by Hannah Lenore Gray
Miriam Designs essentially began in a Nashville, Tenn., area grocery store. It was there that owner Gracie Moakler met Ronza, a woman whose story about overcoming drugs and addiction left Moakler utterly inspired and moved. This chance interaction led her to return home and make a copper necklace with the word “hope” hammered into it as a token for Ronza. And so began Miriam Designs, a business whose beauty lies just as much in its products as it does in those who manufacture them.
As time progressed, Moakler teamed up with more women whose lives were marked with struggles similar to those of Ronza. She taught them how to make jewelry, and in turn, Moakler says, they taught, and continue to teach her, “to be brave and what it looks like to let hope conquer fear.”
The process of adding to the Miriam Designs family is a personal and organic one. By volunteering at local Nashville rehabilitation facilities, Moakler says, “we get to know the women and see who would be a good fit for our team.” Once a part of the team, the rehabilitation process for these once embattled women does not end there. “We use our money to pay the women. We pay them a steady income whether or not orders come in so we can help create stability in their life.”
The story behind Miriam Designs makes the products they create and sell entirely more meaningful, though an aptitude for philanthropy does not suppress Moakler’s talent and eye for design. Instead, the two passions compliment each other. Self-described as “bohemian simplistic”, the team draws inspiration from everything from “nature” and “music” to Nashville’s culture. The jewelry is entirely on trend— thin gold stacking rings are available in multitudes on their website, www.miriam-designs.com . The pieces are beautiful in their unfussiness — Moakler asserts, “We love a good pop of color, but also love pieces you can wear with anything.”
On the surface Miriam Designs is home to beautiful jewelry and accessories, but when explored deeper, it is home to women who had nowhere else to turn. Moakler loves to see the women undergo change and growth, to see them “Going from believing they are an addict or dropout to knowing they are a seamstress or metal worker."