We Grow With Change

This one has been a long time coming for me. We’ve got big exciting changes headed our way! With all things good or bad, change is inevitable. It is the one constant factor, and many times with change comes adversity. How we handle that adversity is what truly defines us. I believe true strength is smiling when you want to cry, laughing to hide the pain, and going on no matter what. It’s what I am trying to do and what I will continue to do.


Unfortunately, Crista is no longer with us. I could write pages about each of our team members’ contributions to WeAreDAR, including all the amazing hard work Crista did for us, but here is the bottom line — we’ve learned from each other, and we’ve become like family. Each of you challenge me, you challenge each other, and WeAreDAR is committed to making a difference in this world. I’ve said it once, and I’ll keep saying it. This project is not about me; it is not about you… It’s about the greater good and how we can give to those in need. Yes, I admit being so new, resources are limited, including my knowledge, but we will get there. There is no question about it. So things have changed, but we will adapt and we will accomplish what we set out to do, which is to give life changing opportunities to those in extreme need. We will continue to work on what we started, and we will succeed.

Our new Director of Apparel Design, Maarika Mann, has been more than a blessing. Shortly after Taylor returned from Haiti, we sat down and met. We discussed how we wanted to bring on a new designer to help us with our scrubs line. Ironically, just the day prior, Maarika had emailed me offering her help and expertise whenever we needed it. We knew we wanted to reach out to her and ask her to join our team, and once we did, she quickly jumped on board. When Crista’s contract expired with us we asked Maarika to join us full-time. With all the change, we found ourselves in over our head, finishing tasks for our Spring/Summer collection, and all this with only 4 weeks left to redesign our Fall/Winter 2014 collection, which will be featured on April 2nd in Nashville Fashion Week.

Talk about facing adversity!

Maarika and I sat down in Whole Foods, of all places, and together we selected our fabrics and designed our upcoming collection. It was such a relief and a pivotal moment for me, and I realized just how much I love and enjoy this opportunity and each of our team members.

I guess what I want to say here is — WeAreDAR Team–you are all so beautiful and strong. Freaking braveheart strong, and for that I am thankful. Thankful more than each of you know. The only way a project like this can work is knowing we have to be braveheart strong each and every day because you CANNOT change the world working 9-5.

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, for all of your hard work and faith in this project! We have SO many exciting things happening and our prayers are starting to really be answered.

I now have the honor and privilege to present to you our new Apparel Designer, Maarika Mann!

Maarika Mann - Apparel Designer

Maarika Mann – Apparel Designer

My road to WeAreDAR has been a transformational one. Life journeys are always meandering ones, moving along in unexpected ways;  after getting married, graduating with a degree in elementary education, having children and moving to Nashville, my life seemed to be busy, but I craved for something more.  Design had always been a passion of mine but connecting my life’s dots and having the end picture look anything like art seemed impossible.  Then, in 2011 I followed my intuition.  I left teaching, enrolled in O’More College of Design as a Fashion Design student, and never looked back.

I met Martha when she teamed up with O’More and created our Designing for a Cause class.  Together, we designed and constructed a line of children’s clothes that became the foundation of the aDARable project.  Through this relationship I have been able to combine my artistic passions with my desires to give back to the world in a unique and powerful way.  I am grateful for this opportunity every day!

In addition to my role with WeAreDAR, I also have been chosen as one of Nashville Fashion Week’s Top Ten Emerging Designers of 2014.  My designs have been featured at the United We Style Fashion Show 2013 in Murfreesboro, Tennessee and I am completing my final line of ten dresses for O’More’s year-end Eloise Fashion Show in May of 2014.