Festival Fashion, Fair Trade Style!

Festival season is officially upon us. And if you’re one of the people who feverishly stalks Coachella fashion every year, I have good news for you. Coachella might be over after this weekend, but festival season is just beginning! (And if “festival season” to you is no more than ogling People.com after each outdoor concert to check out what the celebs wore, you and I are in the same boat).

Behold, festival fashion, fair trade style:

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Gorgeous, right? That’s our 31BITS Rosette Necklace, Nicole Miller Textile Bangles, and Rectangle Mojave Sseko Sandals. And the beautiful dress is made by Emma Clothing— sales of each handmade dress contribute to the livelihood of women and children in Zimbabwe.

Hope you’re now inspired to go out and throw together your own fair trade festival outfit (even if it means you’re wearing it to a backyard party with friends and jamming to your iTunes on an outdoor speaker)!

Summer is coming!

XO,

Casey

Fair Trade Easter Basket : 5 Ideas

Easter is just around the corner, and I wanted to share some ideas on creating the sweetest Fair Trade Easter basket for your little ones. You can find some of these items right here at www.sevenhopesunited.com, and we’ve provided links for the others.

5 Ideas for a Fair Trade Easter

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1. Start out with one of these adorable Mini Bolga Baskets, hand-woven by women in Ghana. Each basket is unique, so every child will have a basket entirely their own. They are the perfect size for little hands, and after Easter can be used at your local farmers market. A friend of mine has her kids bring their mini bolga baskets to the market, and they each get to fill them with their own healthy snacks for the week <3

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2. I know fair trade chocolates can be hard to find in your local grocery stores, but if you’re up for the task, many co-op type stores carry yummy fair trade options. You can also order fair trade chocolate online – I found a few favorites here, like these organic & fairly traded Milk Chocolate Eggs from Equal Exchange. They also have some fair trade chocolate bars available.

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3. Add one of these special little bunnies from Bla Bla Kids – handmade by expert knitters in Peru, with a commitment to fair trade. These lovies are sure to become one of your children’s favorites for many years to come. I especially love Pierre the Bunny with his green satchel & scarf. For your sweet little girl, there are a couple of adorable choices, Fleur (pictured here) and Mirabelle.

butterfly-gourd-container4. These sweet little decorative gourd containers are a fun & unique addition where your little ones can keep their special treasures. Hand-carved by a small fair trade cooperative in Peru, there are several designs to choose from available here at Seven Hopes United; you can also pick some up in person if you’re in San Diego this Saturday at the Little Italy Mercato.

eva-hand-painted-bird-cup5. And last but not least, add a set of our favorite kid-friendly Eva Cups & Bowls. Choose a different color for each child, and they have their very own special set of dishes for water, juice, and snacks. Stainless steel, food-safe, and hand-painted by talented artisans in Kashmir, India.

What are some of your ideas for an ethical Fair Trade Easter basket? Please let us know what you would add in the comments below! We’d love to hear from you…maybe you even have some great handmade ideas?

Friday Favorites {Doing Good Edition}

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How did your work week go, friends? Hopefully you were able to stash the sweatpants and snuggle up in some breezy Punjammie Loungers instead–the perfect comfy, lightweight pants to take you into Spring. :)

Whether your weekend will include lounging in jammies or fun outings in the sunshine, let’s start it off right with a  “doing good” version of Friday Favorites! Check out some of my fave finds this week that will hopefully inspire us all.

Favorite Fashion: Headbands of Hope. For every headband purchased from this fantastic company, one is donated to a girl with cancer and $1 is donated to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation to fund life-saving childhood cancer research.
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Favorite Sip: TOMS Roasting Co. You know your comfy slip-on shoes and stylin sunglasses from the awesome people at TOMS? Well, now they’ve added coffee into the mix! In keeping with their business model of one for one, with every bag of coffee you purchase, TOMS will give one week of clean water to a person in need!
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Favorite Party Idea: Sole Hope Shoe Cutting Party. Having a kids’ birthday party or a girls night in? Throw in a fun activity: making shoes for children in Uganda affected by foot diseases. This company does so much more too—make sure to check out their Website!
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Favorite Carry-All: Hiptipico Backpacks. These gorgeous backpacks are made ethically, eco friendly, and 10% of all proceeds from backpack purchases go directly to their Mayan Scholarship Fund for children in Guatemala. I feel the need to book a trip coming on…backpack

Favorite Flip-Flop: Hari Mari. Not only are these comfy leather flip-flops ethically made, the company gives $3 from every sale to fight pediatric cancer.
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Favorite photography find: FotoStrap. With every purchase of their beautiful handmade camera straps, Fotostrap donates 10% to Fotolanthropy, a non-profit that gives portrait sessions and short films to inspiring people who are overcoming adversity.
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Favorite Pet Product: Baxter and Birdie. These cute dog collars and leashes are made sustainably and operate by the one for one model—for every item you buy for your pooch, they donate one to an animal in need.
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Favorite Baby Gear: Baby Teresa. Baby Teresa sells a line of gorgeous 100% organic cotton baby clothing and accessories. They also use the one for one model; they donate the same item purchased to a child in need. For each accessory item they sell, a portion of the sales go to purchasing formula for babies (typically in orphanages).
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Favorite mommy gear: Rockin Baby Slings. For every sling purchased, Rockin’ Baby will donate a new sling to a mother in need, and educate them on its importance. The patterns are adorable too!
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Favorite home improvement: Orchard Tables Wine Rack. For every Orchard Tables product sold, 50% of the profit goes to children who are suffering from starvation in Swaziland, Africa.
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Favorite beauty product: Rooted Beauty facial care. This company develops pure, gluten-free skincare while positively impacting women burdened by extreme poverty, abuse or sex trafficking.
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Favorite Home Décor: Make New Friends Print from Sevenly. If you haven’t heard of Sevenly, this company donates $7 from proceeds of each weekly cause to that cause’s charity. This gorgeous print reminds us all to step out of comfort zones sometimes! I think it would look awesome in a nursery.
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Favorite Jewelry: 31BITS Mulberry Necklace. As always, we have something I’m saving my pennies for right here at Seven Hopes United. How lovely is this long necklace to take you into Spring? Purchases of this pretty piece help save lives in Northern Uganda.
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I hope you love this week’s finds as much as I did. :) It’s fun to think that when we spend money, we can choose to do good with it as well as enjoy what we purchase! Let me know any other “doing good” recommendations in the comments!

XO,

Casey

Wal-Mart, Living Wages, and Food Stamps

Several years ago my husband and I chose to no longer shop at Wal-Mart because of the unfair and unethical labor practices of many of their producers overseas; sometimes paying their sweatshop workers mere pennies a day to work in monotonous, unsafe working conditions. It is not a secret that many of these sweatshops are in China. Wal-Mart’s biggest supplier, China, exported $18 billion in goods to Wal-Mart alone in 2004 (Wal-Mart’s China Inventory).

As of the 2010 fiscal year, the 8,416 Wal-Mart stores worldwide produced just over $405 billion dollars in net sales – more than any other corporation. The company’s gross profit margin has been on the rise for the last five years, coming in at 24.8%, and net sales also continue to increase.

Walmart Living Wages Strike

Photo: International Business Times

With numbers like these, you’d think Wal-Mart’s employees would receive some sort of shared benefit. But instead of enjoying the success of their employer, the majority of Wal-Mart’s employees face wages falling below the poverty line and less-than-adequate healthcare.

I was recently directed to this short video from Slate.com, which discusses the wages of these workers, food stamps, and their affect on our economy:

As the co-founder of Seven Hopes United, a fair trade organization, I am openly passionate about living wages for all people, whether they are producers overseas, or workers right here in our local Wal-Mart. I’d love to have a discussion about this article – either here on the blog or on Facebook. What are your thoughts?

Do you think it’s fair to ask Wal-Mart to raise their prices so their employees are making living wages, so they no longer require the support of food stamps? What are your thoughts on Wal-Mart’s low prices, and the fact that a large percentage of their employees are living under the poverty line? Do you think Wal-Mart should be taking responsibility for the well-being of their employees? Would you be willing to pay more so that their workers are being paid fairly?

Fair Trade Essentials for Body, Soul and Home

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Happy Friday and Happy Spring! :)

When a new month rolls around, I like to empty out some space in my cabinets, my heart and my mind. You too? It’s so nice to start the Spring season in a fresh new mindset and grab some fun beauty essentials to go with it. :) This month, instead of hopping on Amazon or heading to Target to get my “me” shopping in, I’m logging right onto SevenHopesUnited.com!

I’m so happy the fair trade movement continues to build, and more and more people across the country are showing excitement for ethically made and sourced products. When the term “fair trade” comes up, sometimes people just think coffee or chocolate. And while those ar wonderful products that can support the fair trade movement, today we’re going to think out of the box. I’ll highlight some of my favorite ethical products to feed your body, soul and home! Care to take a peek?

For your Body:
Dreambean Essentials Gift Set: Ok, so this one says “gift set,” it’s true. But who made up the rule you can’t give gifts to yourself? Sorry to whoever did, but I’m breaking it.

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Bali-Made Flower Soaps: These moisturizing, handmade soaps are wrapped in soft, hand-screened cotton fabric, and produced by a small cooperative of artisan soap makers and organic farmers in the high mountains of Bali. Smell extra sweet this month!

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For Your Soul:

31 BITS Sunday Frill Necklace: Can a necklace be good for the soul? I think any woman who appreciates jewelry would give this an amen. Made in Uganda, this beautiful piece is a new staff favorite.

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Bali Green Kimono Robe: Cuddle up in this cozy, soft robe and dream the morning away. Sometimes, an hour or two in your robe is the best way to start the day.

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For Your Home:

Spiral Sun Hatian Wall Art: This Spiral Sun is sure to bring joy to your home, just as your purchase brings joy to the artist, Brutal Michel’s family. Each piece of art is cut and shaped by hand from a 55-gallon recycled metal drum. The finished design is coated with a protective finish so that it can be hung indoors or outdoors.

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Tree of Life Wall Tapestry: Feed your artistic spirit when you hang this beauty on your wall.  Traditionally painted on mud walls, villagers in India adapt the time-honored style of Mandana folk art to create this appliqued tapestry. The entire artwork is done by using a single piece of fabric using small hand stitches.

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What are your giving to your body, soul and home this month? Let me know in the comments! :)

XO,

Casey