For some light summer reading (#sarcasmfont), I decided to finally tackle 7 by Jen Hatmaker. I can’t tell you how long I have had this book intending to read it, but absolutely terrified to do so. And I discovered that was for good reason. I cannot continue the same as before. Stupid convicting books.
One of the areas that hit home the hardest was fashion. I have never tried to deny that I have loved clothes for as long as I can remember. Honestly I still vividly remember a few of my favorite outfits from Kindergarten (sweater with little whales on it and jeans with rhinestones on the pocket-sigh). I had a jobs in retail in high school and college and I bought more clothes with my paychecks than anyone should ever admit in public. The trend continues to this day.
I justify it up and down, but I rarely stop to think about how much the money could be doing allocated in different ways (because I typically stay within budget, I can justify anything). I also rarely think about the truths behind my cheap fashion. Someone else is paying a very high price so that I can look cute. Sad.
image courtesy of Fair Trade Friday
Well. What if I could use my love of fashion and do good? You guys!!! I CAN!!!!
Fair Trade Friday is the brilliant idea of one of my sweet blogging friends, Kristen of We Are That Family fame. If you don’t know her full story you should really read her book Rhinestone Jesus or read her blog which will make you laugh and cry on a daily basis or check out her amazing ministry, Mercy House (well her OTHER amazing ministry). Clearly you need to know her. But anyway, she felt God calling her to help empower women all over the world and Fair Trade Friday was born.
Fair Trade Friday is a monthly membership club different than most others. It delivers a box of high quality items to your door by the first Friday of the month. The items in the box are fairly traded and provide employment to women all over the world. 100% of the proceeds from each box goes to the empowerment of impoverished women as an avenue to introduce them to the Gospel. Currently they are working with 19 countries and helping over 1000 woman find employment, dignity and hope. Just one box employs an average of 7 women from around the globe!
I have been a member for several months (even before I was asked to be part of the blogging team) and I have loved knowing that the adorable earrings, bracelets and purses I wear are making a difference in someone’s life. Everything isn’t always my style but I simply pass on things to people I know will love them. And it isn’t always clothes in my subscription box either. I have received coffee, potholders, journals, notecards and more.
Listen to these amazing words from one of the many women who provide their wares for your boxes:
“Probably one of the most profound moments for me was in a mud home in Kenya talking with a woman we were buying paper bead bracelets from for a Fair Trade Friday box. She grabbed my hands and squeezed them tight. She looked me straight in the eyes and said,‘Tell the women in America that we need them to keep buying what we make. Tell them it is feeding my son and two daughters. Tell them not to forget us.’ I will spend the rest of my life reminding these marginalized women they are not forgotten.” – Kristen Welch, MercyHouse Co-Founder
Old Navy isn’t going to do that for anyone. In fact, it is most likely doing more harm than good (this is not a guilt trip, I am learning right along with you and possibly still buying from Old Navy just this week….. #keepingitreal). My favorite part is that each item in my box comes with a tag that tells me where the artisan lives and often times even her name. And just for a moment, I am part of her story. And part of God’s big old giant redemption story for us all.
image courtesy of Fair Trade Friday
Is it possible my love of fashion can change the world? Fair Trade Friday thinks so. They like to say, “Change the World, Look Good Doing It.” And even if I didn’t get a single item that makes me “look good”, I can think of a million other really stupid ways to blow $30 that doesn’t help a woman across the world put food in her child’s belly.
If you too want to be a part of making a difference, please consider becoming a part of Fair Trade Friday, either by getting on the waiting list for the original box subscription, by ordering a one-time box, or by joining the Earring of the Month Club. Or consider shopping other fair trade items in the Mercy Shop to benefit Mercy House. You really can’t lose.
I received a one-time box as part of the Fair Trade Friday Blogging Team in exchange for telling you about this service. I was a subscriber long before that and love the chance to get to share about such a great organization.