Our Desire to Connect
Everything behind the M&J brand has meaning and a story behind it. At our core, Montie & Joie is all about connection. After traveling to over 40 countries and seeing beautifully produced products next to immensely devastating poverty, Sydney was determined to make a connection between markets - the maker from any far-flung place to a buyer wanting something unique that didn’t sacrifice values. With this idea, Sydney and Terrell embarked on a journey to make a difference in the lives of both artisan and consumer.
Today they offer their findings from around the world through the M&J site as well as their interior design talents for select clients who want to live their values - literally! Terrell has been designing kitchens, bathrooms, and entire homes for 35 years and now designs exclusively with ethically sourced products. Inquire today about these services and make your space one that makes you feel truly good in every way.
THE GUATEMALAN TEAM
Made up of a team of six women, in 2019 our Guatemalan team was the foretaste of what Montie & Joie is today. The first artisan in our project was Ana Maria (far right), who was later promoted to team manager. They all live in the small town of San Pedro la Laguna located on stunning Lake Atitlan. The income from Montie & Joie helps them support their families as their alternative sources of income are not always consistent. M&J also provides a creative outlet for their incredible talents. We hope to soon expand our Guatemalan line and employ even more women from this area.
From Left to Right: Jaqueline Melynda Navichoc Rodríguez, Ligia Elena Par Castro, Miria Leticia Pirir de Navichoc, Emma Lucía González y González Ana María Rodríguez Ortíz
THE KENYAN TEAM
Montie & Joie is proud to share that each basket weaver has complete design control over the baskets we purchase from style to color, showcasing their unique talents as artisans. They send their baskets with their names on them so that you have a direct connection with the artisan herself. These women are often the primary providers in their families and are creating a different future for their children and therefore, the community through their work. This work also helps to conserve threatened forests, home to elephants and cheetahs, by providing an alternative income to slash and burn agriculture and poaching of valuable wildlife.
THE MANAGEMENT TEAM
Meet Sydney (Montie)CEO and Co-Founder of Montie & Joie
Sydney’s middle name (Montgomery) was the inspiration for the “Montie” part of the brand. After earning a Bachelor of Science in Advertising with a Business Foundations Certificate at the University of Texas at Austin, Sydney went on to study Media and Global Change at the Salzburg Academy in Austria and earned an MBA from the Acton School of Business. Her travels through over 40 countries in combination with her upbringing in an entrepreneurial household helped inspire all of the work she does today.
Aside from being a Co-Founder and the CEO of M&J, she is the Co-Founder and CEO of The Etho, an online marketplace connecting conscious consumers with ethical brands and artisans as well as a Co-Founder of Rocket Closet, a sustainable mountain sports storage company. Sydney is also the Co-Founder of Moon & Sun Eco-hostal, a sustainable beach house rental, and Jabel’ Juyu’, an Eco-Resort all located in Guatemala. She also currently invests in female-run businesses, focusing on those who are trying to change the world through The Helm. Sydney’s first business was Admin Boutique, which is still operating and pairs administrative assistants with small businesses and start-ups. Prior to starting her own businesses, Sydney worked for a small advertising company, Narrative Edge.
Sydney has been featured on 5 podcasts, countless articles, and won an award for Mogul — top 1,000 companies with the strongest female leaders. She has volunteered with environmental and wildlife conservation organizations in Cambodia and throughout Texas and Mexico. She also mentored high school students through ChickTech, an Austin non-profit dedicated to retaining women in the technology workforce and increasing the number of women and girls pursuing technology-based careers. She currently mentors human trafficking survivors who want to start businesses through Restore, which exists to end sex trafficking in New York City, where Sydney resides part of the year. The other part of the year she can be found in the same town as the Guatemalan team, with her Guatemalan husband, their children Milán and Marseille, and their numerous pets.
Meet Terrell (Joie)Lead Designer and Co-Founder of Montie & Joie
Terrell Sherman was the inspiration for the “Joie'' part of the brand. As a rambunctious four-year-old who insisted on being called Cowboy Joe, she refused to go to school without her bolero and cowboy boots to keep her character alive. The nickname was given a twist that resembles the French word for joy (joie) and thus the Montie & Joie name was born!
Terrell and her husband have started, sold, and invested in over 50 companies starting in 1987 with a kitchen and bath design studio: Allmilmo, that expanded into the design and building of over 50 homes. They have also invested in businesses spanning real estate in the US and EU, banking (Bank of Houston, Pioneer Bank, and Keystone Bank), the spirits industry (San Luis Spirits, which owns Dripping Springs Vodka and Gin), numerous technology businesses, a medical device company, and a restaurant in Paris named Treize to name a few.
Terrell comes from a long line of interior designers and has worked with textiles, furniture, and design for the last 30 years. She also worked with a fashion designer in Houston, designing clothing and running fashion shows in the Houston market. She has been working in start-up businesses for 30+ years and has lead teams in many different sectors.
She has served on the board of numerous non-profits in the Houston and Austin areas, several School Boards, Austin Recovery, and Teen and Family Services of both Houston and Austin.
Before designing for Montie & Joie full time, Terrell was most recently Co-CEO of Design Basics, a home design company, and before that was the Chief Curator & Co-Founder at The Etho. As the curator, Terrell chose products and sellers for The Etho, growing their brands. She has always had a passion for design and loves putting her skills towards supporting the artisans M&J works with today
Meet JacquelineCreative Director of Montie & Joie
After pursuing a BFA in Fashion Design at Parsons the New School of Design in NYC, Jacqueline pursued her life dream of creating her own startup; Jacqueline Suriano, an ethically driven handbag company that focuses on its unique design and excelling in its overall good quality.
JS aims to create hand-crafted high-quality handbags that combine intriguing angles and color combinations that create pieces far from a conventional bag. She works with artisans from El Salvador that have more than 10 years of experience working with leather. Even though they are quite experienced, they try to perfect their craft, even more, each day. Jacqueline has also created the campaign #PURSEuingOpp. An educational program in El Salvador that provides youth with the necessary tools to rebuild and/or strengthen their self-esteem, helping them to effectively transform their future and surroundings through ethically paid jobs, workshops, and collaborating with them on projects. In 2016, Jacqueline won The Most Socially Responsible Handbag from the Independent Handbag Designers Awards in New York.
She is a multidisciplinary designer, avid traveler, and color enthusiast that loves to turn raw ideas into clean, simple, yet bold and effective solutions.
Our mission is to be the thread that connects our artisans and customers, empowering both sides to be their best selves, and ultimately, be a source of joy for others around the world.
Montie & Joie is on a mission to connect people and cultures from all over the world. We believe the key to a better planet is for all of us to feel connected, removing the false sense of “other” that many imagine to be true. We believe that through Montie & Joie a beautiful tapestry of connections can be achieved thread by thread. The more connected we feel to each other, the more we will appreciate and respect every human as equally valuable, and every culture as inspiring and beautiful. We also believe this same connection to one another will increase our connectedness to the environments we live in, reducing our individual footprints as we discover that our actions in one place have an impact on people living in another.
The connection amongst different cultures is at the core of our mission, as we provide deeper insights into the products and ways of living in other countries to further our knowledge of our environment, our world, and our impact.
Victors instead of victims, we want to see the beauty that comes through striving in spite of adversity. We all have hard chapters in our story, but none of us should be reduced to just that part of our complex selves. In this industry, we often see artisans portrayed as victims of their circumstances when truly that is a small part of who they are. Their talent is their empowerment to craft a brighter future. Our mission is to portray them as the talented, smart, and empowered women that they are.
Beyond empowering our team, which was the foundation of this business, we want to empower our customers to feel good about their purchases. We know that impact is at our fingertips, sometimes literally through a click. Our mission is to empower our clients to increase their impact easily by supporting ethical and sustainable fashion and home goods. We believe our clients should not have to compromise beautifully designed spaces with their ethical values. Thus, we have chosen to empower all of us to make a difference in the lives of others while feeling great in our own homes.
For what sense does a joyless journey have? Robert Louis Stevenson wrote, “Find out where joy resides, and give it a voice far beyond singing. For to miss the joy is to miss all”. At Montie & Joie we want to give joy a voice and help both our artisans and customers find this joy daily either through their work, in their homes, or in their clothes. We are all often victims of “missing all” by taking life too seriously and looking toward an end result. Life is meant to be played with and we are strong believers in finding joy in the journey –– wishing nothing less for our community. We believe we can bring joy to the artisans and their families by providing the means for a better life by showcasing their talents through artistic creation. We also believe our clients can experience joy through their purchases and therefore the future use of our products in their sacred spaces, feeling joyous every time they think of their better contribution to the world. By providing work that our artisan teams love and designing products that are full of vibrant color, we hope you, our community, will feel inspired to choose joy and carry it with you every day.