Abuse victim turns passion into domestic violence lobby
For the past four years, Moni’s Voice has been utilising crocheted artwork to promote domestic violence awareness and to assist those who have courageously left an abusive spouse or family member in efforts of rediscovering their own voice.
Loi-Renee Letts, the company’s owner, first developed an interest in crocheting after deciding one day to leave her abusive partner of five years.
But the idea of starting a business did not readily come to Letts’ mind. She only learned how to manufacture simple accessories like hats and earrings as she battled depression and sought to regain her voice after years of being silenced.
Fired by determination in 2018, Letts transformed her pastime into a serious operation through which she encourages other abused women to find solace, and profit, in craftmanship.
“When I finally decided to leave, I found out that I was pregnant, so one of my main goals for getting out of that relationship was to give my child a better life,” Letts said in a Gleaner interview.
Letts, who reported suffering abuse as a child, said she is determined to break the cycle of violence.
“In showing others the pieces that I have crocheted, it sparked a conversation around domestic violence and I got to realise how many people around me are affected by it,” she said.
Letts, who taught herself the craft by attending ‘YouTube university’, has developed new designs and expand her line to the manufacturing of dolls up to 20 inches tall. The self-made entrepreneur also crochets potted plants, earrings, wall hangings, custom bags, clothing, bathing suits, and hats. Pre-ordered works can also personalised.
Her client base has stretched to Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Turkey.
A portion of the profits is earmarked to assist women and children who are, or have been, in abusive relationships recover from the trauma.
Letts has partnered with organisations like the Countrystyle Community Tourism Network, a community-based initiative that trains youth in tradesmanship to support themselves and their families.
“The main purpose of my crocheted pieces is to bring the joy and to give hope to those who are in those kinds of situations,” she said.
Letts’ daughter, who is now five, has also developed an interest in craft.
“She has claimed a lot of my first works ... and she’s even interested in crocheting, so she can crochet a chain,” Letts said.
Contact Moni’s Voice via Instagram @monisvoice or visit the website https://monisvoice.com