Fair Trade Month

So do you know what October is, besides the lovely precursor to Winter (shudder)? It’s Fair Trade Month! That means it’s an extra good time to consider why you support fair trade, what impact it truly makes, and how you can learn more and get others involved.

fair trade(image via Pinterest)

Throughout this month every year, millions of hard-working and thoughtful consumers, retailers, artisans, and brands will come together to celebrate and increase awareness for fair trade. If you want to help spread the word about what fair trade is and what it’s not, you can help promote greater support for farmers and artisans in developing countries!

What fair trade is not: A handout or charity.

What fair trade is: The promotion of self-sustainability in developing countries. With every dollar we choose to spend on ethically produced, fair-trade certified items, we are showing our support for fair wage. We are highlighting our commitment to the belief that every person on Earth deserves the same wages and opportunities as those in wealthier countries are provided for the same trade performed.

Want some concrete examples?

At Seven Hopes, we work with talented artisan groups all over the world. It’s easy to picture “fair trade” as a concept or movement that we create and not a product of the hard work that actually produces the products we’re buying. Read on for a peek into the drastic changes fair trade can bring to the lives of people all over the globe!

– When you purchase a pair of our soft, colorful Ratna Punjammie Lounging Pants, you are directly supporting women in India of the International Princess Project who have escaped forced prostitution. They can now support their families in a dignified way and work regular daytime hours so that they can be home at night with their young children.

Our oversized Flower Shoulder Bag is made of a lightweight recycled netting material originally used in fishing and construction. This simple idea for a beautiful bag has grown into a way to change lives. Over 90 people are employed through our fair trade partners in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. This group has grown from 5 to over 90 employees in just over five years. The majority of the staff, mostly young mothers, are encouraged to bring their children to work, as the company provides day care for free. Work has also been outsourced to family members of the staff. To date, over 40 sewing machines have been financed.

The necklaces on our site, such as the beaded, layered beauty the Camellia Necklace, come from our partnership with 31 BITS. 31 BITS Designs is a socially minded business designed to give internally displaced women in Northern Uganda an opportunity to counter poverty. By giving our beneficiaries access to the international market, they are able to earn an instant income, providing homes, food, and education for their families. Our program equips women by providing literacy education, financial and vocational training, holistic care, and strong support systems, empowering individuals to further their careers and attain social equity.

Our fun, brightly colored Recycled Storage Bags are hand-crafted in Cambodia from Vietnamese feed bags. You can use them from anything to toys to wrapping paper to laundry. ”Designed to Carry a cause,” the purchase of these recycled laundry bins supports the fight against human trafficking.

When you pause to think about it, the fair trade movement is about so much more than just fair wages. It’s about dignity and a better way of life for those who work just as hard as those in more affluent countries; it’s about equality. There is a temptation to think that just because a cycle of poverty takes place in another country, it will always be that way, it’s far away, and we have no obligation to help stop it. But it’s also easy to take small steps to start chipping away at that cycle in our own ways!

Some of the best ways I know of to spread the word are to talk up your fair trade purchases and take pride in them! I’ll find myself at the grocery store being complimented by the cashier on my beautiful handmade necklace, and I love being able to tell her the story behind 31 BITS and share how she can purchase one of her own!

Happy Fair Trade Month! It’s a great month to do some online shopping!

XO,

Casey


Favorite Fall Jewelry

October is in full swing! Around here, it’s been perfectly chilly and appropriately rainy, with some gorgeous bright leaves beginning to blanket the ground. So I’ve been wanting to step up my jewelry and accessories game from easy summer favorites to bold Fall choices. And as always, fair trade necklaces, bracelets and earrings are an awesome way to usher in a new season! Want to take a peek at some of my current Seven Hopes favorites?

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1. Acai Wrap Bracelet
2. 31BITS Mulberry Necklace
3. Tagua Chip Earrings
4. Bouquet Knitted Headbands
5. Sofia Tagua Earrings

Are these pieces making you want to revamp your Fall jewelry wardrobe? Which one is your favorite? I’m loving the cozy knitted headbands!

XO,

Casey

Coffee Date

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It’s been a while since we’ve had a virtual “coffee date!” Let’s fix that! If we were having coffee today—I would tell you that my mug is a little less full than I like it and I won’t be going for seconds. The reason? My husband and I are expecting our first baby! She’s due in March, and we can’t wait to meet her. :)

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you I’m grateful to still have my one cup of caffeine goodness a day, even if I’m making it a tall instead of a grande. I’d tell you that I’m excited, nervous and a million other emotions that I’m sure all of you seasoned mommas can relate to!

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I’m apprehensive about the slow creep of “stuff” that I know comes with having a baby. I’m grateful that there are now many options for fair trade baby items that I can mix in when I buy things! I’m excited to be able to purchase some items for our little one, but I also want to be mindful that not everything is a necessity. So I’ve created a short list below of my favorite tips for avoiding the money trap that I know having a baby can turn into!

1. Borrow, borrow, borrow! Even if these “tips” are a bit obvious, I had to stop and remind myself of them before running to Target and buying every baby item I saw! I made a mental list of friends I have who have had baby girls (or boys, for many of the items!). I plan to ask them if they have extra baby “stuff” lying around that I can either borrow or take off their hands completely. For my friends who have said, definitely, that they aren’t planning to have more children and are out of the baby stage, I don’t mind asking this question at all. In many cases I think they are grateful to make more room in their basements or storage closets!

2. Make the effort to search out good deals and sales. Thrift stores, garage sales, fair trade online stores—all might require a bit more effort than heading to the mall, but will be so worth it in the end! Babies grow so fast; I really want to be mindful of not just accumulating piles of clothing that might have been made by child laborers in other countries. Buying second-hand and fair trade items will help with this goal tremendously. I’ve mentioned this shop on the blog before, but how cute are these rompers from Baby Theresa? Their motto is “buy once, give twice”—which I just love! All of their items are fair trade and 100% organic cotton. For every romper sold, they donate one to a child in need and for every accessory sold, they donate formula.

3. Remember that all my little girl will truly need for the first few months is somewhere safe to sleep, food and clothing, and all the love we can give her!

If you have any other suggestions for avoiding the baby “money creep,” fair trade baby stores, or any other momma advice, I’d love if you’d chime in in the comments!

XO,

Casey

Fair Trade Baking: Brown Butter Pumpkin Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Happy weekend!

In case you have some fun Fall get-togethers on the horizon (bonfire, anyone?), I have a perfect recipe for you today from one of my favorite blogs, Picky Palate! Have you ever made anything with browned butter? It’s one of my favorite cookie-making secrets—the butter develops an almost-caramel flavor and makes everything taste just a little richer. Always a good thing! I’ve replaced some of the original ingredients below with fair trade certified ingredients. Just click the links to order the fair trade products! Isn’t it fun to be able to purchase fair trade for hobbies like baking? I think these would go great with some Three Avocados coffee (100% of their net proceeds provide clean drinking water and education in developing nations)!

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(recipe and photo from Picky Palate)

Ingredients:

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and line a large baking sheet with a silpat liner or parchment paper.
  2. Place butter into a small saucepan over medium heat. Let melt and bubble until browned. Remove and let cool for 15 minutes. Place browned butter and sugars into a stand mixer. Beat until well combined. Add pumpkin, egg and vanilla, mixing until combined. Add flour, pudding mix, baking soda, salt, mini chips and pecans. Beat until just combined.
  3. With a cookie scoop, place dough onto prepared baking sheet 1 inch apart. Bake for 12-14 minutes, until baked through. Let cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring. Serve. room temperature or chilled.

(Makes 2 dozen cookies)

Enjoy!

XO,

Casey

Fair Trade Bedroom Redo!

With the weather turning chillier, I’ve been getting the urge to snuggle under a warm blanket with a cup of tea in the evenings. Anyone else? If so, it might be time for a fun Fall project: transforming your bedroom into a cozy retreat full of soft textiles and a beautiful, rich color palette. Want to see how you can do it, fair trade style? Take a peek below!

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Swap out the summer-weight blanket on your bed with our Plush Glo Organic Sateen Pleated Duvet Cover and Sham!

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This sateen beauty is 300 thread count, 100% Fair Trade Certified, made of certified organic cotton, and includes two coordinating shams with vertical pleats. It’s available in White, Natural, and Quartz. Whichever color you choose will provide a beautiful backdrop for the second item needed to turn your bedroom into a pretty, cool-weather haven: a Vintage Sari Throw in a bold mix of red and orange.

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Toss this beautiful piece over a chair in the corner for a splash of rich color. Made in India and Bangladesh, these throws are created by women who save fabric from their favorite saris, and stitch them together with colorful thread. The multiple quilted layers make these kantha throws soft and warm. Our vibrant sari blankets are also reversible, so when you need a fresh look just flip them over!

And of course, you can’t forget your favorite furry friend, who needs a lounging spot in the bedroom too. Check out this fun Up-Cycled Denim Lounging Pillow:

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And since your bedroom is now so perfectly ready for the changing seasons, why not venture into the bathroom and add a little warmth in there too? These luxurious Glo Striped Towels should do the trick:

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The almost-purple shade draws together the bedspread and throw, and will provide a nice starting point for a total bathroom overhaul if that’s what you’re after. So using these ideas as a starting point, you hopefully have some inspiration for turning your bedroom space into an elegant fair trade Autumn retreat!

XO,

Casey