About Gigi (pronounced GEE-gee)

Gretchen Wilson was born and raised in the South, where she spent her early years in a small town in Tennessee.  After witnessing the injustices of segregation and Jim Crow, Gretchen was determined to do her part in creating a more just and gentle world.
She believes, as Maya Angelou said, “People are more alike than different”, and so she has chosen to view people in a way that focuses on their likenesses while appreciating their differences.

As a result, when Gretchen started Little Souls in 1986, with business partner and dear friend, Colleen Charleston, she was determined to create a workplace that shared her beliefs.  She would treat all employees equally and focused on creating a diverse, safe, and open work environment with principles which she would not compromise.

Much like a family, sometimes it worked beautifully, and sometimes it did not.

In 2001,  Sak’s Fifth Avenue’s flagship store in New York, chose One Enchanted Christmas, a book written by Colleen Charleston exclusively for Saks,  as their famous Christmas window display. With that came tremendous exposure in the Saks Fifth Avenue stores across the country.

Three months later, at the height of their success, the 17,000 sq. ft. workshop (home to Little Souls and all of the wonderful treasures collected throughout the years), literally burned to the ground.

Forced to rebuild and change, the principles that inspired her work, such as a commitment to community and a compassion for disenfranchised women, remain central tenets in her vision.  

Gretchen’s strong commitment to equality has taken her to communities and villages in Ghana, Brazil, Mexico, Guatemala, Sri Lanka, Romania, the Caribbean and Honduras.
 
Through these international projects, she would help to design and create saleable products, in addition to working on product development with crafts people in Armenia, India, Nepal, Peru, and Haiti.

Sadly, Gretchen has witnessed brutal poverty in her travels.

Amazed by the brilliance and resilience of the people with whom she worked,
Gretchen always returned feeling stimulated, rejuvenated, and inspired.
The specialized dying techniques, handmade felts, and glass beads are now an integral part of the design process...creating unique and unexpected touches to each one of a kind design.

For 20 plus years, Gretchen has been a member of the Social Venture Network, (a community of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs working together to create transformational innovation, growth and impact), where she has served on the board for two consecutive terms.

Locally, Gretchen is a consultant to the national non-profit organization, Resources for Human Development. RHD serves tens of thousands of people of all abilities every year with caring, effective and innovative programs addressing intellectual and developmental disabilities, behavioral health, homelessness, addiction recovery and more.
Gretchen is also on the board of the Lower Merion Vocational Center, which works with individuals with special needs.

Gretchen has been on the front page of The New York Times Business Section and has had a feature written about her in People magazine. The "Dollymama" has also appeared on CNN and The Oprah Winfrey show too!

To place an order for a custom design,
please call 610.212.7604 or email sales@gretchenwilsondesigns.com

Check out our Gallery Page for design inspirations...
and some of our favs!

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