Before I get into The Greatest Love Story Ever Told, I need to tell you another story…
It started in Kenya, with a bracelet. In 2012, I had just left my job in corporate fashion and immersed myself in international development. I visited a group of Maasai women in Ngong, Kenya where I saw their beautiful beadwork. Inspired by the bold colors used by their tribe, I designed a simple bracelet featuring the word LOVE in their traditional beadwork. The ultimate goal was to create jobs for their community.
I chose the word “love” because it is universal, relatable to everyone in the world. It is the common thread that connects us all.
With that bracelet in hand on a flight to Russia in 2014, I asked two strangers from Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan what love meant to them. I then profiled them on my Instagram. What started as a personal travel project would soon become an international conversation around the true meaning of love.
I continued to travel—for six months to 50 countries. Along the way I asked that same question: What does love mean to you? I collected dozens of love stories and took photos of people wearing the LOVE bracelet. A social media campaign took root, and soon I was pitching the bracelets to American Eagle Outfitters. They sold 20,000 LOVE bracelets post-launch and created over 400 jobs in Kenya.
Since those early days, I’ve turned Love Is Project into its own self-funded company. We now provide 1,200 female artisans in 10 countries with jobs, with plans to expand our efforts even further. A single bracelet has transcended cultures, countries, and notions of what love can do. And now, we want to do even more.
Since starting the Love Is Project five years ago, I’ve heard thousands of love stories. Each one is unique, personal, and yet… so familiar. As I collected these stories, I realized I had the makings of an exceptional book. A book about romance, humor, family, triumph, and dreaming big. The profiles of the people in this book give voice to positivity and humanize different cultures around the world. The book seeks to inspire readers to foster deeper, more meaningful connections—and to live their lives with hearts open.
Our supporters around the world resonate with the Love Is Project’s message of love, acceptance and empathy in defiance towards negativity.
The Greatest Love Story Ever Told reveals how far love can take us all.
For the artisans in these countries and beyond, love—and the efforts behind the Love Is project—grants a new kind of freedom.
- Economic empowerment
- Steady employment
- Over $100,000 donated to global charities
- Fair wages
- Educational opportunities
Seeing women around the world run their own businesses and lives is immensely rewarding, and hard to describe in words. It’s another reason this book is so powerful. I feel lucky to have witnessed this progress firsthand, and it’s an experience I want to share with the world.
A MOTHER'S LOVE | Chrissie Lam, Founder, Love Is Project In 2017, three years after the #loveisproject campaign started, I was lucky enough to visit our artisan Ann and her community of Maasai women in a remote village outside of Olepolos located over the Ngong Hills in Kenya. We toured her new house in her manyatta, which is literally a home that LOVE built for her and her family. I heard firsthand how we've changed thousands of lives by providing stable jobs during drought years, allowing families to pay school fees for children and invest in other income-generating projects. For Ann, love is being together and sharing everything. I left them with photos and touching stories from customers all over the world who wear their LOVE bracelets with pride. These moments remind me that we're creating much more than just a bracelet.
LOVE IS HOME | Georgina Goodwin, Kenyan Photojournalist "What does love mean to me? Such a huge and wonderful question! It means connection, comfort and safety, a place of belonging, home. Knowing there is something out there – LOVE - that is so perfect and also so imperfect at the same time, challenges me to be the best person I can be.
I love my work—my photographs—as it’s a way to connect with people, to travel the world with the purpose of experiencing, hearing and sharing stories of people and the environment. I love vibrant color, so my photographs are always full of color!
One of my favorite memories of working with the Love Is Project is when Chrissie had this incredible idea to have Maasai and Samburu jumping on a trampoline wearing LOVE bracelets. She actually found a huge trampoline and lugged it to the Ngong Hills just outside Nairobi where we did the most fun photoshoot capturing beautiful Samburu men dressed in their traditional shuka (blanket) and mchanga (beads) jumping on a trampoline for the very first time in their lives! Their faces were priceless! The Samburu (and Maasai) are known for their jumping skills. When these very happy men came back down to ground and tried to jump off the earth again they were dismayed at how hard they found it to get any lift after experiencing what was possible on the trampoline!! What a day!
I’m a passionate Aries born in Nairobi, Kenya – it’s my country, my home and my huge LOVE. Pretty late on—my mid-20s—I bought my first decent camera and started feeling the need to create by taking photos. That need has developed into a successful and wonderful career over the last 12 years. It was while on a job, in the deepest Tanzanian bush, that I met my husband. My work took me to a place where I found who I had been waiting for my whole life. I LOVE color, I LOVE new experiences, I LOVE the access photography allows me to our world - to travel, to hear and to share the stories of the people I meet and the places I see. It’s a privilege to have the life I lead."
Georgina is a contributor to Getty Images and her work has been published in the NY Times, Vogue, Elle, AFP. As an East African photojournalist, Georgina normally covers heavy topics, such as FGM, Fistula and Humanitarian Crisis.
LOVE IS FREEDOM | Khasar Sandag, Mongolian Photographer "I wanted to be documentary filmmaker growing up because documentaries reveal life on earth. They have no script and are genuine. However, when I went to university in 1996, I bailed on my childhood dream because I didn't think i could live off movie making in Mongolia at the time. I chose the most logical career path at that moment. Mongolia was new democracy and had opened its doors to business and capital, so I chose to study international business. After working in various fields including government agency, private business, international finance institution and a multi-national company I came to the conclusion that the only thing I didn't do is work for me and to love my work. At 34, I quit my day job and became a documentary photographer. This is the closest I could come to my dream job of documentary filmmaking right away.
I met Chrissie few years back in Mongolia while she was on her journey through various countries. She had a dream of making meaningful, inclusive products and wanted to make change in the supply chains of distant and exotic lands. She had only one LOVE bracelet with her at the time and asked people to share what love meant to them. She used the only one bracelet she had with her to get photos and quotes. It struck a note with me because love is such a wonderful thing to give, share and experience. It is very intimate, yet people were happy to share their thoughts on it. Being able to share what love is for Mongolians is a privilege for me because I get to showcase my people, my country and their love through my photos.
Come visit Mongolia, a land of wonderful people and magical landscapesa place where you truly feel freedom."
Khasar's work has been featured on Apple iPhoto billboards around the world.
PUPPY LOVE | Natalia Ditto & Loki "We love Loki because he's family. He's got a fiery big personality and lots of opinions, so he fits right in. Love to him means protecting his family, always being close and showering us all with licks. The excitement he wakes up with each morning is contagious-he can't wait to snuggle and play."
LOVE IS BORDERLESS | Chrissie Lam, Love Is Project In August 2014, the Syrian crisis was heating up with journalist beheadings, and Israel and Palestine were at war. Tourism to Petra, Jordan, had come to a standstill. The UNESCO site which normally hosts 5,000 visitors a day, now barely had 300. Traveling by donkey, my guide took me cave-hopping to meet the inhabitants of the modern day Bedrock. If you're Bedouin, you can stake your claim on any empty cave in Petra and make it your home...put doors in, paint the interiors, park your car in the cave garage. No rent. No mortgage. You don't even have to ask any one! As a former New Yorker, this is an unfathomable concept.
I shared tea with the Bedouin patrol team at sunset overlooking Petra. Ahmed self-tattooed his beloved's name, Miriam, on his arm before she agreed to marry him. He's happy she said yes. They now have five children. "Love is the best thing in life." For Mahmoud, who has six kids, "Love is a feeling that describes no borders." Rakan of Jafar is also part of the Bedouin police force. For him, "Love is something you want, but sometimes is difficult to get." After a meal at my guide’s village, I went road tripping with Ahmed and Mahmoud. I asked them to play me their favorite tune in the car. Expecting local music, I was surprised when they turned the volume up on "Gangnam Style" and sang along to every word. Apparently, love is K-pop in Jordan.
In addition to painting a picture of love’s power to transcend distance and circumstance, this book will also help fund future partnerships with female artisans around the world, so we can continue to pay it forward.
These partnerships give women the chance to have their product sold on a larger scale, securing their economic future.
This is more than just a book or a bracelet. This is about how the power of LOVE can change lives and bring people closer together. Thanks to years of concentrated, inspired efforts among the Love Is Project community, we have almost everything we need to make this book a reality. The only thing left are the funds to get it published.
That’s where all of you come in.
Your support can help us further expand on what we’ve done for so many years—spreading the love and shedding light on cultures that once felt worlds away.
We thank you deeply for anything you can pledge. We can’t wait to get this beautiful book in YOUR hands. We need your help to print the first 1,000 copies, pay the book designer, writer & editor. Here is a breakdown of what your pledge will help fund.
- Countless research, design and production trips around the globe
- 19 Collaborating photographers
- 100+ User generated photos
- 6 Illustrations
- 400+ Hours of editing
- 200+ Hours of designing
AND... The printer, the writer, the designer, the copy editor, the fact checker, the video editor, digital marketing team and my assistant.
We have chosen to work with a top-of-the-line printer based in San Francisco, CA. Printing the books domestically will cost us slightly more, but it will give us better control over the quality of the book and save on shipping costs.
If we see success in sales in the Asia market, we will look to expand print production to Hong Kong to save on shipping costs as well.
Self-funding this book project in its entirety was no small feat, but it was important to me not to compromise on the quality.
Here's the Breakdown:
Dimensions: 9 inches x 9 inches
Paper: High quality semi-gloss paper
Delivery Timeline: February 2020
Credit where credit is due:
The Greatest Love Story Ever Told is a stunning, collaborative project and we're excited to offer a hardbound book with 150+ beautiful pages of color and black and white photography from talented photographers from around the world. We will also include some of the best photos and stories from our supporters as well.
Contributing Photographers: Tommaso Riva @tommasorivaphotography (Italy), Zissou @zissou_ (UK), Wawan Muhammad @wawan_was_here (Indonesia), Georgina Goodwin @ggkenya (Kenya), Mark Nicdao @markdnicdao (Philippines), Jake Morales @jakemoralesphotography (Philippines), Martina Orska @martinaorska (Ecuador), Pablo Naranjo (Ecuador), Lionel Gasperini @lionelgasperini (France), Chucho Potts @chuchopotts (Mexico), Khasar Sandag @inomad (Mongolia), Sean Dekkers @seandekkers (USA), Benjamin Conley @benjamin_conley (USA), Sara Davis @sara_davis_photography (USA), Anna Watts @anasaura_ (USA), Bobby Neptune @bobbyneptune (USA), Danielle Rubi (USA), Peter Prato @peterprato (USA) Chrissie Lam @thesupplychange (USA), Raskal @raskal (Australia)
If you’ve gotten this far then thank you! My name is Chrissie Lam and I’m the founder of The Love Is Project.
After graduating from Parsons, I worked as a concept designer at Abercrombie & Fitch and American Eagle Outfitters in NYC. I then founded The Supply Change—an organization that increases access to sustainable employment and ethically sourced consumer goods, and connects the fashion industry with artisan communities.
The Love Is Project truly is a labor of LOVE. Startup life has its ups and downs and I'm so grateful to all our supporters and contributors helping me spread love and joy around the world. All of these life experiences have ultimately led me to the place I am today, running The Love Is Project and now, passionately putting together the Greatest Love Story Ever Told. I hope these stories inspire you and bring a smile to your face.
Over the years, many people have asked me about purchasing my original Love Is Project book of travel photos and stories. The costs were prohibitive to one-off print. Now, with our Kickstarter, we can fund the production of a beautiful coffee table book AND include all the incredible collaborators we’ve worked with from all corners of the globe. We're looking forward to sharing all these beautiful stories with you all.
What better time to release a book of love stories than Valentine’s Day?
Based on our forecasted timeline, we expect to ship the books by early February 2020, making it the perfect gift for Valentine’s Day. We’ll print with a company based in the Bay Area to fulfill USA & Europe orders. If we receive enough Asia sales, we will also print in Hong Kong.
Your love bracelets and merchandise will be shipped out sooner than the book, as we are still in the process of finishing it.
All books and rewards will be hand-packed with the utmost care. Please note that once you click on the reward you’d like, there will be an extra shipping charge automatically calculated; the cost varies depending on where you are in the world.
We ship anywhere in the world using either USPS, Fedex or DHL Express.
Please be aware of your own local laws! We are not responsible for any loss due to confiscated packages by customs in your country. Prior to purchasing, please do your own research on customs and limited delivery locations via your shipping method.
Also, international customers are responsible for all additional customs/brokerage charges. Please note that we cannot under declare the value of the packages or mark them as anything but merchandise.
Once you click on the buttons below and share, we will enter you in our raffle* to WIN not only The Greatest Love Story Ever Told book, but also the whole LOVE bracelet collection valued at over $450 USD!
*Raffle will be held the day after the campaign ends on July 14, 2019
I couldn’t have pulled this book or this Kickstarter together without the help of this Kick*ss talented, core group of contributors spread across the globe.
Gretchen Lagrange, PROJECT DIRECTOR
Gretchen Lagrange is an award-winning creative director and brand consultant. She has spent the majority of her career as a creative director for magazines with international publishing giants like Condé Nast, Hearst, and Time Inc. Gretchen currently splits her time between New York City, Hong Kong and Bali—where she is currently based.
Megan Martin, WRITER
Megan Martin is a freelance writer and editor working in editorial and commercial media. She’s written global ad campaigns for brands like Olay and Equinox, and covered travel, beauty, food, and health for several publications. She currently lives in Los Angeles, CA.
Grace Leong, GRAPHIC DESIGNER
Grace Leong is a multi-disciplinary freelance graphic designer who creates holistic visual solutions for social enterprises, NGOs, and disruptive brands across industries. Currently living and creating in Niamey, Niger.
Callie Lindsley, CREATIVE CONCEPT DIRECTOR
Callie Lindsley is a creative concept director who has spent most of her career specializing in concept design, styling and creative direction for noteworthy fashion brands including Gap Inc. and American Eagle Outfitters. Formerly a NYC native, now Callie resides and works as a creative brand consultant in the Bay Area.
Aaron Ekroth, VIDEO CONSULTANT
Aaron Ekroth is a digital storyteller and branding consultant, working in the hospitality and entertainment arenas, with clients such as HBO & Airbnb. Following a career in media and creative direction in New York, Aaron lives in San Francisco.
Sean Dekkers, PRODUCT DESIGNER
Sean Dekkers is a human centered product designer and director bringing over a decade of transdisciplinary design experience with an expertise in product discovery, product development, design research and prototyping for digital and physical products. Sean leads product teams through the design process to research users, discover high value business opportunities, and design impactful solutions that meet business objectives. He has held design lead roles at IDEO, McKinsey & Visa.
Isabela Banson, COMMUNITY MANAGER
Isabela is a fresh graduate from Menlo College with a degree in Marketing. Beginning her career as an assistant at Love Is Project, she has developed a specialization in customer service and social media. Isabela continues to live and work in the Bay Area.
Kristina Borza, COPY EDITOR
Kristina Borza is a digital marketer, copyeditor, and writer with experience in the B2B, eCommerce, and healthcare industries. She combines a flair for well-written copy with an eye for the analytics needed to drive marketing and content decisions. She is a lifelong New Yorker. And yes, since you were wondering, Bea Arthur is her spirit animal.
Risks and challenges
We’re working hard to ensure there are no snags in the scheduling and printing of this book. Currently, we have all the photos, stories and definitions, yet need to finish editing and organizing the content. Our plan is to have the book in your hands—printed and delivered— by early February 2020. There could, of course, be unforeseen delays but we’ve created a detailed schedule and set of deadlines to mitigate that risk.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (32 days)