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Top 20 Under 40 - Kim Smiley

If you ever have the pleasure to meet Kim, you will see that her passion for social justice is infectious.

By: David Shear
Published: February 5th, 2013 in Culture » Society » Interviews
Kim SmileyPic: Jeremy Ladner
Shalom Life is proud to present our 3rd annual ”Top 20 Under 40” list. Over the next 20 days, Shalom Life will showcase 20 individuals of diverse talents and backgrounds that have made a significant contribution to their field both locally and globally. From entrepreneurs to philanthropists, entertainers to doctors, this list places a spotlight on a small sampling of the spectacular, innovative, and passionate Jews that call Toronto home.

Top 20 Under 40- Kim Smiley

Age: 37

By day, Kim Smiley is a Vice President at UJA Federation of Greater Toronto. By night, she is an accomplished artist and social entrepreneur. People who know Kim well will tell you that although she does not require much sleep, she has enormous dreams.

Kim is the creative force behind Sapphô by Kim Smiley, a social enterprise that promotes beauty for the public good. Sapphô is a marriage of Kim’s greatest passions: fine art, fashion, poetry and social justice. A jewelry company, Sapphô marries metallic and antique lace from as early as the 19th century with gems, vintage objects and precious metals. Each piece – a wearable work of art – ­is handmade and one of a kind.

A platform for the promotion of poetry, every Sapphô design is named after a poet, famous or emerging. When you purchase a piece from Sapphô, you receive the poem that inspired it. Kim’s goal is to use jewelry as a springboard to spread the joy of poetry into the world.

A social enterprise, Sapphô redirects a percentage of sales to charity and creates employment opportunities for low-income women in Toronto, paying them a ‘living wage'. Kim launched Sapphô in Toronto, but her dream is to create meaningful employment opportunities for disadvantaged women around the world. “Sapphôis a rebellion against the sweat-shop beauty business model” that retailers like American Apparel dissented against. But Sapphô takes the model one step further with its commitment to a Living Wage. Kim first learned about this movement while a graduate student at Harvard University. She was inspired by the Living Wage Campaign, organized by students, which sought to eradicate poverty wages at the university – “because workers can’t eat prestige.”

Kim is revolutionizing the way we contemplate beauty. Look at Sapphô’s Facebook page to understand what Kim means when she says “Sapphô celebrates the inimitable beauty of every woman. There is beauty everywhere if you just open your eyes to see it.”

For the past ten years, Kim has dedicated her career to the nonprofit sector. Her work has focused on empowering individuals to rise to their fullest potential. If you ever have the pleasure to meet Kim, you will see that her passion for social justice is infectious.

Related articles: Kim Smiley, jewish, Top 20 Under 40, UJA, Social Justice, Jewelry, Sappho, Harvard, Habitat for Humanity, Women's issues, Poverty
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If you ever have the pleasure to meet Kim, you will see that her passion for social justice is infectious.

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