Whenever I set up at street fairs or talk to customers via phone or email, I inevitably get asked who Talitha is and what the name means. So here is the story of Talitha and how Talitha Leather came to be.
The name Talitha comes from an ancient story about a young girl who was the daughter of a powerful Jewish official named Jarius. In the story, she becomes sick and lies bedridden on the brink of death. Her father, having heard about a local teacher named Jesus who had recently returned to their village and who had a reputation for healing sick people, went and sought him out, begging him to heal his daughter. When these men finally reached the place were the girl was lying sick, they were told by a mourning crowd that the girl had died, that hope had been lost, and that the teacher should not be bothered with this situation any longer. As the story continues, Jesus comes into the house to see the girl anyway, and although finding her dead, speaks to her in Aramaic saying “Talitha Kum”, meaning “little girl arise”. At this the little girl brought back to life.
I began working with leather, and made my first courier bag in 2002 in Spokane, WA, while I was finishing college and working as a case manager with a homeless street youth organization. This company was formed with the hope that it could someday be used to aid the plight of street kids, and others marginalized by society, caught in the middle of power clashes around the world, and victimized by the greed and selfishness of their fellow humans. The story of Talitha is a story of hope entering into a situation where there is no hope and of someone who was broken, needy, and helpless being restored. Her picture is from a sketch drawing that hung in my grandparents home of a peasant girl dancing in pure peace and joy . The profits from Talitha Leather supplement my income as a private practice mental health counselor allowing me to offer sliding fee mental health services at an affordable price to uninsured and underinsured children and families in Portland, Oregon (www.natebagleycounseling.com). A portion of the profits from Talitha Leather are also given to International Justice Mission in order to help them fund legal and social work that seeks to free children and adults from human trafficking, forced sex trade, and political oppression.