Carrying the Story

Back to School! August 08 2017, 0 Comments

August brings with it hot sunny weather, sweet summer memories, and of course, back to school shopping. You might be in the midst of buying crayons, glue, notebooks, textbooks, or even a mini fridge or microwave as you prepare for your student to return to school. Whether you’re in the crayons and paper stage or you’re sending your student off to college, Re:new is the perfect place to pick up something special for your student! Here are some great ideas as the back to school season approaches:

Color makes a simple project that much more enjoyable! Stock your student’s backpack with our colorful Journals and Pencil Zips, so that they’re ready with supplies when inspiration strikes.

Journal Zips

Pencil Zips

Our Lanyards, Leather Tassels, and Wristlet Bands are perfect for a new driver or forgetful student - when their keys are attached to one of these, they’ll be much easier to find in a backpack or purse.


Leather Tassels

Leather Wristlet

Your student’s laptop is vital to their success. It holds class projects, papers, appointment reminders, and memories, so make sure it’s protected in our Edison Sleeve!

Edison Laptop Sleeve

Our Carry-Alls and Dopp Kits are perfect for college students! Ideal for storing makeup or other toiletries, these are necessities for anyone living in the dorms. Beautifully crafted in a multitude of fun fabrics, they make wonderful gifts.


Dopp Kits

Leather Eyeglass Cases are a perfect gift for any student needing to protect their shades.

Leather Eyeglass Cases

And to protect your student ID we’ve got the perfect thing! Make sure your student never loses their ID when they stow it in our ID Wallet.  

ID Wallets

By purchasing a Re:new product for your student, you’re not only gifting something meaningful and unique, but you are leading by example as you create a thoughtful reminder to always care for others. Your purchase provides a space for refugee women to thrive as they build a new life here in the United States. Each product you purchase from Re:new is lovingly crafted by our talented refugee Artisans in our Glen Ellyn studio. Stop by to make a purchase or take a tour!

Parkview Church Partners with Re:new July 24 2017, 0 Comments

Here at Re:new, we are familiar with community engagement - the support we receive from volunteers, businesses, and organizations is special, and it’s vital to our daily work.

We would like to recognize one of our partners, Parkview Church, for their care and love in coming alongside us and our mission. To date, Parkview has placed large special orders, made significant financial contributions, purchased dozens of items off of our Artisan Wish list, and included Re:new as a partner during their Everybody Does community service event. Parkview Church sets the standard for community engagement.

Parkview Church and Re:new

Pastor Kim Whetstone has been a vital connection in the partnership between Re:new and Parkview, and she generously agreed to a Q&A about Parkview’s involvement with Re:new! Continue reading for her thoughtful insights into Parkview Church, Re:new, and our shared mission of helping refugee women thrive.

How did you discover us?

I ran into Susan a few years ago at a local refugee awareness event. Susan and I went to seminary together and share a common passion for welcoming our refugee neighbors and ministry which acknowledges the inherent dignity in each human. As a pastor who had been praying about how our church might engage with the global refugee crisis, it was truly God's perfect timing. This "happenstance" meeting was my introduction to the amazing work and women of Re:new.

When did you start working with Re:new? What sparked that partnership?

Our work with Re:new began within the last couple years, when Re:new needed a place to hold a refugee simulation experience fundraising event. Unbeknownst to me, a few women from Parkview had been serving with Re:New for quite some time. They were key point people in pointing on the event, and Parkview simply provided the space. During the event, as the lights flashed and the sounds of gunfire and bombs filled the sanctuary, I sat in the back next to a woman, a former refugee. Tears came to her eyes, and she shook, as she recalled the oppression, violence and loss she had experienced in her home country.  The pain, strength, hope and resilience I saw in her reminded me of the scars, smiles and strengths of the families I had worked with at World Relief 10 years prior, when I served there as an intern. While I had never stopped sharing the work of local refugee organizations, I had been praying for 10 years, that God would open the door for my faith community to engage more deeply and intentionally. As the former refugee woman shared her story, she talked about the need for community and support, explaining the reasons why she financially invested in the work of Re:new--because Re:new provides a community in which women can heal. That night, my prayers shifted from, "God how might you use us?" to "God help us to be a community--true friends and neighbors to the women of Re:New."

Pastor Kim Whetstone with Re:new Project

Tell us about how you’ve seen the relationship between Re:new and Parkview Church evolve. What excites you the most?

From this new prayer, we offered our women's ministry one challenge, "How might you take the women who are learning so much here in Bible Study and mobilize them to take the next step in their faith journey and engage with our neighbors, our refugee neighbors, more deeply?" It was from this request, that we decided to partner with the women of Re:new to make 100 bags, filled with hygiene products, for newly arriving refugee women. We held cutting events where the artisans of Re:New taught our ladies how to cut out the patterns for the bags. The cut materials were then taken by the ladies of Re:new and turned into a finish tote. Our goal with each step has been to do everything in partnership, truly together, so we could build understanding, mutual respect and ultimately, long lasting relationships.

In December, our church decided to engage with the global refugee crisis on a large scale and became financial partners with Re:new. We told the story of Re:new, the artisans and sold Re:new products in our lobby. It was a powerful breakthrough to see our people love and learn from our refugee neighbors locally, regionally and globally.

This summer, after a year of relationship building, we were able to celebrate the end of Ramadan Feast with the artisans of Re:new. It was truly a gift to eat delicious foods from around the world, learn about Ramadan, share stories about our families and belly laugh together. This year, we continue our partnership with Re:new, with our greatest goal being to simply continue building friendships. Each month, women from Parkview and women from Re:new will meet for a potluck meal. In that sacred space, together around the table, we will dream of how we may impact women in DuPage county and around the world.  

Parkview Church has done a wonderful job of coming alongside Re:new in many facets of our mission. Can you speak to your community’s heart for local ministry, especially as it relates to our mission?

At Parkview, it is our desire to fulfill the command of Christ, to love God and love our neighbor, in each area of our lives. We simply want to live like Jesus and love like he did. Most days, it simply means seeing your neighbor, hearing their story, having a cup of coffee and being willing to enter into the messiness of another person's life and letting them enter into the messiness of ours. In this messiness, Jesus shows up and together, we heal, we laugh, we grow, we thrive. What I value about Re:new, is they live into this beautiful messiness everyday. In creating a safe space for women to share life stories, learn a new skill, refine an old skill and provide for their families, women who have witnessed the darkest evil this world can dish out, begin to thrive.

Pastor Kim Whetstone and Re:new

Sometimes the issues that refugees deal with on a daily basis seem distant, because we don’t have to deal with them ourselves. Have you seen awareness grow in your community as Parkview continues to partner with Re:new?

Through our partnership with Re:new the people of Parkview are learning in ever-increasing way that the refugee crisis is not something "over there" that doesn't impact us, but rather the refugee crisis is right our own backyard. Further, when we see refugees struggling as merely images on the news, it is easy to dehumanize and through our own brokenness make assumptions about people's stories and histories. Through our partnership, the people of Parkview are learning even more deeply the war, violence, genocide and oppression that led to our refugee neighbors to flee was not contingent on education, finances, resources or family, but rather because of hate and injustice violence and oppression happened. Doctors, nurses, business women, engineers, cooks, caregivers and teachers, like you and me, lost their homes, all their belongings, and moreover, their mothers, fathers, spouses and children because of their ethnicity, skin color or religious beliefs. At Parkview, our partnership has reminded us of our common humanity...because it could be you and it could be me. Who would be Jesus to us? Who would welcome us? 

Where do you see Parkview’s partnership with Re:new going next?

Our hands are open. We continue to pray, love, build friendship and think creatively alongside the artisan team to see how we may serve others together. Who knows what God will do! :)

Finally, do you have a favorite Re:new product?

I love the clutch. It is amazing. I love the variety looks with the beautiful colors of fabric.

$5000 Match Gift for Friends of Re:new! June 20 2017, 0 Comments

Every day, families are uprooted by the thousands and forced to flee their homes in order to escape war and persecution. They give up everything they are familiar with in order to protect their families.

At Re:new, we are familiar with this. Each of our Artisans is a refugee and has dealt with the confusion and difficulty that comes with having one’s life uprooted. We stand in solidarity with them and thousands of others who have similar stories. Keep reading to learn about valuable ways that you can partner with refugees, and help carry the story.

The UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, is striving to provide these families with a safe and hopeful future. World Refugee Day (June 20) has been created to support a petition expressing the undeniable need to care for refugees.

“The petition asks governments to:

  • Ensure every refugee child gets an education.
  • Ensure every refugee family has somewhere safe to live.
  • Ensure every refugee can work or learn new skills to make a positive contribution to their community.”


Today, join the campaign by signing the petition and using the hashtag #WithRefugees to add your voice to the expression of solidarity, and to remind governments all over the world that we all have a shared responsibility to care for our refugee neighbors.


If you’re looking for an even more tangible way to support refugees, please consider joining the Friends of Re:new. In honor of World Refugee Day, an anonymous donor is offering a $5,000 match gift to all new donors who join the Friends of Re:new in the month of June!

The Friends of Re:new is a monthly giving commitment that supplements the day-to-day operational expenses of Re:new, as well as supporting activities that enhance the professional and personal development of the Artisan team. Click here to find out how just $15 per month could impact your refugee neighbors!

Re:new stands #WithRefugees. Stand with us.


Limited Edition Touch A Life Collection June 13 2017, 0 Comments


Last Christmas, Re:new received an amazing and colorful gift of batik textiles from our friends at Touch A Life!

The textiles had been created and crafted by hand in Ghana, West Africa, at the Touch A Life Care Center in Kumasi. The Center is home to 80 children who have been rescued from forced labor and exploitation. Touch A Life develops creative ways to bring healing and empowerment to those who are suffering, exploited and at-risk around the world. The Touch A Life Care Center is the only long-term care facility for child survivors of forced labor in Ghana.

Batik is a traditional method of creating patterned textiles. Each piece of fabric is stamped by hand with wooden stamps dipped in hot wax. The fabric is then submerged in dye and the wax is rinsed off revealing a pattern.

Emmanuel, Touch A Life’s Art Center Assistant, leads the batik process and loves to share his craft with the the older children in the program.


As Re:new provides a safe space for refugee women to thrive, Touch A Life provides a safe haven for vulnerable children and young adults to grow. The oldest Touch A Life students participate in a program called Life Academy, where they are taking steps toward independence with life skills, therapy, literacy classes and the Sewing Collective. The Sewing Collective teaches students to produce bags and home decor products using mudcloth, leather and batik fabric.


There are so many parallels between Touch A Life and Re:new. Both nonprofits are empowering and training women and children to lead productive, meaningful lives while fulfilling their hopes and dreams.

We are thrilled to be part of the Touch A Life Global Family and we hope you enjoy the limited edition Touch A Life Collection featuring beautiful handmade fabric from Ghana.

Each bag was created in our studio by the amazing refugee Artisans at Re:new. As always, your purchase provides employment and community for refugee women resettled in DuPage County.


We are so grateful for this partnership and with each purchase, Re:new will donate 20% to Touch A Life. You can find the collection here. For more information on Touch A Life’s efforts, visit

Special Event With Blue Meets Blue April 04 2017, 0 Comments

Looking for something fun to do on Saturday, May 6th?

Come on over to the Re:new Store+Studio and take part in our first combined boutique show.

We're partnering with the wonderful women of Blue Meets Blue to showcase handcrafted, beautiful apparel + handbags + accessory items --- all handcrafted by refugee women resettled in the Chicagoland area.

Visit our Eventbrite page to learn more and to purchase tickets to this private event!

Have You Seen 4.1 Miles? February 19 2017, 0 Comments

4.1 Miles from The New York Times - Video on Vimeo.


4.1 miles is a powerful documentary.  It is raw and difficult to watch, but it is reality.

4.1 miles --- the distance from Turkey to Greece via the Aegean Sea. Carrying men, women, and children who are running…

Running from terror.

Running from war.

Running from persecution.

Running from bombs and guns and bullets.

Running from ISIS.

4.1 miles --- the distance through which rubber rafts designed for 30 are transporting more than 100 men, women, and children desperate to escape the death that is certain to come if they remained on dry land.

Members of our global family, these traumatized men, women, and children witnessed family members shot and executed simply for being (Christian/Muslim/Syrian/Women/Etc.); watched bombs destroy their homes, schools, businesses, and villages; and experienced all the comforts they’d spent a lifetime working to achieve --- family, community, education, wealth --- destroyed by war.

Imagine the gravity of the circumstances they fled from, risking life for the prospect of safety and refuge from a hopeless situation if this treacherous journey of 4.1 miles is the ONLY viable option.

For those who oppose the resettlement of refugees in the United States, the men, women, and children in this documentary represent the thousands of fully vetted refugee families forced to flee their homeland because they are victims of terrorism and war.

Forgive us, Jesus, for closing our borders to the precious people who need protection the most.

Forgive us, Jesus, for closing the door of opportunity to the precious people who need a safe place to rebuild all they have lost.

Forgive us, Jesus, for turning our backs on the precious people who represent the fabric of our country: hardworking, creative, self-motivated, generous, and community focused immigrants.

Now is the time to support refugees and immigrants.

Now is the time to volunteer.

Now is the time to give financially to support the work of agencies rescuing thousands of displaced families, on the front line (like preemptivelovecoalition, worldrelief, A21) and those serving refugees here in the United States (like renewproject, exodusworldservice, syriancommunitynetwork, refugeeone).

Now is the time to pray – for peace, for shelter, for resources, for pathways to rescue and resettlement.

Now --- Not tomorrow. Not next week. Not next month.


Visit us:

In partnership,

Susan Tripi DeLano
Executive Director

We're Hiring! December 28 2016, 0 Comments

Production Director Job Description

The Production Director oversees the flow and creation of product from design through completion, working in tandem with the Studio Manager and Production Team. An integral position to the overall operation of Re:new, the Production Director works closely with the Executive Team to ensure timely delivery of product for the Re:new store, special orders, events, and online merchandising. 

Job Hours Type: Part Time (15-20 hours/week)

Compensation: Non-salaried; include hourly requirement with resume.

Application Deadline: January 31, 2017

Position Details:

  1. Production Cycle – Coordinate with Sales Director and Executive Team to anticipate fulfillment of weekly production requests, as well as facilitating new product design in keeping with seasons (Spring/Fall) and product upgrades
  2. Special Orders – Serve as the point-of-contact for processing special orders
  3. Studio Culture – Nurture relationship with Artisans that fosters professional growth in all aspects of production, as appropriate
  4. Administrative – Improve internal systems and flow charts for tracking product movement; facilitate training and communication with Studio Manager and Production Team volunteers for project pipeline and deadlines.

    Skills Required:

    • Strong organization and time management skills
    • Ability to adapt to a fast-paced environment, adjusting priorities to fit agency needs
    • Ability to give direction to Studio and production teams
    • Strong communication skills (verbal and written)
    • Strong teamwork and interpersonal skills
    • Strong customer service skills
    • Demonstrate passion for the mission of Re:new and embracing refugee women
    • Willingness to uphold the mission, vision, and values of Re:new
    • Knowledge of sewing or previous sewing skills desired (but not necessary)


    To apply, please submit a cover letter, resume, and the names of two references to before January 31, 2017.

    Contact Email:


    Adjusted Hours for the Holidays December 21 2016, 0 Comments

    Do you need a break around the holidays? We do too!

    To allow our dedicated volunteers and staff time to travel and visit with family on Christmas and New Years, our store+studio will be CLOSED beginning Friday, December 23rd, reopening Monday, January 2, 2017.

    Our online store is always open. And, you get an extra break when we take our Christmas break! Our entire online collection will be 25% off from December 23 - January 1.

    We hope you have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

    See you in 2017!

    Give A Gift That Offers Hope To Refugee Women December 15 2016, 0 Comments

    It has been an exciting year for Re:new Project. In our new home in the downtown business district of Glen Ellyn, we’ve had the privilege of introducing many new customers to the mission and purpose of Re:new: to create a space for refugee women to thrive.

    Thrive like Fatma, who started her journey with Re:new in 2009 when our doors first opened. A refugee from Somalia, Fatma fled her homeland during a time of intense political conflict. Fatma spent twelve long years waiting to be resettled someplace safe. Fatma arrived in the United States, raising five small children on her own when she enrolled in our very first New Student Sewing Class. Because of the care, comfort, and encouragement showered upon her by our volunteers, Fatma remained with Re:new, finding community, friendship, and employment to help ease her financial burdens. With encouragement from our caring volunteers, Fatma is blossoming professionally and personally. Advancing through the Artisan Development programs, Fatma was recently promoted to Studio Manager, overseeing the day-to-day operations of the Studio, while mentoring all the Artisans with her gentle, compassionate nature. Last year, Fatma became a first-time homeowner. This year, she will graduate two children from community college (both of whom plan to pursue higher education to earn a Master’s Degree).

    We wish we could say that Fatma’s journey from persecution to healing is an isolated case; however there are thousands of refugees living in Illinois who are rebuilding their lives, just like Fatma.

    Each year 70,000 refugees are resettled in the United States -- all were forced to flee their homeland because of persecution, political instability or the impact of war. Every precious refugee woman who graces the doorway of Re:new knows firsthand the suffering caused by violent uprooting – loss of family, community, occupation, finances, health, and educational status, to name just a few.

    This is where Re:new Project is helping refugee women to heal the broken pieces of their lives. At a time when community, safety, and a strong support system is needed most, Re:new is there.

    Our desire is to provide a safe refuge for more refugee women in 2017.

    Will you prayerfully consider supporting Re:new Project with a stretch gift as we strive to raise $100,000 through our year-end appeal?

    Here’s how your gift will be used:

    • $55,000 – the cost to employ and promote more women in the Artisan Development programs. Full funding will cover the expenses associated with hiring two new refugee women from the New Student Sewing Class onto the Artisan team and promoting three women to the next professional level within the Artisan team.

    • $45,000 – the cost of increased operational expenses. We incurred a 65% increase in rent and utilities in our new home in the downtown Glen Ellyn community. Full funding will cover the cost of providing the precious women in the Artisan Development programs and New Student Sewing Class with a dignified, nurturing, and peaceful workspace, while also allowing Re:new a platform to reach out to the greater community to develop partnerships, foster relationships between customers and their refugee neighbors, and connect resources for the women in our programs.

    In addition to purchasing our handcrafted products, your financial partnership allows the precious, refugee women in our programs a safe space in which to heal from past trauma as they work to rebuild their lives in the United States --- women who plan to complete their GED, earn their Citizenship, attend community college, provide a stable and safe environment for their children to flourish, launch their own business, or support their children through college.

    To support Re:new Project with a year-end gift, please visit our website or send a check to 483 N. Main Street, Glen Ellyn, IL 60137.

    Blessings this Christmas season!


    Celebrating One Year in Downtown Glen Ellyn with a Giveaway! October 28 2016, 0 Comments

    Help us celebrate our one year anniversary in our new space in downtown Glen Ellyn at 483 N. Main Street.

    We are so thankful to be part of a thriving downtown community and we want to share our joy with you!

    Stop in during the month of November and enter our weekly raffle. Each week we will be giving away a limited edition Carry The Story zip handcrafted by our amazing refugee Artisans. Just drop off your business card or contact information in the designated jar in our store. (Each week’s winner will be chosen at random. Winner need not be present and no purchase necessary.)

    We look forward to seeing you!

    Volunteer Spotlight August 08 2016, 0 Comments

    Carol and Ella are two of our wonderful volunteers who are involved on the Design team at Re:new. Ella started volunteering in February of this year while Carol has been volunteering for about two years now. What is special about these two is that Ella is Carol’s granddaughter! While in the Studio designing, they love to bounce ideas off of one another and really trust each other’s opinion. Carol and Ella are quite the talented duo!


    Q: What prompted you to start volunteering at Re:new?

    Ella: The environment. I liked coming here because it’s a safe place for me. I also liked spending time with my Grandma so that’s why I originally started coming.

    Carol: My daughter Sue Roman (Re:new’s office manager) is the reason that I started coming. Then I watched the design process and thought that it looked like fun and thought ‘hmm maybe I could do that’. It is also such a positive environment and all the women who volunteer here are so generous with their time, it inspires me to do the same.


    Q: (Ella) Out of all the extracurricular activities that are available at your age, why do you choose to spend your time at Re:new?

     E: It’s a safe place for me and everyone here is like family, which makes it really enjoyable. I also like getting to be creative with the different bags I design and spending time with my Grandma.


     Q: What is your favorite part of designing and what item is your favorite to design?

     E: My favorite product to design is the Oxford wallet. My style is more contemporary; I like to use black, white, and gray fabrics as much as I can. My favorite part of the design process is seeing the bags that I designed displayed out in the store.

     C: My favorite is the Keeto. And I like to use a lot of color and match the colors together. My bags are more color coordinated than Ella’s. Ella’s bags are a bit more eccentric in the fact that she puts patterns together that I would never pick out. But they always look great once they are pieced together! Other people can decipher between the bags we make because our styles are different. They can pick out which ones I’ve made and which ones Ella has made.


     Q: What is your favorite part about working with each other?

     C & E: Being able to have conversation with each other while we work and get closer through this experience. While designing we get a lot of chances to have really good conversations and quality time together.


    Q: What is the greatest takeaway from the time you have spent at Re:new?

    E: The artisans. They are all so encouraging and love giving design advice. They are super laid back and never mind when we interrupt them to talk or ask questions.

    C: I also love hearing them laugh. I love to see all the joy they have while in the studio especially knowing that their lives have not been easy. They truly are an inspiration to be around.


    Join Us For Our Third Annual World Refugee Day Event - June 17, 2016 May 18 2016, 0 Comments

    Every day thousands of men, women, and children are forced to their homeland because of external circumstances beyond their control. REFUGE is a powerful, interactive event that offers the opportunity to enter into a refugee's experience of seeking safety from political instability, persecution or the impact of war.

    Join us on Friday, June 17, for REFUGE, our annual fundraising event celebrating World Refugee Day and the amazing team of refugee women served in our Artisan Development Programs. Hosted in partnership with Exodus World Service and Parkview Community ChurchREFUGE, begins at 6:30pm, with registration at 6:00pm.

    This interactive event is perfect for groups and families to experience together. 

    For more information, please visit our Eventbrite registration page: Refuge By Re:new. (

    Tickets may be purchased online or in our Store+Studio (483 N. Main Street, Glen Ellyn).

    Caring For Mother Earth While Empowering Refugee Women April 22 2016, 0 Comments

    Happy Earth Day!

    At Re:new, we believe in the value of caring for women, families, our neighbors and the environment. We recognize that because we live in an interconnected world, neglecting one aspect of our shared humanity inevitably impacts all the others. We choose to build partnerships that foster hope, respect and empowerment for refugees and for the community at large. And this includes our fabric partners.

    Inspired by collaboration and resourcefulness, we are grateful for the businesses (and countless individuals!) that support our mission by donating fabric samples, remnants and bolts to us every week.

    We receive thousands of yards of fabric throughout the year, which sustains our work in so many ways and saves many pounds of textiles from ending up in a landfill. Most of the beautiful, high-quality fabrics donated to Re:new are placed in our Design Center where they are transformed by our Artisans into one-of-a-kind handbags, wallets and accessories. Some of the fabric is directed to the New Student Sewing Class to assist the refugee women learning to sew to earn a place on the Artisan team. And some is passed along to the women on the Artisan team for personal use in home.

    In honor of Earth Day, we’d like to thank the following businesses that partner with Re:new to empower refugees and show care for the environment. We are truly grateful for your generous support!

    •  Arhaus
    • Chase Upholstery
    • Chicago Design Team
    • Crate and Barrel
    • Design d’Vision
    • Drapery Connection
    • Ethan Allen
    • Isaac’s Upholstering
    • King’s Mill
    • Tom’s-Price
    • Walter E. Smithe





    A Creative Partnership Supporting Refugees April 16 2016, 0 Comments

    We all have gifts, skills, talents and passion within us. How we choose to direct our attention and energy is uniquely different. Today, we're proud to share a partnership that we hope will inspire you to think about how you can use your gifts, skills, talents and passion to engage the refugee community in your area.

    After learning about Re:new Project at church, Rochelle Jordan felt compelled to get involved in a way that made sense to her and fit her busy schedule. An independent consultant for Jamberry Nails, Rochelle approached Re:new with a creative offer: to host an online Jamberry party as a means to raise funds for Re:new. Brilliant and creative!

    The online Jamberry fundraiser will run from April 18 - April 22

    Don't miss out on all the exciting discounts, prizes and special offers that will take place. 


    Please welcome Rochelle Jordan to the Re:new blog!

    Re:new: Hello Rochelle. Thank you so much for partnering with Re:new in this very creative way to support the refugee women in our programs. How did you hear about Re:new?

    RJ: I heard about Re:new Project in Westbrook Church when the director spoke during our Sunday service.

    Re:new: In what way did learning about our mission impact you?

    RJ: I think Re:new is doing an amazing job in supporting refugee women. Your mission is something very close to my heart because I believe that everyone deserves a chance to thrive and live a happy life regardless of where they are, where they came from, and how broken they were by difficult circumstances. Watching the news on refugee situations breaks my heart.

    Re:new: Can you share a little bit about why you felt so inspired to host a fundraiser on behalf of Re:new?

    RJ: When I heard your director share stories about the refugees empowered by Re:new, I just couldn't stand the thought of not helping in any way. As soon as the service was over that Sunday, I went to the lobby and purchased a handcrafted clutch. When I got home, I kept thinking about Re:new and the fundraiser idea came to my mind. My life is blessed and comfortable, and it humbles me to think these women braved the storm to get to the United States, for a second chance at life. I want to help give them that second chance.

    Re:new: Tell us about Jamberry Nails and how long you have been a consultant?

    RJ: Jamberry is a company that empowers women by providing an opportunity to earn extra income, be part of a community of supportive women, and express our style and personality through our nails. The products are salon quality, are made in the USA, and don't contain harsh chemicals. Plus, they are cheaper than going to the salon. I signed up to become a consultant in March. Honestly, my primary reason for signing up at the time was the discount available on the Consultant Kit, hahaha. However, once I experienced the sisterhood in my team, the power that I have to give other women the opportunity to launch their own business, and the monetary contributions I can give through fundraisers to support local charities, I realized that I love being a consultant!

    Re:new: Rochelle, thank you for using your business as a Jamberry consultant to support Re:new in a simple way that will inspire others to think about how they can do the same.

    Click here to join the fun and participate in the online Jamberry fundraiser for Re:new Project.

    Celebrate Women's History Month with a $10,000 Match Gift Challenge March 08 2016, 0 Comments

    March is Women’s History Month —a time to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women around the world. We can think of no better way to celebrate the strength, resilience, dedication and compassion of the refugee women served by Re:new than to announce a $10,000 matching gift challenge!



    That’s right: a $10,000 match gift challenge.

    Thanks to a very generous donor who believes strongly in the mission of Re:new, every dollar YOU donate will be matched -- up to $10,000.

    Wow (and happy dance)!!

    A gift of this magnitude will enable Re:new to: 

    • Expand our Artisan Development Programs by employing more women. Right now, the New Student Sewing Class is full with several women ready to graduate onto the Artisan team. 
    • Promote several Artisans to the next level within the Artisan team.
    • Hire a Production Director. With several special projects in the works this year and a growing customer base in the downtown Glen Ellyn community, we recognize the need to transition this very crucial role from a volunteer capacity to a staff position.  

    Will you partner with us to make these important steps of growth happen? 

    The $10,000 match gift is available during the month of March only. So act now.

    You can show your support through three simple steps:

    1. Online donations are accepted through our website: 
    2. Mail a check to: 483 N. Main Street, Glen Ellyn, IL 60137
    3. Turn your one-time gift into a sustainability pledge by joining the Friends of Re:new society.

    All month long we will feature Re:new highlights, share Artisan stories and offer insights that provide a glimpse into the ways we create a space for refugee women to thrive!

    Grand Opening Celebration February 27 2016, 0 Comments

    We can hardly believe we've been a part of the downtown Glen Ellyn community for four months already! After a very busy and successful holiday shopping season, and settling into our new home at 483 N. Main Street, it's time to throw a party!

    Join us as we celebrate our Grand Opening.

    Beginning Monday, February 29th thru Saturday, March 5th, stop by our store (or visit our online collections) for exclusive promotions -- including the chance to win a coupon to design your own bag.

    Be sure to follow us on Facebook to receive special announcements featuring discounts on a "Deal of the Day" each morning.

    As part of the week long celebration, the Glen Ellyn Chamber of Commerce will conduct a Ribbon Cutting ceremony on Friday, March 4th at 12:00noon. This event is open to the public and we invite you to attend.

    Throughout our Grand Opening activities, we are excited to share an opportunity to serve the Teen Parent Connection by hosting a collection drive for baby supplies to support the Parents' Pantry program for new parents. Receive 10% off your Re:new purchase just by donating any of the following items to the collection: diapers, baby wipes, formula, rash cream, thermometers, baby first aid kits.

    We look forward to celebrating with you!

    Introducing the Weekender Bag! February 16 2016, 0 Comments

    The story of the Weekender Bag is a story of friendship, creativity, and collaboration. Ideas for new products come from many places – sometimes you, our customers, suggest things you would like to see Re:new carry in our store. Volunteers and staff come up with ideas. And sometimes our Artisans will bring a design that they have created at home. The Weekender Bag is a combination of all of these ideas!

    One day, one of our customers suggested they wished we carried an overnight bag. We talked about it in staff meeting, and one of our store volunteers, Sandy Gum, brought in a duffel type bag as an idea. Holly Setran, our sewing manager, took that bag and used it as the inspiration for the pattern for the Weekender.

    To help polish up the prototype and speak into the production process, we chose an Artisan who would become the “expert” on making the bag, assisting with design and finalizing the prototype. Gyulnara was chosen, and she was excited! Shortly after Gyulnara reviewed the pattern and first prototype with Holly, she suggested some design changes and additions. Together Holly and Gyulnara worked through several prototypes, each time Gyulnara “tweaking” an aspect of the bag until it became the bag we sell today!

    After finalizing the design, Gyulnara then became the “expert” on the bag, teaching the other Artisans how to cut and sew it, answering any questions they had in the sewing process. And even though we call it “the Weekender," in the sewing Studio, it is referred to as “Gyulnara’s bag." She loves sewing them and each day checks the store to see which ones have sold!

    Gyulnara is Turkish and was a refugee in Russia for many years, where, because of her ethnicity, she was not allowed to own or carry any official papers. Life was very challenging as she and her family were granted very limited freedom. Gyulnara is an amazing woman, who speaks 9 languages (no, that is not a typo!) and is a trained midwife, delivering countless babies over 25 years. Gyulnara came to the U.S. in 2005 with her husband and children.

    Gyulnara loves creating at Re:new and also enjoys sewing for her family at home. When you buy the Weekender Bag, you “carry the story” of Gyulnara, helping to provide a place for her to grow and thrive in creativity, job skills, and in relationships. So thank you!

    If you are interested in purchasing a Weekender Bag, please click HERE to see our online collection!

    Be a part of Friends of Re:new! December 29 2015, 0 Comments

    Dear Friend,

    It’s a wonderful time to be a part of the Re:new community! Whether part of Re:new’s online community of shoppers, or customers who frequent our Store + Studio, or whether a generous business or personal friend who supports our programs to refugee women with donations of time, volunteerism, or contributions, we are so grateful for you! It is because of your support that so many exciting transitions occurred for our nonprofit organization in 2015, providing the groundwork for continued growth in 2016.

    Together, we accomplished a lot for the precious refugee Artisans and Re:new in 2015:

    • Gloria fulfilled a dream of launching her own floral business.
    • Ibtisam enrolled full-time in community college to pursue her dream in fashion design.
    • Fatma fulfilled a dream of becoming a homeowner.
    • We expanded special partnerships to include six Whole Foods locations in the Chicagoland area.
    • We produced an upcycled travel bag for United Airlines, designed by students from the Columbia College School of Fashion in Chicago.
    • We increased the New Student Sewing Class to two mornings of training per week.
    • We moved from our home in the Wheaton College East Campus building into a storefront in downtown Glen Ellyn on Main Street, the heart of the retail district.

    While our primary mission is to create a space for refugee women to thrive by offering a safe, dignified, and fun work environment, we are excited to do more for these precious refugee women and their families in 2016.

    In 2016, we dream to:
    • Train and employ more refugee women.
    • Offer scholarship assistance to Artisans enrolled in ESL, GED, or Community College.
    • Expand Artisan care, management and development programs.

    In order to achieve our goals and increase our impact, we are introducing Friends of Re:new.

    Friends of Re:new is made up of caring individuals who have a heart to help refugee families thrive by providing financial contributions on a monthly basis. In short, Friends of Re:new is the vehicle that connects compassionate donors with tangible opportunities to impact refugees resettled in DuPage County, Illinois.

    A very generous supporter of Re:new is offering a $10,000 match gift challenge to all new members of Friends of Re:new. 

    For every new commitment made to Friends of Re:new, the entire year sum will be matched upfront.

    This means your monthly gift of $25 becomes $300. Your recurring gift of $50 becomes $600. Your ongoing gift of $100 becomes $1,200.

    In this month of December, during the Christmas season, we are looking to raise 50 Friends who will support Re:new at $50 per month. 50 Friends at $50 monthly will generate $30,000 in additional revenue, allowing Re:new to hire more refugees and expand programs to support their emotional, social, spiritual and economic well-being as they adjust to living in the United States.

    Will you take a step of faith and partner with the precious refugee Artisans by joining our team of monthly supporters, Friends of Re:new?

    For more information on Friends of Re:new, please visit our website by clicking HERE.

    Wishing you a very happy New Year.

    In Partnership,

    Susan Tripi DeLano
    Executive Director
    Re:new Project

    Thank you! October 08 2015, 0 Comments

    With just a few, short weeks until our big move to downtown Glen Ellyn, we are busy sorting, purging, and packing up our current space, as well as painting and remodeling our new home at 483 N. Main Street.

    Over the past few weeks we launched a series of fundraising efforts with a goal of raising $50,000 toward the renovations necessary and short-term capital for a smooth transition. We are so grateful to share that YOU responded with much love and support.

    All of our fundraising efforts inspired $30,075 in direct giving to this exciting stage of growth for Re:new Project and the amazing team of refugee women we serve.


    Because we are so close to reaching our goal, we will leave the CrowdRise funding page up and active for one more week for last minute gifts. All donations after October 14, 2015, can be made by clicking HERE.

    We are grateful for every gift, whether $5 or $10,000, because we know that every gift is a gift of encouragement and love. Every donation communicates to our team of refugee Artisans that the larger community cares for them, supports them, and is cheering for them to thrive in the United States.

    We couldn’t do this without you!

    Re:new is moving! September 15 2015, 0 Comments

    Sometimes opportunities arise as a result of hard work and planning. At other times, wonderful gifts wrapped up in unexpected partnerships seem to fall across Re:new’s path. 

    The latter is certainly the case in this circumstance, and we’re jumping in with both feet!

    It has been a dream to move into the downtown center for several years. The heart of Glen Ellyn’s retail district, Main Street is prime location for expanding any business with easy access to shopping year round. With a strong downtown business alliance, an active Chamber of Commerce presence, and a loyal customer base, we are excited to call 483 N. Main Street our new home. 

    Formerly occupied by the Flour Barrel Bakery, we are humbled to follow such an iconic and successful business, which operated for more than 20 years in this very location. While we’re unable to offer the same array of scrumptious treats and tasty desserts, what you will find at Re:new is a retail space filled with high-quality handbags and accessory items crafted right in our Studio by our amazingly talented refugee Artisans.

    With lots to do and less than eight short weeks until the big move, we are actively planning the remodel and renovations. We are pleased to announce that Amy Storm, of Designstorms, will take the role of lead designer and Tiffany Diaz volunteered to facilitate the myriad of details preparing for this move as the Project Manager.

    Friends, can we ask your help? As a small nonprofit, we are in process of raising the funds necessary to remodel the space and secure short-term capital as we adjust to our new home at 483 N. Main Street. 

    To help raise the anticipated $50,000 required for this wonderfully exciting transition, we are launching a CrowdRise campaign. This campaign will run for only three weeks. Join the excitement and share this campaign with your friends on social media. Together, we can reach this goal; of this I am fully confident. Every donation matters, and every gift of $5, $10, $50, $100+ goes a long way toward reaching this goal.

    Click here to donate:

    On behalf of the amazing refugee Artisans, volunteers and staff of Re:new, we appreciate all that you do to care for refugee families in our community. Every handbag you purchase or donation provided helps to create a space for refugee women to thrive. Moving to downtown Glen Ellyn will enable Re:new to expand our impact by serving more refugees.

    We look forward to sharing more about our move in the weeks ahead. Stay tuned!

    Tent Sale this Saturday! August 10 2015, 0 Comments

    Our 3rd annual Tent Sale will be Saturday, August 15 from 9 am - 4 pm! All of our Summer Styles will be 20-30% off, and if you spend $50 or more, you will receive a $10 off coupon good toward your next purchase of a regularly-priced item.
    Come celebrate the end of summer with us this Saturday!

    Re:new is in the Wells Fargo Works Project Contest! July 07 2015, 0 Comments


    We have some exciting news to share!

    Re:new is eligible to win a $25,000 award from Wells Fargo Bank.

    We recently applied to the Wells Fargo Works Project Contest for small businesses and nonprofits, and our application was accepted! Committed to championing small businesses and nonprofits, the Wells Fargo Works Project Contest is open to small businesses and nonprofits as a means to support capacity growth through a one-time award of $25,000, plus six months of mentoring from a small business consultant.

    Among the thousands of qualified entrants, Re:new made it through Round One!

    Here is how the rest of the Wells Fargo Works Project Contest process works:
    • Round Two: Starting now through Sunday, July 19, 2015, is public voting.
    • Round Three: Applicants receiving the highest number of votes will advance to final judging by a private panel from within Wells Fargo.
    • Winners will be notified in early August.

    Public voting closes Sunday, July 19th, which means we need you to act quickly -- as in right now!

    There are 3 easy ways to show some love and spread the word for Re:new:

    1. VOTE. Using the link below, vote every day. Vote several times a day. Just 2 easy clicks is all it takes to vote each day.
    2. PROMOTE. If you follow Re:new on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, engage in our two-week voting campaign by sharing our posts and retweeting our announcements. (Not a follower of any of our social channels? You are missing out! Sign up right now using the icons below.)
    3. EMAIL. We all know people in our networking circles who have yet to engage the world through Social Media. That’s OK. There’s room for them in this campaign too! Simply forward this email and ask them to vote for Re:new by clicking the link to Re:new’s Wells Fargo Works Project Contest page.

    This is such an exciting opportunity for Re:new and the amazing refugee Artisans we serve. An opportunity to win an award for $25,000 along with six months of professional mentoring from a small business consultant at Wells Fargo will open many doors for continued growth for our “little shop making a big difference.”

    Will you vote today? Just two quick clicks is all it takes! Click here to visit Re:new's page on Wells Fargo's Works Project site and click on the VOTE FOR THIS icon with the heart. That's it! And remember... you can vote several times a day!!!

    Thank you!



    2nd Annual World Refugee Day Celebration Event June 10 2015, 0 Comments

    We invite you to join us as we celebrate World Refugee Day and honor the lives of those impacted by war, persecution, or natural disaster and who seek to build a new life here in our community.

    Date: Friday, June 19th

    Time: 7:00pm - 8:30pm

    Where: Glen Ellyn Bible Church (501 Hillside Ave. Glen Ellyn, IL)

    Cost: FREE (seating is limited and you must register online)

    Be inspired and moved by stories of courage, strength, perseverance, and hope from some amazing refugee artisans. Learn about the struggles and challenges refugees face when first resettled by a World Relief expert. And partner with us to bring hope, healing, and community to a fellow mother, daughter, and sister rebuilding her life right here in our community!

    Register today!!! 

    $5,000 Match Gift Challenge April 27 2015, 0 Comments

    We have some exciting news to share with our Friends.  This week, Monday, April 27 - Thursday, April 30, Re:new is running a $5,000 matching gift challenge thanks to a VERY generous donor who believes in the mission of Re:new to create a space for refugee women to thrive.

    Here's how it works: ALL donations will be matched up to $5,000.

    This means your gift of $50 doubles to $100. Your gift of $100 doubles to $200. Your gift of $500 doubles to $1,000.

    The match ends Thursday, April 30th at 11:59pm.

    That's 4 days, friends. Let's do this!

    On behalf of all the Artisans served by Re:new, we thank you for partnering with us to fulfill this incredible opportunity.