JAC Journey: Pause + Pivot

Dear Friends and Customers,

Thank you for your patience and continued support of REFUGE.

While this began as a very difficult message to write, I am glad to be giving you this update which is ultimately a story about social entrepreneurism and unexpected wins in the face of adversity.

Due to unforeseen complications in production that fundamentally compromise the mission and values of REFUGE, I have decided to suspend JAC production until further notice.

To cut a very long month-long journey short, production, shipping, and labor costs across the board shifted, and with each new shift, I created a new alternative. Once one thing felt firmly - and newly - in place, another piece moved. It became clear that the only way to get this done would be to compromise on the core values that underpin my brand, and that was something I was unwilling to do. I could get the chairs made ethically, but not sustainably, not on time, and not with the quality assurance I want my customers to have.

Your pre-order purchase will be refunded, less 8%, by May 1, 2018*.

From refugedesign.co:

“Refunds: All pre-orders placed between Sept. 15, 2017 and April 15, 2018 will be ineligible for refunds until the product has been shipped. If, for some reason the product does not ship on or before April 15, 2018, all pre-orders will be eligible for a 92% refund.

Why 92%? Because this is a new product and instead of going on Kickstarter where they take 8% of money raised, that 8% goes directly to setting up skills-training for refugees. Yay!”

REFUGE is pivoting how it approaches production and will re-launch in the next 12-18 months.

It has alway been so much more than Just A Chair, and everyone I have met with believes that this approach is what is needed, necessary, novel, and that this story cannot end here.

REFUGE aims to redesign the way handmade goods are produced around the globe. 

By activating underutilized training centers in refugee camps, partnering with product designers to train and employ refugees in artisanal skill jobs that they can take with them wherever they go, engaging microfinance initiatives to turn these makers into entrepreneurs, we can break the cycle of dependence on international aid. I know all of this - and so much more-  is possible.

I’m excited to share that I have been accepted into pre-accelerator program with ICA: Fund Good Jobs. I am in conversation with different stakeholders to co-design new approaches that fuel regional program innovation and attract international investment from small businesses. I am still exploring new production partners in the US and Turkey, and… I am ready to do all of this with a team!

You can stay involved with the #JACjourney and be a part of its success story!

1) Follow REFUGE on Instagram and Facebook and stay up to date on what’s next.

2) Donate your purchase amount, or some portion of it, to help fund the next phase.**

3) Reach out to me if you or someone you know is excited about an opportunity to build a new social enterprise venture from the ground up. I’m currently seeking co-founders, advisors, equity partners, and investment.

4) If you absolutely MUST have a JAC, it can be done. It will not be made in Turkey, or by refugees, but it will be lovingly handcrafted in the U.S. by amazing artisans. It is much more expensive, but possible nonetheless… just let me know.

Thank you for helping to make this dream a reality. It is so much more than Just A Chair…and the journey has just begun!


My very best,

Ms. Ray Boyle

**By default everyone who placed an order will be refunded unless I receive an email from you by April 30, 2018 stating you’d like to donate your purchase amount to help fund the next phase of development, or apply those funds to a U.S.A. made chair.

Ray Boyle