Nine Nebraska women who paved the way for Sapahn

We launched our newest collection, The Good Life, back in March as an ode to our home state: Nebraska. We focused on our own backyard, featuring colors found in the rolling hills and watercolor sky. But what makes Nebraska the Good Life is more than the colors and picturesque prairies. It is the community around us and the people that came before us.

We named each piece after historical Nebraska women who inspire us, and we wanted to share these trailblazing women’s stories with all of you.

Ada Bittenbender

Our newest crossbody, Ada, is named after Ada Bittenbender, who was Nebraska’s first female lawyer in 1882 and only the third female lawyer to practice in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. Ada was essential in organizing Nebraska’s suffrage association. Her legacy in Nebraska lives through her efforts to win legal rights for women and children. As a company founded to empower women in Thailand, we knew Ada was a great namesake for this bag.

Carolyn Fiscus

Our earbud case, Carolyn, is named after Carolyn Fiscus, a Ho-Chunk (Winnebago) tribal elder, spiritual leader and educator. She is considered the matriarch of the Native American Studies Program at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO). Fiscus is also a leader in the LGBTQ community and has been outspoken about her identity as a gay indigenous woman. In 2019, Fiscus was honored with the national Elder of the Year award from the National Indian Education Association. As a steward for fighting for her beliefs and also educating others, we wanted to honor her in this way.

Ella Ochoa

Our new key chain, Ella, is named after Ella Ochoa. Ella grew up working in the fields of south Texas with her migrant parents. Through earning her GED and going on to achieve multiple degrees, she became an advocate for farmworkers nationwide. In 1979, she co-founded the Nebraska Association of Farmworkers, an organization that advocates for the well-being of seasonal farmworkers, minorities and other disadvantaged persons. In 2000, Ochoa was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and expanded her advocacy to include rights for the disabled. We love that Ella used her voice to empower others. 

Evelyn Brodstone Vestey

Our Evelyn wristlet is named after Evelyn Brodstone Vestey. Evelyn was a business woman at heart, just like our founder, Brooke. The Nebraska native was the world’s highest-paid woman in the 1920s running the London-based, world-wide Vestey’s meat-packing business. We were inspired by her entrepreneurial spirit during a time period where women were not often found in these positions.

Mildred Brown

Our newest card holder, Mildred, is named after Mildred Brown. Mildred founded the Omaha Star, the nation’s longest-running, Black-woman-owned newspaper. Through the paper, Brown called out businesses that discriminated and encouraged readers to boycott them. Many businesses changed their practices as a result. A mentor to many, Brown also guided the DePorres Club, a student group fighting racial discrimination in Omaha. Just like Sapahn, Mildred fought for the rights of all. 

Rheta C Dorr 

Rheta C Dorr is the namesake of our newest bag strap. Rheta was a suffragist and journalist, first sneaking out to attend suffrage rallies at age 12. Rheta went underground to investigate and write about everyday workers and was the editor of The Suffragist. At such a young age, Rheta identified a problem she wanted to fight, and we have so much admiration for that.

Rose Blumkin

Our sweet coin purse, Rose, is named after Rose Blumkin. Originally from Russia, Blumkin, or “Mrs. B”, immigrated to Omaha in 1919. She founded Nebraska Furniture Mart which is now one of the nation’s largest furniture stores. Women like Rose paved the way for other women in our state to found their own companies.

Sarah Joslyn 

Our two leather pouches hold Sarah Joslyn’s namesake. Joslyn was a philanthropist and advocist. Her causes included women’s suffrage, better conditions for prisoners and the mentally ill and treatment facilities for drug addicts. She is also known for her gift to the city of Omaha, The Joslyn Art Museum, the first art museum in Nebraska. Sarah knew basic human rights extend to all people, something Sapahn knows to be true as well.

Susette La Flesche Tibbles

Our sunglass case, Susette, honors Susette La Flesche Tibbles, an author, activist and advocate for Native rights. She was the first Native lecturer as well as the first published Native artist and writer. Also known as “Bright Eyes,” Susette served as an expert witness and interpreter in court cases in which Native Americans sued the U.S. Government. Susette was an advocate against discrimination, and what better fit for “Bright Eyes” than a sunglass case :) 

We hope that no matter your location, these women from our home state inspire you to fight for what you believe in and go after whatever dreams you might have! Thank you to all these women for paving the way for Sapahn and inspiring us to bring about change in the way the fashion industry operates.