Get to Know a Rock Star: Whitney Ray
Our Ambassador community is made up of stylish social entrepreneurs across the country who have said “yes!” to creating an impact around the world. With time and incredible dedication, some of these women are able to reach a monumental goal: $100,000 in lifetime sales! These driven women are designated as our “Rock Star Ambassadors,” and we are honored to celebrate their success. The impact that $100,000 in sales makes for our Artisan partners around the world cannot be overstated. It’s an incredible achievement and one that has created meaningful opportunities for vulnerable people across the globe.
Today on Flourish, I am thrilled to introduce you to one of our first Rock Star status Ambassadors: Whitney Ray from Houston, Texas.
Katie, Community Manager at Noonday Collection: Whitney, congratulations on reaching this milestone in your Noonday business! Can you start by telling us a little bit about yourself?
Whitney Ray: Sure! I am married to my college sweetheart and have three redheaded boys aged 16 months to 6 years. When I am not working on Noonday business, I love playing outside with my three boys, spending quality time with my girlfriends, and working on one of our many house projects. I read like crazy and usually have about 3-4 books going at once, and I love to bake. If you happen to run into me this season, you can be sure I will be wearing a breezy shirt (thanks Free People!), a patterned skirt, and my latest obsession, camel colored platform sandals. And of course I will be wearing my favorite Noonday arm party – two sets of Delta River Bangles, a Featherweight Cuff, and a Dolores Wrap Bracelet.
What’s the story behind how you found Noonday?
The story of how I found Noonday is more a story about how Noonday found me. A close friend forwarded Noonday’s website to me, saying she found something that I had to check out. After seeing the collection and reading the stories, I fell in love! For me, Noonday brought together what seemed like two very different parts of my life: my background in fashion design and my growing heart for meaningful poverty alleviation. I prayed about what I should do and the very next day I randomly ran into one of Noonday’s first Ambassadors at the library – and looking back, it doesn’t seem so random! I took that as a clear sign Noonday was for me and signed up that day as an Ambassador!
You were one of the earliest Ambassadors. What was it like getting started?
Those first few months were quite the adventure! Noonday was just beginning, with just nine Ambassadors. I vividly remember a call Jessica led just a few months after I began. The 12 employees of the artisan group we partnered with in Uganda were only working part-time and they needed Noonday to increase their orders so they could have the opportunity to work full-time. Jessica challenged us to get on the phone and call 20 people that day to see if they would partner with the work Noonday was doing by hosting a show.
Well, I was terrified of calling anyone on the phone, let alone 20! But at that moment I realized that if I didn’t call and ask, then who would? So as an Ambassador for our artisan partners, I took a deep breath and called those 20 people. I changed that day. I realized I was braver than I thought I was, and I realized that my voice really does matter. Now, that same group in Uganda employs 300 people! I am so thankful for the Hostesses who said yes to me that day!
Tell us about your experience visiting some of Noonday’s artisan partners.
The highlight of my past 4 years as an Ambassador has been the opportunity I have had to travel. The past two summers I have travelled to Guatemala and met multiple artisan partner groups. Being able to spend time with the Artisans in their homes, sharing meals together, and hearing more of their stories has been life-changing. For one, I am just in awe of their craftsmanship! With several of the Guatemalan groups, we were able to work beside them and learn how they make their items. We gathered in circles with those in the co-op and practiced our skills together. It was beautiful to see how they worked together to create the amazing pieces we love.
The best part of both trips has been the time spent between Ambassadors and artisans sharing why we do the work that we do. Taking the time to share and listen to each other’s stories created a bond between us. We realized we are more alike than we are different. We’re moms and daughters – women who hope to create a better future for our families while doing work that brings joy. It was beautiful to share stories and tears and realize how we are all connected.
What has been the thing that has helped you most in your business? How do you stay motivated?
Realizing we are all connected is what keeps me motivated. After meeting the Artisans face-to-face, knowing their names and their stories, I’ve realized that every Trunk Show, no matter the size, really does matter. It is so empowering to realize that our voices, no matter how weak or ineffective we think they are, can be used to create change around the world!
Ultimately, being an Ambassador lets me be fully myself – a fashion loving, activist minded woman who wants to change the world from her own home. And when you find something that unleashes the real you, you are motivated to stick with it!
Congratulations on your world-changing accomplishment, Whitney! We are so very proud of you, the impact you are making through your business, and your choice to say “yes” to Noonday. Shine on, Rock Star!
Interested in joining our Ambassador community? There’s never been a better time to sign up! Check out our Join page to explore how you can build a business, earn an income, and make an impact for families around the world.
Meet Katie McCauley
As Noonday’s Community Manager, Katie is passionate about fostering sisterhood and connection amongst our Ambassador community. Her favorite parts of her job include being a friend matchmaker and equipping women to be confident business owners. Outside of work, you’ll find Katie camped out somewhere with a patio and sunshine, going to concerts, and spending one-on-one time with her favorite people.