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Meet Denise Hazen of Aspire Accessories

Today we’d like to introduce you to Denise Hazen.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Denise. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Aspire Accessories began in 2011 as a mother’s way to provide meaningful work for her autistic son. Once a mother-son endeavor it now employs 17 young adults on the autism spectrum with over $175,000 in sales in 2017.

Aspire provides a transition and training program for learning transferable job skills on real business activities- preproduction, production, post-production of products, inventory control, and sales.The earning of wages provides a direct correlation between working and earning money, while the workshop provides a community of peers. Best of all- Made in the USA!

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is the fastest growing developmental disability with an estimated societal cost of $268 million. (Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 2015) For many high function young adults with ASD, it is not a lack of intelligence or ability but a lack of training, education and social supports that hinders their assimilation into the workforce.

Unfortunately, our local, regional and national communities struggle to find the appropriate programs to assist them as they transition from school to adult life. Aspire Accessories addresses these by teaching transferable business and technology skills along with social issues and communication skills while providing the Aspire artisans a fair wage, a safe environment, and a community. Aspire Accessories affords those with social cognitive challenges the opportunity to become productive, fulfilled individuals.

Has it been a smooth road?
We have faced many obstacles throughout this journey. Finding the right agency to partner with was our first struggle. We needed to be with an organization that truly understood the challenges and strengths of our group.

Secondly, we needed to make sure we had teachers who were well suited to address how to efficiently run the workplace and teach appropriate job skills. Thirdly, we wanted to create products that appealed to a wide variety of customers. At Aspire Accessories we pride ourselves on our high-quality craftsmanship. We want consumers to purchase our products not only because it serves a great cause, but also because our items are unique and beautiful.

After 2 years, we feel we have overcome much adversity and the workshop is a thriving and dynamic business that provides a purposeful work and community for those with Autism and similar special needs.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Aspire Accessories – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Aspire Accessories creates custom, fashion-forward jewelry, and home accessories all handcrafted by young adults with autism. We are known for our leather goods. Among some of our best sellers are leather bracelets, lariat necklaces and cross body bags that are all designed and produced in our workshop.

With the addition of a laser etcher last year, we were able to expand our home line to include custom cutting boards, insulated tumblers, acrylic trays, glassware and napkin rings. Our artisans are trained to produce high quality, desirable products.

What sets us apart from others is our commitment to craftsmanship, fashion-forward products that are handmade by people with unique gifts. Aspire Accessories provides these individuals with a purpose and a community!

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
What I love about Houston is that it is often considered the “underdog.” Everyone knows Dallas for its fashion and flare and Austin for its quirkiness, but Houston is the city with grit!

We are scrappers and we aren’t afraid to roll up our sleeves to show what we are made of. I have always known this but after Hurricane Harvey, this city showed the world what we are made of. Houston is a city filled with a diverse and talented population that is open to challenging the norm!

If I have to say one negative about Houston, it would be the traffic. The secret is out on how amazing Houston is and people are heading our way in droves. Make for a lot of congestion!

Pricing:

  • Accessories and home goods range from $20-$120

Contact Info:

  • Address: 10694 Haddington Suite C
    Houston, Texas 77043
  • Website: www.aspireaccessories.com
  • Phone: 713-461-7200
  • Email: denisehazen@socialmotionskills.org
  • Instagram: aspireaccessories
  • Facebook: Aspire Accessories

Getting in touch: VoyageHouston is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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