With the growth of our community year after year, I am often asked what does the name ‘Sarep + Rose’ actually mean? What better day to share some background than on International Women’s Day? I hope this gives you as much inspiration as it does insight into why I chose this name for this brand.


What is behind the name Sarep + Rose? It is more than just a brand. It symbolizes the resilience of Women and the power of entrepreneurship to re-write legacies. 

The story behind the name is as fascinating as the two generations of women it represents - Sareptha and Rose.

Understanding Sareptha

The story dates back to the 1940s, when Sareptha Johnson married an Austrian-American man working with the Firestone rubber company. Together they had three children and lived happily until his employment term was up. However, due to the US laws at the time, interracial marriages were outlawed. After Charles left Liberia, Sarep had more children and learned to provide for her family in the only way she knew how: by becoming an entrepreneur.


Sarep from sarep and rose

She made and sold dried fish, hot fufu & soup, fried donuts and more to government officials. Despite her immense hardships, she never turned down a child who was brought to her, offering them a space in her home and heart. Even after her own mother, Rose, passed away when she was a young child, she mothered somewhere around 25-30 people over her lifetime.

Through her wide social connections and relentless work ethic, she helped family members study abroad and her eldest son earned a PhD in Agriculture from Yale University- despite her not finishing formal education herself. She spoke multiple local dialects and was known to enjoy a glass of Gin (no tonic).

The Legacy of Sarep and Rose

Sarep + Rose is named after these two generations of women because their legacy deserves greater meaning than a motherhood cut short or marred by heartbreak and struggle. Sarep used whatever she could, with minimal formal education, to take care of all the children she had, biological or not.

Now, this company in one form or another, is what will take care of my future family one day, as it already does for the families of those involved in our production.


The Serendipitous Connection

About a year after I started this company as ‘Sareptha Rose’, I found that the name Sareptha is a variation of the Hebrew name Sarepta, meaning silversmith, goldsmith or ‘makers’ shop. How serendipitous that this name signifies an occupation whose purpose is to craft something valuable and beautiful out of dust. This is exactly what we are trying to do here at Sarep + Rose, making much out of little, and continuing the legacy of these two incredible women.

Final Thoughts

In the Biblical Hebrew, ‘Zarephath’ signifies a place of refinement, smelting, purification with fire, and the extracting of precious metals by heat. Likewise, Sareptha's life story embodies the process of refinement and the creation of something precious out of adversity. Her legacy, as well as that of Rose, continues to inspire the brand Sarep + Rose, a symbol of resilience, craftsmanship, and enduring love.

Happy International Women’s Day 2024 and every day!

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March 08, 2024 — Robin Sirleaf

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