I first met Paula Minnis in 2010 when I had just launched this site; she was one of my very first “Girl of the Moment” features (the original version of Friendly Friday). At the time, we shot Paula in her historic Swiss Avenue home and her company, GAIA, was still in its early stages.

You may remember GAIA from my posts here and here. I love my GAIA products, and also the story behind the line.

GAIA creations are handmade by resettled refugee women in Dallas, Texas, using vintage, repurposed, and sustainable materials. Paula created GAIA to empower marginalized women through employment, encouragement, and dedication to their long-term success in our own local communities.

Paula is one of the few women I know who has identified a suffering class in our local society and created a sustainable business around empowering that class.

Beyond makeup bags and dish towels, GAIA’s product lines have expanded in congruence with Paula’s growing family – iPad cases inspired by two tech-savvy step-kids, reversible baby bib + bootie sets (#BabyBB2015 already has a set!) inspired by newborn twins in 2012. Paula has integrated her children into her service; she is eager that her children grow up with an understanding of Dallas’ diverse communities, an awareness of need and struggle in the world, and a desire to use their unique gifts and passions to help and serve others.

So now that you know Paula, I want to share the name of the parenting book that she gave me: Trees Make The Best Mobiles. I have some books that taught me how to approach pregnancy, others that are teaching me how to approach the first weeks of my baby girl’s life, and this one has given me an excellent framework to think about how I engage with her and entertain her without sticking her in front of an iPad. I read the book in a single afternoon- it is a quick read that is worth the while.

“The book was, and continues to be, one of my favorite parenting books. So easy to pick up and read anytime, with such a pure, simple message.” -Paula


Photography by Kelly Christine Sutton