When Karen Hansen and Laura Rachlin came to the KidSafe Foundation gala it was hard not to notice them.
The commercial interior designers were carrying the clutch bags they create as their sideline Wren & Roch. More importantly, they share a mission with KidSafe, the West Boca nonprofit that helps prevent physical abuse of children and on the Internet.
"Carry your courage" is Wren & Roch's motto and their mission is to empower survivors of rape, domestic and sexual abuse.
Successful business partners of In.Design Inc. in Boca Raton, they were balancing their work and private lives. But "behind the scenes, we were each dealing with domestic violence and were blindsided by the news that one of our children had been sexually violated...," they say jointly on wrenandroch.com.
"This is our answer to my daughter being molested," Hansen said. "These things are still happening and we're looking to change the laws to make them more stringent. "We want people to see us as strong, successful educated women who were victims of these things and want to eliminate the stigma," she added.
The pair have transferred their skills to design two styles of totes, envelope clutches and their signature clutch with finger grips. Their bags come in neutrals and brighter shades and in decorative leathers and suede. They've expanded their line to cuffs and an accessory that can be worn as a bracelet or choker. "We've always loved fashion and as interior designers we have a great eye for color and style," Rachlin said. The bags are made in the garment district in New York.
KidSafe, SafeSpace Foundation in Miami, Lauren's Kids and a national law firm for domestic abuse victims receive a percent of online sales.
They also encourage Women in Need of Kindness, "to give or donate the bag that gives back."
"Instead of flowers you can gift a bag and we include a handwritten note," Rachlin said.
"When people buy a Wren & Roch bags, they become a walking bulletin board for our mission," Hansen said.