegogo campaign aiming to raise capital for the LOVE bracelet line drew in over $33,000—exceeding its modest goal of $5,000 by 657%. Corporate partnerships with American Eagle Outfitters and Whole Foods Market soon followed. The first large-scale orders created over 400 jobs in Kenya alone. Within a year, a concept bracelet and viral marketing campaign became The Love Is Project.
This in turn, attracted Discovery Channel’s Seeker network to highlight Chrissie’s love stories and definitions around the world in an online segment.
The Love Is Project has since grown into a global organization, providing 1,200 female artisans in 10 countries with jobs, and generating almost $2 million in sales. The company has been featured on Good Morning America, CNN, Refinery29, Glamour, Elle, and Oprah Magazine. Bella Thorne, Jessica Stein and other notables have been spotted wearing LOVE on their wrists. In Glamour magazine’s cover story, Anne Hathaway, proudly wearing her own rainbow love bracelet and confesses, “I’m more loving now, and that includes toward myself.”
American Eagle Outfitters (US & UK)
American Eagle Outfitters ordered 20,000 LOVE bracelets for February 2015 US & UK launch, creating over 400 jobs with an initial $200,000 order. Each order translated into real earnings for thousands of Maasai and their families.
Whole Foods Market (US & UK)
Whole Foods Market launch green LOVE bracelets beginning June 2015 in their US & UK stores, matching AE's order.
We collaborated with Colette Paris on limited edition French LOVE bracelets coinciding with Bob Melet’s installation and Fashion Week. Developed #loveisproject takeovers in Paris & London, involving local and international artists, photographers & filmmakers documenting love in their cities.
What started as a personal passion project began to blossom into a global movement of love. With all the growth and media attention, Lam and her team have been able to spread the love even more. In 2018, The Love is Project donated 1,600 bracelets to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in the wake of the tragic school shooting. With the wave of homegrown gun violence, the brewing racial and religious intolerance and international terrorism, supporters around the world resonate with the Love Is Project’s message of love, acceptance and empathy in defiance towards negativity.
The success of the project showed an appetite for something different. Technology keeps us connected, yet we are disconnected in real life. This was an experiment in connection.
This year, Love Is Project will be a proud sponsor of the 20th Anniversary Marathon in Lewa, Kenya, focusing on efforts in wildlife, conservation and community. In addition, Love Is Project was selected as gift to be included in the VIP swag bags for the Cannes Film Festival.
Above all, they’ve helped thousands of women achieve economic independence, educational opportunities, steady work at fair wages, and so much more.
Our “Pay It Forward” social enterprise model extends this concept to empower artisan communities worldwide in an ethical supply chain of love. Sales from the Kenya line will continue to sustain economic development for the women of the Maasai & Samburu tribes while profits fund new initiatives in Indonesia, Ecuador, Bhutan, India, Vietnam, Guatemala, Colombia and Mexico. We look forward to continue growing the story of love to other countries and communities.
The people that Lam has encountered and lives that the Love Is Project has touched since that first flight to Moscow has never stopped growing.
Which leads to The Greatest Love Story Ever Told, a photo book filled with vibrant imagery and inspiring stories documented over the many years of this project. The book is fittingly slated for release on Valentine’s Day 2020.
“This book is a collection of stories from my last five years of travel and work with female artisans around the world,” says Lam, “It encapsulates so much of what makes The Love Is Project meaningful. This book also gives readers a first-hand look at the unique cultures, talented artists and inspiring people who bring The Love Is Project to life every day. As I collected these stories, I realized I had the makings of an exceptional book. A book about romance, humor, family, triumph, and dreaming big. The profiles of the people in this book give voice to positivity and humanize different cultures around the world. The Greatest Love Story Ever Told seeks to inspire the reader to foster deeper, more meaningful connections.”
We hope you will join us on our journey!
LOVE connects us all!