Words by Sommer Brugal Photos by Ashley Haguewood
Jessica Honegger is a dreamer, or as she likes to call it: a “futurist.” She says that when you work among the poor, that sort of mentality is necessary, because she has to be able to see hope, opportunity, and what lives could be.
Honegger is the founder and CEO of Noonday Collection, a fair trade fashion brand founded in Austin. And while the brand is fashion-forward, its purpose extends far beyond accessories. “We’re a fashion brand,” states Honegger, “but we’re also helping open people’s eyes to the world through something so approachable like jewelry.”
Honegger’s eyes were opened when she was just fifteen after traveling overseas for the first time. She saw and experienced the effects of extreme poverty, but she also witnessed how one, small opportunity can help improve an individual’s life and future.
Years passed before she was introduced to a group of artisans from Uganda, though. It was at that time where her heart for serving others and her love of jewelry collided.
“My friends had met this really artistic, talented couple [who] just needed a market place to sell their goods,” explains Honegger. They asked if she would consider starting a market place for them. Without hesitation, she agreed.
Honegger spends her day working to empower women all over the world. But, through her work, she was able to empower herself, too. Honegger says she’s learned to own all the different parts of her story instead of editing out pieces she deemed undeserving.
“If I was with entrepreneurs, I would downplay the fact that I changed three diapers that morning,” Honegger recalls. If she was with other moms, she often failed to mention her role as a CEO. It was a narrative she struggled with, but ultimately learned to overcome. “[I realized that] all the pieces of my story are worthy and valid, and I can [now] be that person in all environments.”
In owning her story, Honegger is able to continue moving forward in her work. Still, though, she knows her reality is far from women she works to support. “My reality is filled with choices and opportunity and leisure, but that’s not the reality for the majority of people around the world,” Honegger sighs. As a result, she admits she spends her time daydreaming about how to change the world with more than a piece of jewelry.
1825 E. 38 1/2 Street