Fair Trade

Market displays for small spaces

Market displays for small spaces

 

We’re off to Starbucks for their holiday markets. I’m excited because the second time around, I’m more prepared.  Last year when Carol mentioned that we ought to do this fair to showcase our lovely fair trade items, I had no idea what to expect.  Meira was barely a month old (she came with us to the market) and I was feeling a little schlubby with all the fancy Starbucks employees but I met a lot of really great people that also champion the fair trade ethical fashion cause.

This year I’m prepared.  We are only working with half a table space as there are many vendors in one of the Starbucks HQ conference rooms. I had to curate what to bring and I decided to do a dry run through and display all the products I chose to make sure it would all fit and look decent.  I think I brought way too much stuff last year and this year I’m lean and trim (my stuff not me!) and I have one tote, the crate and one small box. And no babies.

I’ve got some tips and tricks for you all to not spend a ton of money to display your vintage finds, crafty goods, jewelry or fair trade items at the market:

1.  Build UP. Think apartment as opposed to a single home dwelling. It’s also more eye catching to people who pass by our booth.  You want to think of display items up high.  To display the jewelry, I took a acrylic and wooden frame and used it portrait style.  I spent 3 dollars and bought some cup holder hooks and screwed them into the top of my frame to display necklaces. The great thing here is that I could use a dry erase market and write the prices at the bottom.  I used a easel to hold the frame up.

2. Stagger your items.  Tall things in the back, shorter things in the front and then your flat items at the front edge of the table. I bought the white cra box from IKEA. I think it cost about 5 dollars. I chose to use plastic so that I don’t have to worry about cracking or worry about vintage wooden boxes.

3. Double duty displays. I chose a wooden crate so that you could see through the gaps and placed my soft items.  I used the top part to display my poster of our business and I added some hooks in the front for my DIY banner which are so easy and quick to make. I can also lean products against the wooden crate and the white box to display more items.  I have seen people use vintage suitcases which is another great idea and also cake displays

4. Mantle hooks. Oh I’m so glad it’s Christmas so mantle hooks and weights are in abundance in the shops right now.  So awesome to be able to use the space below the table to hang items like bags, shirts, or your business name.  It adds a little flair to your table. Hooks run from about 10 – 20 dollars depending on the style and number of hooks you want.

5. If you can — bring a coat/hat tree.  They look awesome and then you are able to display things like bags and soft items.  You can try finding one in the thrift shop and then going out and buying more hooks to add to their tree.  That way you can display a lot of products at once without taking up a lot of space.

6. Lastly, TEST it out. I have gone out and bought items that may work for display but inevitably it doesn’t.  I would try to use the item during my set up time and it just wasn’t working.   Building my display at home helped me out a lot because I did have a few items that I bought that I thought would work but doesn’t so I can return it and save some money. The picture above is my “dry-run” for my display for the market that happens tomorrow.  I took a few pictures so when I set up, I know where everything goes.  Testing is super helpful because it will save you loads of time. and you can just enjoy chatting and meeting customers.

Happy market days!

 

Made in Bangladesh: Fast Fashion

 

Picture courtesy of Michael Biach/Transterra Media

I recently saw a very compelling story on products that are made overseas via the Fifth Estate. It was so devastating to see pictures of men and women wrapping their arms together to protect themselves from the debris of a fallen building.  There was no way out.  All the windows were barred, there were very few toilet facilities.  They deal with bad chemical dyes to make the fun cheap fashion we wear.  If you are in Canada (damn I hate geo-blocking sometimes because everyone should see this), the story is online and shows you how hard people are working to make a living and also their poor working conditions.

What is the right answer?  We shouldn’t urge manufacturers to shut out Bangladesh as people need jobs but there has got to be a way we can change their working conditions and wage.  I want to see our wee company make a difference not just buying fair trade and ethical clothing but also just to be able to work with more artisans and companies that are ethically, have fair and safe working conditions.

I came across a story from the Toronto Sun on how she worked in a garment factory as a sewing assistant and her boss was a 9 year old girl.  Their dream was to be a seamstress as it brought a higher income and they would be able to provide for their family. I can’t even imagine relying on my children in about 5 years time to bring  income to our family.  It wasn’t so long ago that here in the US and Canada we also had young children making a living for their family. It still happening though around the world.

There is a happy news. There are more and more companies popping up in providing fun stylish fashionable wear that is ethically made.  Either in the US, Canada or fair trade made around the world. Fair trade is much more than coffee and chocolate now and that’s a good thing.  Ethical Ocean is a great starting point in looking for more ethically made products.  We partnered up with Raven + Lily and Good & Fair  and they produced ethically made clothing, jewelry and accessories. Those are just a few suggestions.  We are always trying to find more sources but I encourage you to check out the links and read the stories of these people who produce your clothing.

Ethical Weddings: Wedding Headpieces

 

I’m not getting married but I love any bride that can rock a statement headpiece.  I’m so inspired.  This is beautiful. I love the feather details.

Love the simplicity of this.

For the natural gal — this is beautiful and I can’t resist braids.  So beautiful, whimsical and you feel like frolicking in the meadow when you see this.

Love it. For all your lovely brides to be out there, Wed Altered is having a pop-up in NYC on Oct 12/13.  It’s an ethical/green wedding pop-up shop which if I knew about it when I was getting married, I would have been all over that. Check out their website, they have lots of lovely inspiring wedding photos and ideas for your own wedding.  They have even partnered up with Fair Trade Winds, a retail shop for ethically made fashionable goods.

Wow, I think I’m going to continue drooling over the headpieces on pinterest.

Underwear going fast!

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Our Good & Fair underwear is going fast!  We are have only 2 pairs left in stock. The price is awesome and really a comfy pair of underwear. I like the low cut boy style shorts style.  Fair trade organic cotton! You can’t beat that price. Our last Starbucks pop-up was a lot of fun and now I’m busy trying to figure out how to fair trade Hallowe’en for the kiddos. I am taking inspiration from my cousins and dressing up the kids on a well treasured book Pax likes us to read.

The costumes are fairly simple and yet not.  I’m making the costumes instead of buying so I just went to the fabric shop and bought the fabric. I couldn’t find the right fabric for Pax’s  costume so I have to search online. I can’t wait to share it all with you once I have all the pieces put together.

Hope you are having a happy Monday! The weekend passes by way to fast for us and we didn’t even do much –I tried to catch up on sleep but it wasn’t working with two kids under the weather.

 

 

Reduce, re-use and organic! Sweet.

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Look at the cute baby! Now draw your eyes towards the re-usable organic GOTS certified organic cotton grocery bag and get one for yourself! It’s a super super deal at $6.99.   It’s very sturdy with a thick canvas cotton.  I often use it to carry all of Pax’s library books so it can carry a lot of weight without breaking.  I like the side pocket where you can carry a water bottle or small umbrella (since it rains so much here in Seattle).

It has our slogan on one side “You help the artisan, who makes the product which delights you” and our lil’soak print on the other side. These products are ethically and made with fair trade practices. Free shipping if you order from us but you can also get it at Ebay and Amazon.

Happy Monday everyone! Hope you had a great weekend.  Our Paxter got to bowl for the first time and let me say — he’s not a big fan of those bowling shoes but he got an angry bird tattoo and life was good again.

 

 

Pop-up shop tonight in West Seattle!

We have been having a blast doing the Starbucks outdoor summer events and meeting other friendly handcrafted neighbours like Wooden Clothespin. They are a handmade business using recycled fabrics and fun modern prints for coffee/tea cozies, quilts, bags and more. I have gotten a few mason jar drink containers with glass straws, cozies etc and I love it. I use it all the time.  I’m big time in using glass for our entire family.  Stuff just tastes better in it.

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Like this beauty.

If you are in the West Seattle area, you need to visit the pop up, grab a cup of good java from Bird on Wire Expresso!  They will have beer, wine, food and crafts!  How awesome is that? Here are the deets:

Every third Wednesday (and tonight)

Time: 6 – 9pm

Where: Bird on a Wire Expresso

Address: 3059 SW Henderson St., Seattle, WA

We are so thankful for your support and this is a way to shop and eat local and empower women in empoverished conditions.  You are AWESOME!

 

I’m surrounded by boxes!

Consumed. That’s the word. I have. so. much. stuff. T loves to remind of me of that too. It’s all good. I know I have a lot of stuff. Being all fair trade, local and eco-friendly has made me really live a simple life a la Simple Mom. I love reading their blog entries to just sometimes, breathe and pause.

I’m unpacking — we found a place to stay and it’s stressful with a baby and preschooler in tow.  We are still in the midst of unpacking, purging, organizing and also cleaning up the old place so I haven’t found the time to say hello to you all in the last couple of weeks.  Hello! I’m still here <<echo, echo>>.

I have been loving instagram and I found a lot of fair trade minded folks and the lovely Sally Medwin from @shopfairtrade (instagram name and the title of her blog) did an interview with another super sweet fair trade gal Kayli who is sharing about how to fair trade your summer through her blog. I think changing consumers habits of thinking of buying more ethically made products starts one product, one person at a time and I love her passion with her journey of shopping fair trade.

Enjoy this while I go back to unpacking and making sure my two wee ones are not getting themselves in too much trouble. I hope to be back on a more regular blog schedule in September.

Also, we still have a super summer sale going on strong until the end of August. Shop for Christmas early — these deals are unreal!

Friday Finds: Toy Edition

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Duplo

Our family digs Duplo.  We haven’t graduated to Lego yet because M likes to put everything in her mouth and Pax is not quite tidy enough to clean up all the little pieces. I love this rather sweet Winnie the Pooh set. If you check out Amazon Warehouse deals then sometimes you can score some good deals with Duplo.  Just search “Amazon Warehouse” and look to see what kind of savings you could score.  Lego has a good fair toy standards which is why we love lego because it’s also so versatile. Pax just loves to use the blocks to build houses, boats, dogs — you name it. It’s a great learning toy for children.

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Recycled green toy rocket made in the USA.  Love these toys.  Pax saw this at the toy store the other day and was playing with it the whole time. We have the boat which we use for the bath.  Great durable toy.

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Dsenyo works with women in Malawi to empower them with jobs and I’m inspired by the founder of this company and what she is doing.  It’s great.  I saw these plushies in person at a fair trade market place back in Austin and I have always loved the bunny one.  Love the mix of African fabrics here.  Great price!

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Yay!  Finally posted up our lovely plush toys handmade by near deaf/deaf women in China. I love these so much. Meira is now hugging both of them to sleep.  The detail on these are amazing.

Happy Friday!

 

Empowering Women at the Burke Museum

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Photo courtesy of the Burke Museum website

The Seattle Public Library has this awesome summer reading program for kids so we have been reading a ton of books to Pax and Meira.  One of the prizes you get after reading 10 books is that you get a free pass to the Burke Museum at University of Washington. I took the kiddos there and Pax of course loved the dinosaur bones and all but I saw an “Empowering Women” exhibit and I was intrigued.

It showcased a number of women artisans cooperatives in developing countries and a sample of the beautiful products they made.  I loved seeing all the pictures of this happy women and how it improve the economy in their little community as well as their own family life.  It was kind of the encouragement I needed to know that what we’re trying to achieve here at Lil’Soak is a good thing. I get really frustrated at times at trying to share the story of the women behind the products we design or curate and seeing this was just the quiet encouragement I needed.  I was bummed because they had an artisan market sale last weekend and I believe they flew some of the artisans to the show! So cool.

If you are in the Seattle area, you have to see this exhibit.  ON until October.  It’s free if you are participating in the summer reading program! The UW campus is beautiful this time of year.

They also have a cool empowering women pinterest board if you want to see what they have pinned related to the exhibit.  Great idea. We are also on pinterest as well and we often post a lot of fair trade or usa made goodies, shops and so forth.  I’m trying to update and pin whenever I can!  Follow us if you find us PINTERESTING! I couldn’t resist.

Giveaway!

Our lovely friend Kayli over at How to Fairtrade Your Summer is having a Lil’Soak+ giveaway with our organic laptop sleeves.

MosesLaptop Sleeve2It will fit a small laptop about 15 inches is the max size. Fairtrade, made from organic cotton. Made by rescued women in Cambodia.  It’s a lovely simple sleeve to protect your laptop. Winners can choose the colour!  Giveaway end July 16th!

Check out her website for my details and use the hashtag #FTSummer in twitter for any more q’s.  Good luck!

 

 

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