This month we are little behind, but don’t worry our faithful fair trade friends are still going strong with their commitment to purchase fair in 2017! Check out what they have to say about their journey in March.

From Jaci:

That’s right guys, still embracing this New Years resolution and going strong. I’ve decided only to purchase second hand clothing this year. By buying secondhand, I am recycling clothing, therefore contributing less to landfills used for textiles that are thrown away or not sold. I am also not contributing to the demand for new clothing to be made. The average American spends more than $130 on clothing EVERY MONTH. That’s crazy to me! Lots of clothes are imported from places around the world where clothing is being manufactured by slaves. Yes! Slavery still exists! There are more slaves in the world today than when slavery was legal in the United States. By decreasing the demand for new clothing, the need for slave labor to make new clothing goes down. It isn’t a perfect system, but this is a step I can take to make a difference where I am now.

This month, I have been working on a group project for class and part of that project was getting people like you to donate clothing that will go to ACBC Food Shelf Anoka. You guys! Take a look at the picture below of all the clothes in bags we have gathered!!

The other pictures below are mine. Something that is important to me is finding my treasure in Jesus and not in material things. A great way that I’ve found to decrease my dependence on material things is simply to downsize the amount that I own.

Something BIG that I started just today is a major wardrobe downsize. The clothes pictured on my bed are half of the clean clothing items that I own.

There are 87 items there (a pair of socks counts as one item). What I am going to do is put all of those pieces of clothing into a bag and put it under my bed and see how long I can go without opening it.
I haven’t decided how long to go yet, but if I reach a certain point without opening it, I will donate a lot of it! This is extremely scary for me. I really like clothes.

Then, I will start the process over again with my entire wardrobe. The Fair Project is about being intentional with your decisions and purchases.I encourage you all to make the pledge! Happy Shopping!

From Jenny:

“Welcome back to The Fair Project!  Spring is here, and I’m pumped to break out my sundresses and sandals!

My March started with spring break, which for me meant work, family, and relaxation.  I have a few awesome jobs, and I spent a great deal of my spring break working at Bridal Aisle Off-the-Rack and Consignment.  It’s a joy of a job–there are always stories to be heard, and I love seeing everyone so excited about big events in their lives.  I’ve worked here since my junior year of high school, long before I was so passionate about secondhand shopping, but it’s managed to fit perfectly into the way I view money and material things.  We all have so much stuff and it’s easy to just get rid of it when something new catches our eye, so consignment shops are a great way to cut down on excess.  Especially with formals, which are typically worn once or maybe two or three times if they’re more versatile, it’s important that we know of places that can take our unwanted items off of our hands.  For example, the dress pictured below came in over my break: it was worn once for prom and had no visible damage–you wouldn’t know it from one of our new off-the-rack dresses.

This dress retailed for over $300 and was sold at our shop for $215!  It was only there for three days, and you’d never know it had been worn before!  So glad it could go to make another girl feel beautiful–it’s great to give your items a second life.

Not only do I love my job because it promotes secondhand shopping, but also because it’s made me realize that it’s imperative to support small, local businesses.  I’ve watched our store grow in size and popularity so much over the last two years, and I know it wouldn’t have happened without the owner putting in countless hours of hard work.  Small businesses are wonderful places to shop because the employees are usually so much more involved and passionate and really work to form a personal connection with the customers.

…The other fantastic thing about shopping small is this: your money isn’t going to line the pockets of another wealthy CEO.  It’s going to support a family, to support dreams coming true, and to invest directly in the personal lives of people who are doing hard, honest work.  I’m not going to write a big, long advertisement for us on here, but if you’re interested in shopping or consigning with us, check out our website, as well as our Facebook page and Instagram, and feel free to contact me as well!

Another highlight of my spring break was a trip with my family to the Mall of America.  I went with one goal in mind: to visit The Body Shop.  I mentioned them in my first post in this series, and I was finally able to visit their one physical location in Minnesota.  From the moment I came in, I loved it!  The staff was extremely personable and involved in our entire time shopping; they answered every question we had, tested products on us to help find the right ones, and gave us plenty of recommendations and suggestions to fit what we were looking for.  When one of the workers asked why we were shopping there, I told her about my passion for fair-trade items, and she told me that that was the reason she wanted to be part of the company, and we instantly bonded.

It was so encouraging to be in a place with like-minded people who understood why I care so much about workers getting paid fair wages in every part of the process, from ingredient sourcing to sales.  They had fantastic customer service from start to finish–they gave us a bunch of free samples of products with our purchase, and seemed genuinely happy that we were supporting their business.

The Body Shop is a place to love for a number of reasons: they’re an all-natural, cruelty-free company with a number of community-trade ingredients in all of their products.  They just added their twentieth and are aiming to double the number in the next few years.  They aim to enrich, not exploit the community, which not only means fair pay for the workers, but also being mindful of the environment and stewarding the manufacturing and agricultural parts of the process well.  Not only do their products uphold the values of ethical production, but they also don’t sacrifice quality in doing so.  My mom and I both bought this concealer, and it’s worked quite well.  My only complaint is that the stick broke soon after I bought it, but that could’ve been because I rolled it up too high or was too rough with it.  I also bought this lipstick, and am absolutely in love with it!

I had a public speaking class this semester, and one of the biggest assignments we had was a persuasive speech. I decided to do it on a more common topic that I’ve almost exhausted for myself: secondhand shopping.  Don’t get me wrong, I love informing people on why I shop the way I do, but it felt like that was something everyone already knew about me.  I reluctantly gave in and pulled up the topic again, and God must have wanted me to do it because it went quite well!  I normally despise people watching my speeches, but in the spirit of vulnerability, it’s posted on my Facebook!  I spent a great deal of time watching the documentary The True Cost for this project, and I would highly recommend it to anyone.  It goes in depth with firsthand accounts about the environmental, economic, and personal impacts of the clothing industry.  The filmmakers traveled around the world interviewing people from all stages of production, which added great credibility to the film and helped me understand the deeper effects of the industry as well as how interconnected it is.  It’s available on Netflix, but if you’re like me and one of the few people left in this country without it, fear not: you can rent it online at their website.

Other fun things: I’ve gotten a few cute items of clothing from the Northwestern Online Garage Sale page on Facebook (aka where UNW girls’ money goes to die), and got a fair-trade chocolate bar in the mail from my uncle!  I also received a skirt from a friend–it didn’t fit her, but she couldn’t return it, so she generously let me have it, and I adore it!

Secondhand mer-cat skirt from a lovely friend (plus secondhand white dress shirt)…heart eyes for days!  (Also, what are the chances I find such a cute thing to match it the day I happen to wear it?)

I’ve gotten a lot of questions about secondhand shopping and fair-trade items as I’ve been talking about it, and people generally seem proud that I’m doing it, but not willing to jump into it themselves.  I’d encourage you to pick one item and start buying it secondhand or fair-trade, and then go from there.  Fair-trade coffee is pretty easy to find, as well as chocolate.  You could start buying secondhand accessories instead of getting them all at the mall.  All it takes is that first step, and then if you’re intentional about it, the attitude will come with time.  Curiosity is key–when you start wondering about who made what you’re eating or wearing, you’ll be that much more likely to look into it and then do something about it.  Please let me know if you’re interested in shopping fair-trade and secondhand; I would be thrilled to talk to you about it!  Sometimes all you need is more information.  For those of you on this journey with me, keep pressing on and living simply so others may simply live.”

Jenny’s post has been abbreviated here, you can read Jenny’s whole post on her blog, Use Your Words.

A note from Stories’ Co-Founder and Executive Director, Stephanie Page:

These ladies inspire me every month with all they are learning and the simple daily things they are doing that show they value people with their purchases. When I read their posts I am reminded why I do what I do. Join us here at Stories Foundation in The Fair Project. It isn’t as hard as you think and I know you won’t regret it!



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Stories Foundation

Join the Movement! We all have a story to share and our stories can touch the stories of others. Stories is on it's way to becoming a cafe where proceeds will go to the abolition of modern day slavery...

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