Our Story—Meet Courtney and Kym
Courtney Kimball and Kym Frey are the founders and CEO's of One Common Thread. They just so happen to also be sisters with the same goal to empower women.
In 2017, Courtney moved to Honduras with her husband and 6 of their 9 children to pursue an expansion of their family’s business. Quickly, she was humbled by the poverty that she witnessed by just looking out the window from her apartment.
One day, Courtney decided to venture out of her comfortable home and meet some of the families living in the “Bordo” (slums) nearby. After meeting them and cuddling with their children, she also witnessed firsthand the deplorable living conditions, lack of food, dirt floors, leaky roofs, and malnourished children. She knew she could help, but she didn’t know how.
First, she set out on her own by supplying beds, then formula for the babies and toddlers and then just basic food items. But the list of needs went on and on.
In the early days, and through the help of generous friends and family back in the U.S., she was able to help a few of the families in the Bordo.
While Courtney's efforts were well appreciated, she soon recognized the need for these family's necessity to find work in order to continue to care for their children. Especially the women—many of whom, were abandoned and left to care for their small children on their own. With so little education and even less job opportunities, there was no way for these women to create a consistent means of support for them or for their children. Courtney remembered thinking to herself, “I need to help them earn an income, but how?”
Courtney has always been an avid quilter and has a special love and interest in making quilts, using the art of English paper piecing hexagons. This hobby prompted her to have the women she knew that were living in the Bordo, sew the hexagons she used for making her own quilts. She thought that if she paid them per hexagon, it would speed up her quilting process.
Soon word spread about the “Gringa” who was providing work for some of the women in the Bordo. The next time she arrived in the Bordo with more material, she had five more women asking to help sew hexagons.
At that point, and not of her own volition, Courtney found herself "managing" up to fifteen women at a time by providing them an opportunity to make money.
This is when Kym, Courtney's sister, came onto the scene. During a brief phone call, Courtney explained to Kym her growing "business" and how she wanted to help these women. Kym decided on the spot that she wanted to help—she knew that there was more that they could provide to these ladies!
In the beginning, Kym helped to finance the women working for them, while they found a way to expand the business, and also collaborate with Courtney on a way to provide the women with a more sustainable source of income. Kym’s background in corporate marketing and promotion helped them to develop a quilt kit to sell one-of-a-kind quilts to others looking to speed up their own quilt making.
One night, while talking to each other on the phone, Kym said to Courtney, "If we're going to do this, we need to name this venture!". She had read once about how there is one common thread that keeps us all bound to one another, in spite of our distance or social circumstances. The name almost came too easily—it was a no-brainer. Both sisters knew that they had to name this new "business", One Common Thread, because one way or another, we are all bound together and, of course, using "thread" to make the quilts kind of helped seal the deal. They also knew that this would be a labor of love and not a means to put money in their own pockets. So they went to the internet and Googled, "How to start a non-profit" and that's how OneCommonThread.org was born!
It is important to note, that both Courtney and Kym are committed to improving the lives of other women, especially mothers who want more for their lives and their children's lives. It is something we all want. Yes, the sisters have started in the slums of Honduras, but hope to one day participate in improving the lives of women throughout the globe. This is just their starting point!