Voices

Q&A: Breegan Jane, interior designer and lifestyle blogger

A woman in a navy blouse sits in an armchair surrounded by houseplants and holds up three woven coasters.

TV host and interior designer Breegan Jane wants to begin a “conversation of beautiful change” — starting with how we furnish our homes. “I believe everything in your home should be a beautiful conversation starter,” Breegan says. The Los Angeles-based mom of two has spent her career not only designing for well-to-do clients, but also giving back to empower women any chance she gets. And one of her favorite ways to unite those two passions is incorporating items that are both beautiful and empowering into homes.

“I want to support women. And I want to give you something that you can bring home that gives love and hopefully brings you joy in your house as well,” she says. That “something” comes in the form of a set of woven coasters Breegan helped design for the World Vision Gift Catalog this year. When you give the coasters as a gift, your donation helps empower kids and families in need with tools to lift themselves out of poverty. This Christmas, Breegan’s ready to help us all bring those feel-good vibes into our homes, especially through the gifts we give.

Breegan sat down with World Vision recently to share why she’s been a lifelong partner and why she’s excited to give gifts like her coasters this Christmas.

Breegan, how has the World Vision Gift Catalog become part of your own Christmas tradition?

So, I might have taught my little brother how to catalog shop very early on. I’m a bit of a shopper. It comes with the design. But one of the first catalogs that I remember getting that wasn’t just toys and books was the World Vision Gift Catalog, and I was introduced to it really early. At the time I was really into fashion. So the idea of being able to give another girl a sewing machine or something that felt personal to me was the coolest thing I could circle on any catalog anywhere. I love that about the catalog.

I also use it to tie into themes for my friends and their passions. You know, you can give a bicycle to your friend who loves bike riding. There’s so many options that make giving somebody a charity gift that much more personal. I always think you should shop with what speaks to you and jumps out on the page, what hits you emotionally.

What do you love most about your handcrafted gift this year?

What I love most about my handcrafted gift this year is that it empowers women! And they’re beautiful coasters. I’m very passionate about furniture, and I want it to have a long life, so this is a great way to protect it in the long run. But the gift is so much more than that. The fact that the artisans are using traditional techniques and local grasses makes it a sustainable product that’s beautiful, too. It’s really a beautiful gift, and not just visually.

How does your handcrafted gift help people choose joy?

Choosing joy this year is so important, and it’s not about the physical items. Giving this set of coasters connects you to women across the globe in a time that’s really frustrating. We all felt what that was like this year.

During the holidays there’s a lot of pressure to give, but we don’t always know what’s going to happen to the dollars that we do give. World Vision has been around for years. I’ve been there. I’ve seen what’s going on. I’ve seen the change that they’re making — local change that’s sustainable for the families that they’re helping.

I think my handcrafted gift helps people choose joy this season because we’ve realized that giving is also about connection. In a time when we’ve all felt lonely and unable to even help ourselves, we can give a gift that’s not just physically beautiful for somebody but also empowers them (children and families) and connects us across the globe.

That’s why for me this year choosing joy means giving back and doing a whole lot more. We’ve asked our interiors to do double duty. Now I want to ask our gifts to double duty. Your dollars have power, and I love that World Vision is taking those to change the lives of people through gift giving.

What made you interested in first working with World Vision?

I’ve been lucky. I was introduced to World Vision when I was, like, 5 years old. So, I’ve been working with World Vision for a very long time, and I’ve been fortunate enough to go to the field with them many times. I really have seen their work firsthand and how incredible it is, which makes partnering with them that much more special.

My first trip with World Vision I went to Costa Rica to see their microloans program, which is an incredible system that World Vision has. When you give money, they provide a loan for a family, but then that loan gets paid back, so the money gives and gives again and again.

I might have gotten my entrepreneur bug there because we visited small business after small business that really would not have been able to start without that support. The fact that they turn that around and give it to somebody else just makes it feel like your dollar of giving lasts over and over and over again.

End FGM: A school in Kenya is helping protect young girls from FGM and child marriage. This cause is a passion for blogger Breegan Jane, who recently met at-risk girls: “some of the bravest I’ve ever encountered.” See how Breegan is fundraising to protect, educate, and empower more girls — and how you can too!
Blogger Breegan Jane visits a World Vision-supported school in Kenya that helps protect, educate, and empower girls. (©2018 photo courtesy of Breegan Jane)

It sounds like by starting to give and learn about World Vision’s work, it also changed you while you were trying to help other people.

Yeah. I think for me being a partner with World Vision, and going to the field, and really seeing what the dollars were doing motivated me to passionately make it a part of my success and future. I got to see very early on what dollars did and how they changed lives, which made me want to implement that into my growth and success.

You know, it’s that age-old saying that for every $10, you should save a dollar and give a dollar away. I truly believe in that. But we don’t always know where that dollar goes. But with World Vision we know exactly where that dollar goes, and I’ve seen it firsthand. So, I’m so excited to partner with World Vision on this.

What are you hoping people think about when they use these coasters? What sort of conversation do they spark?

One of my favorite things is when a visual item in my house — even something like a coaster, which you’re often offering to a guest — is a way to start an important conversation. There’s so much to tell behind these pieces that allows you to open up. You can talk about the children and families that you’ve empowered. It’s a nice way to introduce a conversation that might not come up otherwise. I love that I can now give people a piece to bring into their home that is so much more than just a pretty coaster.

How do you stay grounded on what matters most during the holiday season, with how busy and hectic it can be?

My entire childhood, my parents always gave me the lesson that Christmas was about giving. And so, during the holiday season it’s always the perfect time to remind friends and families and lead through the example that giving is better than receiving. It really is.

This year and this holiday season I’m really excited for grandma hugs. It was something I couldn’t get last year that I really missed, so I’m holding everybody extra tight this year. And having faith around the holidays makes them that much more special, with that time to celebrate something that’s so heartfelt and meaningful to you. I love gathering with family and friends, and the warmth that I feel in my home. And I gotta be honest, a little sparkle never hurts!

 

This interview has been edited and condensed for length. Elisabeth Rickard of World Vision’s U.S. office contributed to this story. 

Get Breegan’s “Circle of Strength” upcycled coasters with a gift of $75 or more to the World Vision Fund. And on Giving Tuesday, November 30, your gift to the World Vision Fund will be matched, up to $1 million.

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