Change the World. Look Good Doing It.

I think I first became aware of fair trade products in college. My circle of friends consisted of political scientists and social-justice minded people who thought deeply about their purchases. As we talked about changing the world over cafes and wine, sustainability, fair wages, and intentional purchasing peppered our conversations.

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Image courtesy of Fair Trade Friday.

Once I had my first job and steady income, I set to budgeting out my expenses. I had a monthly clothing budget set aside and, once I had a more professional wardrobe built, found that I was able to spend it on more expensive fairly made items. The thought of buying less but buying better was something I worked hard to live out. I shopped locally as much as possible and sought out fair trade items.

When Frank proposed, he purposefully sought out an ethically sourced engagement ring, knowing how important the story behind the purchase is to me. Most of the artwork in our home is from travels, artists we know, or fair trade sources. We are by no means perfect – I just bought some pajamas at Target, knowing I probably should have gotten another pair of Punjammies. Most of Bea’s clothes are disposable, as she plays hard and it’s tough for me to justify purchasing expensive items whose knees will be worn through by the end of the season.

Jewelry and accessories seem different, though. These are items I wear time and again and whose stories often serve as conversation starters. I recently googled “what to wear to a networking event” and a suggestion was a piece of jewelry with a story behind it. People will remember the story more easily than your resume. Most of my jewelry comes from my travels or has a story behind it. I think I only have a handful of items that I bought at chain stores.

Stunning earrings from Earring of the Month Club
Stunning earrings from Earring of the Month Club

When given the opportunity to join Fair Trade Friday’s blogging team, I jumped at the chance. I had heard incredible reviews about this high-quality company, whose mission is to empower women across the globe. A couple weeks ago, I received a pair of earrings from their Earring of the Month club. They are beautifully made, lightweight, and versatile. Mine came from Ethiopia, and I loved knowing a bit of the story behind my jewelry.

Fair Trade Friday is a ministry of Mercy House Kenya, an organization formed to support mothers and their babies. Mercy House not only provides maternal education to young mothers, but also aides in giving them skills to support their new families.

In just a year, FTF has grown to include over 1,000 women in 16 countries, giving them opportunities to grow their businesses by selling their products through The Mercy Shop. There are several ways to support the vision of Fair Trade Friday. A perfect starter option is the Earring of the Month Club. Each month, a pair of chic, high quality earrings are delivered. A detail I love is that gift tags are included. Because styles, colors, and products aren’t guaranteed, the option to gift anything that doesn’t go with your personal style helps spread the love of this organization.

GIVEAWAY! I received an extra pair of earrings from Fair Trade Friday. Leave a comment about your experience with buying fair trade – Do you do it already? Have you thought of it but have never taken the leap? I’ll pick a winner on Friday, July 3.

I received a complimentary pair of earrings as part of the Blogging Team. All opinions are my own.

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13 thoughts on “Change the World. Look Good Doing It.

  1. Fair Trade sounds like a good deal.

    But remember – you start working on changing the world, and it’s going to change you. Ten years ago my wife and I decided to open our doors to every stray dog that crossed our path. Changed our lifestyle, home decor, and finances.

    And more than that. When I became very ill, with the prospect things just getting worse, more difficult tiring, and painful until a nasty death, I still had – and have – to take care of these guys. Both the mechanics, and the emotion. I can’t not play with them (to my ability) any more than we can omit their feeding when tired.

    I have to be positive in their presence, because they deserve this. And so, I have found, do I.

    My doctor says I’m way past my sell-by date, and he’s wanting to write a paper about this dude who just doesn’t die, kind of a fell energizer bunny.

    But he doesn’t know how to write it, because part of the treatment is ‘get lots of dogs’, and how will NEJM react to THAT?

    1. It’s true – you have to be careful doing good… 😉 I hope your doctor does write a paper on the man who won’t die. And, maybe “getting lots of dogs” is exactly what more people need!

  2. Buying Fair trade can be difficult – especially when living on a tight budget. Now we are doing better financially, I have begun buying fair trade teas, for example. I do admit that whenever we travel, especially in third world countries, I like to support the locals by buying the goods that they have made by hand.

    1. It’s true – definitely takes intentional budgeting to make it a daily habit… (We are most certainly not there!) But, I do love buying it when I can, especially while traveling.

  3. There’s ministry out of Kitale, Kenya, Africa called Challenge Farm that also sells handmade items. I have longed for my finances to improve so that I can purchase from them.

    I’d never heard of the Fair Trade Friday until I saw your post.

    1. Ooh, I’ll look them up! It is definitely something that takes thoughtful budgeting, and even then can be hard to justify. I think that’s why I like buying it when I can – it means somethings special, since it’s not part of our daily purchases.

  4. We do buy a few fair trade items, when we can. Hubby and I got away for our anniversary. As we walked around a little shop devoted to selling fair trade items, I bought a few book marks for Christmas gifts come December. When I can, I purchase food items that are fair trade.

    I’m so happy you get to be a part of something you love!

    1. I love buying fair trade as presents! Makes it seem more special. I just found out that Costco brand chocolate chips are fair trade – I love finding out that food purchases we already make fit into the sustainable category.

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