Founded by a mother-daughter team, True Having sells handmade pillow covers and wool products that help end poverty worldwide.
Joan Browning and daughter Katie Bright conquer the business with Browning as the maker and Bright as the marketer. Although they work very closely, the two are divided by 2,693 miles.
“We definitely have one foot firmly planted in the South and one in the Pacific Northwest,” Bright says. “My mom makes all of our products in Portland using Pendleton wool.”
Bright, who lives in Greenville, receives the products to photograph and sell online. True Having’s selection of pillow covers, coin purses, clutches, totes, and dopp kits features colorful patterns inspired by Native American artwork.
And as the name implies, the founders believe that true gain comes from giving. “What we gave is the only thing that we really can hold onto,” Bright says.
When you buy a True Having product, 10 percent goes to educate children, provide clean water, and more through One Day’s Wages.
“We feel like even though we’re selling pillow covers and accessories, what we’re really after is a message that our homes or what we carry are just tools to be able to serve other people,” Bright says.
As the maker, Browning spends hours in her sewing room crafting the next True Having products. “I started sewing when I was 12 and never stopped,” she says. “I’ve always just loved the creative process.”
The pillow covers were the first product made and they remain the “bread and butter” of the company. Some popular patterns are the iconic glacier stripe, the Yakima design, and Serape.
“It’s fun working with Katie, even though it’s crazy working across the country,” Browning says. “We’re two peas in a pod, but we have very distinct abilities. We love it.”
The ability to make cherished products for another is what keeps Browning sewing.
“It’s really important to me, and I know to Katie, that we are giving back something and not just looking at the profit as our bottom line,” Browning says. “Because really at the end of the day, that doesn’t make any difference in the lives of other people.”
You can see True Having’s new tote bags and clutches at Indie Craft Parade in September, and the fall collection pillow covers will release shortly after. Visit truehaving.etsy.com to shop.
What’s in a name?
True Having’s name was inspired by a quote from English preacher Charles Spurgeon that says, “Giving is true having, as the old gravestone said of the dead man, ‘What I spent I had, what I saved I lost, what I gave I have.'”