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  • Lotus & Luna Discount!

    Exciting news! One of Affinity Fair Trade favorite makers has offered YOU, Affinity fans, an exclusive discount! Now you can get 20% off all your orders from using code AFFINITYFAIRTRADE. This discount will work as many times as you want and on every order!! We will still stock Lotus & Luna products in the shop, too, but now you have access to every print of their fabulous cozy harem pants, wide-leg pants, every color combo of Healing Necklace, every color duo of reversible bucket hats, their full Men's jewelry collection, their gift sets, skirts, shorts, cover-ups, and (my new favorite) shirts. All 20% off anytime you want! You should probably save this post. You're gonna want to remember this! Shop anytime using code AFFINITYFAIRTRADE for 20% off! Lotus & Luna products are hand made in Thailand. They employ 300 artisans, promoting growth among the villages and helping the artisans achieve a high quality of life. We love their commitment to ethical production and their goal to make the world a better place!

  • Human Trafficking Awareness

    Today, January 11, is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. I am wearing blue for this day. #wearblueday Not-So-Fun Fact, Texas has one of the highest human trafficiking rates in the U.S. In fact, It's ranked number two - only behind California. Our wide-open-spaces, high-speed highways, and proximity to Mexico all factor into that. Women, unhoused minors, refugees and migrant workers are most at risk statistically. It is heartbreaking to me that "opportunities" to improve their lives is often what traffickers use to gain control of them. I recently read The Girl With The Louding Voice by Adjoa Andoh. It is the story of a young woman in Nigeria who was forced into marriage at a young age as a third wife. (slight spoiler alert following:) Through a series of events that were not in her control, she ends up being trafficked away from her home and put to work in the home of an abusive woman. Rather than paying the girl for her work, they pay the trafficker for his services. I won't spoil any more of the story than that, but it opened my eyes to how someone could end up in a trafficking situation through no fault of their own and not through the "kidnapping" that is so often portrayed in the media. This is real people, doing their best to thrive in their lives by doing what they can. I, admittedly, am new to learning about these issues, so I am no expert. I encourage you to take some time to learn. Google an article, read a book (I highly recommend the one above for everyone! Girl power at it's best!), whatever you can do. I'll list a few of the resources I've used below. In December I participated in Dressember - a style challenge to wear a dress every day in December for the purpose of raising money and awareness and help end human trafficking. The fundraiser is open through the end of January, so if your heart is looking for a small way to help go to . Just $30 can provide one trauma-informed counseling session in an aftercare center. $80 can provide all the school supplies for a year for one child trafficking survivor. Resources: * * A local news story: story-on-human-trafficking-awareness-day/3167375/ * *20 Ways You Can Help *

  • Cyber Monday Sale - Swedish Dishcloths

    As a special Cyber-Monday treat, we offering our best-selling product - Swedish Dishcloths - online for one day only. This post is valid November 28, 2022 ONLY. How To Purchase: Choose which patterns you'd like from the pictures below. Email your order to Please include your shipping address and your Venmo or Paypal name with phone number (for verification on cash app). Orders will be shipped on Friday, Dec 2 (after you have paid). If you have any questions you can email me, message me, comment on this blog post, DM me on social, etc. Cost: Buy 4, Get 1 FREE! 1 free dishcloth with every 4th ordered. (Buy 4, get 1 free. Buy 8, get 2 free. Buy 12, get 3 free. Etc.) FREE SHIPPING when you order 3 or more. 1 dishcloth - $7 + $3 shipping 2 dishcloths - $14 + $3 shipping 3 dishcloths - $21 + free shipping 4 dishcloths - $28 + free shipping + free dishcloth added 5 dishcloths - $35 + free shipping (+ the free dishcloth) 6 dishcloths - $42 + free shipping (+ the free dishcloth) 7 dishcloths - $49 +free shipping (+ the free dishcloth) 8 dishcloths - $56 + free shipping + 2nd free dishcloth added ... etc! Tax will be added after the above totals. Why Are These Best-sellers? They're cute! Plus, each cloth absorbs 20x it's weight, replaces 17 rolls of paper towels, leaves no streaks, air dries quickly, doesn't breed bacteria like a sponge, is dishwasher (top rack) safe and washing machine safe, and is 100% biodegradable. About the Maker: Three Bluebirds was founded by Lasse and Lynda - husband and wife - in Connecticut. Lasse draws all the designs himself! He grew up in Finland using plain Swedish Dishcloths. When the two met and fell in love, Lynda embraced Lasse's culture. Soon an idea hatched to bring these innovative, sustainable dishcloths to the USA. They import the materials from Europe (made in a fair trade certified factory), but then design and print them in in Connecticut. Read the whole story on their website.

  • Fair Trade Holiday Gifting Guide

    Finding the best of fair trade offerings can be hard. If you can't make it to Affinity Fair Trade, or would rather do your shopping online, here are a few ideas of where to shop. Tip: Fair Trade pricing may seem "high", unless you remember that it's about the value of a real humans time and talents. Read the story of how and where these products were made and see if you feel differently about that "high" price afterward. For The One Who Stays Home That friend who would rather stay home, or the sister-in-law who's a total introvert How about a cozy kantha throw? ReMade India collects saris from the street vendors of India and transforms them into beautiful, unique blankets. They're so soft and cozy (at least 3 layers of sari in each one!), plus a beautiful addition to any room. Choose her favorite colors, but don't be afraid to go a little outside her color-comfort-zone. They'll appreciate that each blanket is unique, has history, and feels like a warm hug. Shop at: ReMade India For The Chef The one whose kitchen is their happy place Beautiful serving dishes, handmade cutting boards, bread warmers, mugs and teapots and more - try Serrv International. They have tons of unique gifts for the foodie in your life. They're a nonprofit that "ensures that artisans and farmers living in poverty are treated with respect and dignity, and are paid fairly for their work." They work with over 7000 artisans in 25+ countries, so they have a great variety of gifting options. Shop at: Serrv International The Acacia Wood Salad from Serrv set in made in the Philippines from sustainably harvested wood. For The Boho Fashionista The one wearing the flowy, flowery latest-styles You might be tempted to give a gift card to this friend because you're intimidated by the idea of nailing their style. There's nothing wrong with a gift card, but choosing an item for them can be a great way to connect. Check out Adorned: a UK company that is a mother-daughter team. Their style is great and I don't think you'd go wrong with a single thing for your boho friend (or a gift card to this shop even). My personal favorite are the Rainbow Striped Cotton Trousers (see pic below of Nancy wearing them). Bonus: many of their styles are totally androgynous - but don't be intimidated by that if your gift-ee isn't. Androgyny can be all about the styling. Shop at: Adorned UK For The Bag Lover That friend who wants a bag to match every season, vibe and outfit. I guarantee she doesn't have this bag. How? Each one is unique! They have shoulder, crossbody, hobo, fanny packs, overnighters, wallets and many, many more styles in every color. (I'm not going to admit how many of these beauties I own myself.) Each is made from upcycled saris and each has the name of it's maker written on a tag inside. Be sure to stop by the Meet the Makers page of their website to learn about the woman who made your exact bag! Shop at: Sari Bari For The Plant Lover The one with plants on every windowsill in their home A live plant always looks great in a colorful planter! Elizabeth's Voice has the most adorable colorful planters (plus other baskets, jewelry and even clothing). Each is handmade in Uganda and gives a woman dignified work and an opportunity for education. They say "Hire a girl, Change the world." Your plant lover can feel connected to a talented woman across the globe as she feeds her plant-babies. Bonus Gifting Idea: Fill the basket with their favorite candy, pens, or a baking mix when you gift it. Shop at: Elizabeth's Voice For The One Who Still Wears A Hoodie In Summer The teenager (*insert Jaws-eque dramatic music*) Notoriously difficult to buy for. Doesn't "like" anything. If they want a hoodie, make it a hoodie that is super cozy, well made, and also good for the earth. Yes Friends makes larger batches of more-classic styles so that they can prioritize paying their workers well and still be profitable. Something I can definitely say YES to! Plus, really... they make a super cozy hoodie and tee! Teenager approved (in my house anyway). Gifting idea: grab a sharpie or fabric marker and handwrite a little heart or "I love you" on the inside of the hoodie's hem for a personalized touch. Shop at: Yes Friends In Conclusion Gifting can be tricky - adding fair trade may seem even more daunting. The options are out there, I promise! Stick with me here on the blog for more Maker Highlights and Brand Reviews, but also, allow yourself baby steps. One small change at a time is a great place to start. Shopping ethically isn't about guilt-tripping. Really it's the opposite! It's about spreading light via connection to humans around the world. You're doing great. They're gonna love that gift just because it came from you. Happy holidays!

  • Using Fair Trade To Fight Slavery - Dressember Challenge Intro

    Slavery is still a thing in today’s modern world. Another, perhaps better, name for it is Human Trafficking. It may look different than what you’re picturing, but it’s real. In 2021, 50 million people were living in human trafficking situations, an INCREASE of 10 million over the past 5 years*. Check out some resources for learning more about this global problem (yes, even in the USA) at the end of this post. What we know: Fair trade is a set of governing principles that guide production of many products. One of the ten principles of fair trade is No Child Labor or Forced Labor. Let’s start at the end and work backwards here: That is a major simplification of a very complicated and multi-faceted problem, but it is the general idea of one way shopping fair trade can truly make the world better. That is also the connection that brings me to participate this year in Dressember - a style challenge to wear a dress every day in December. Over 21,000 people have done this since it began in 2013 and they have collectively raised over $15MM “to fight human trafficking around the world” and to bring awareness to it. “When enough people use their voices to advocate for change, things begin to shift. Dressember is much more than an awareness campaign; we’re a social movement rooted in the belief that all people deserve to be free. Help us send the message to traffickers everywhere that we’re not going anywhere.” While I do wear a dress to church every Sunday, so I have quite a collection, I am NOT usually a casual dress wearer. December is full of events that I’ll wish I could wear pants to. Plus, even in Texas it’s usually a little chilly to be bare-legged outside in December. (I may take advantage of the challenge loophole designed for men - to wear a tie rather than a dress. Still out-of-the-ordinary enough to draw attention, but a smidge warmer.) Despite the minor inconvenience of it, I am excited to help bring awareness and to raise money to support victims and survivors of human trafficking around the world. Fair trade is, for me, all about people - and this seems to be the same in that way. It's about people who deserve dignity and freedom in their lives. You can learn more about where, specifically, the money you donate through Dressember will go and what it will be used for on my fundraiser page. You can also see how much of an impact even a small donation can make. How you can help: #1 Donate through my fundraiser page at #2 Join my Dressember team and do this challenge with me! #3 Do the research so you can shop fair trade whenever possible. #4 Comment, like, share my posts this December to spread the footprint of my campaign To say thank you for your donation, I plan to send everyone who donates through my fundraiser page a pair of earrings! Just a small token of my appreciation for joining me on this journey. (Not this exact pair) *Source: International Labor Organization Walk Free & the International Organization for Migration Resources: The Dressember Blog: The Dressember “Things Survivors Wish You Knew” podcast: Watch the Dressember Documentary on YouTube: The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime: The FBI:

  • Fair Fashion - Yes Friends Review

    Fashion is totally subjective. What I love, others may think is crazy or ugly or just not worth the time. That's OK! In my opinion, that's what makes fashion fun! So, take it or leave it, here's a #fairtrade fashion brand I've recently purchased from and loved. Yes, Friends - Does fair fashion always mean higher price tags? No, it doesn't! Yes Friends whole concept seems to be that by producing on a larger scale, they can do things better for just a few pennies more per item. Their website says, "But how is this madness possible? There’s a myth in the fashion industry that goes like this: “It’s way too expensive to pay workers well and treat the planet well and run a successful business”. But the truth is, with a little bit of scale it's possible to pay workers well, use sustainable materials and be affordable. Ethical doesn't have to mean artisanal. Did you know: if high street brands paid a few pennies extra per T-shirt they could have paid their workers a living wage 😲" Their factory is solar and wind powered so they produce 90% less carbon compared to the production of other tees. The cotton is organic which means it's pesticide free, and they water it primarily with rain water. The workers are paid about 50% higher than some. And to top it all off, the designs are "timeless" (as opposed to trendy), so that you can wear them forever. I had to test the quality for myself, so I ordered 2 t-shirts and a hoodie. The total, including shipping, came to $55!! That's $12 for each tee, and $35 for the hoodies plus $6 shipping. I admit, I was skeptical about these actually being high quality or soft or wearable. ... I was so WRONG. The tees are super soft - maybe the most soft ever. There's no itchy tag. The sleeves are exactly the length I like and they're not too loose or too tight. The fit is great - the tees actually fit around my hips, unlike many unisex tees. The hoodie is soft and fluffy and warm. It's actually pretty thick! The hood is even functional. TBH I bought the hoodie in black because I figured I'd give it to one of my sons after I tried it, but nope. She's mine. I'm keeping her. Oh, and did you see they have jeans, too? For $41!?! I haven't tried them yet because they're currently all high-waisted "Mom jeans" - which ironically are not so flattering on my Mom-body. Things I wish I could buy from Yes Friends that they currently don't offer: * Mid-rise, straight-leg jeans (speaking of classic and timeless...) * Sweatpants as cozy as the hoodies * More color options of tees (I'm sure the limited options currently available are directly related to their philosophy of keeping prices down by scaling up production. I guess that means that we need to make them so popular that they need to produce more, so they can offer more options. I'm on it!) In conclusion, these are now my go-to tees and hoodies for myself and my teenagers. I can't think of a single thing I don't like about them. The prices are fantastic even without taking into account their fair trade-ness. Two thumbs WAY up for Yes Friends. Yes to Yes Friends!

  • Fair Fashion - Zuri Kenya Review

    Fashion is totally subjective. What I love, others may think is crazy or ugly or just not worth the time. That's OK! In my opinion, that's what makes fashion fun! So, take it or leave it, here's a #fairtrade fashion brand I've recently purchased from and loved. Zuri Kenya - I'm a big fan of color, so what caught my eye first from Zuri was the amazing prints and colors. All their clothes are made in Kenya with some of the fabrics "Kenyan grown, printed and stitched", says the website. Other options were handloomed in India or handprinted in Ghana. The hardest part was picking a print that I loved enough to wear for years and years, through fashion shifts and trends (because for that price, I knew I needed this to be a "forever dress"). Once I settled on my blues on blues print (called Poseytivity), I was anxiously watching that mailbox! The real thing did not disappoint when it arrived! It felt like it was made for me. I felt fabulous and casual and dressy all at once! (It takes a special kind of outfit to fit all of that into one dress! No wonder Zuri has a hashtag #justonedress ) I have worn it twice now and each time I styled it differently, but it still looks perfect and I still have other ideas of how to style it: Add a belt, layer with a cardigan, wear it unbuttoned over a black dress like a duster, it even came with a diagram of how to style it as a skirt! (Next up I want to try it with black tights and black combat boots!) The dresses come in 2 lengths, "Standard" or "long" - I ordered Long because I like a dress to hit right below my knee (Long adds 2 inches). Did I mention the fully-functional pockets? And that it's machine washable? Also, if the prints are a little too much for you, they have beautiful solid-colored options. TBH, I may have been slightly distracted in church the first time I wore it - daydreaming about how I felt empowered wearing such a beautiful dress and how wonderful it was to know that the people who made it were equally empowered in the making process! Zuri also has shirts, baskets and bowls, art prints, belts and more. The Carrot Top shirt is on my Christmas Wish-list. I mean, I'm a redhead who's favorite color is purple and who loves a pun - this one's a no-brainer! In conclusion, I give Zuri five stars! I literally wouldn't change a thing about the dress I received. I want to wear it every day, and I feel like the quality is good enough that I totally could. I know the price may exclude some buyers, but sometimes "You get what you pay for" really does apply. In this case, I am willing to pay for fair trade, ethical work practices and sustainable processes.

  • Maker Highlight - Freeleaf

    Freeleaf is one of Affinity Fair Trade's favorite sources. Let me introduce you to them! Their website says, "Freeleaf is a social enterprise providing employment and holistic care to at-risk and previously abused or exploited women in Asia and Austin. Every product is handmade by these survivor artisans and every purchase helps create a world where women are {k}not for sale." They are members of the Fair Trade Federation, and the Female Founder Collective. What I love about the Freeleaf mission is that it's all about empowering women who are looking for a new way of life. I was once in my shop when I heard a customer say to a friend, "Look! This tag is bragging about being made is Asia - like that's something special." Yes I am bragging about it being made in Asia. HANDmade in Asia by strong women who've survived hardships that I can't even imagine and then gotten up and moved forward. Even if I can't relate to the specifics of living through sex-trafficking, I can certainly relate to facing hardships and I understand how hard it can be to get up and claim any forward momentum. Big high-fives and all the love and support to everyone moving forward! What I love about the Freeleaf products that Affinity Fair Trade stocks is that they seem to fit into so many different styles! The Believe bowl is so beautiful in it's simplicity that it can fit into modern decor, farmhouse, beach, minimalist, or any other style you can name or have. I have one in my own home because I love it so much! The big, beautiful Abundance Wall Hanging adds drama... but somehow in a very zen, peaceful way. The knotted circular pattern plus the long, soft tassels adds texture and depth. It reminds me of sand drawings sometimes, or a cloud, or the old tale about how one twig can be easily broken with just your fingers , but if you have a whole bundle of twigs together you couldn't break them with your fingers or even with all your strength. ... Take whatever meaning you want from it (or just enjoy it's beauty without any deep meaning behind it), but you can't deny it's beauty. To get to know Freeleaf even more, you can watch this YouTube video to meet a few sweet employees and see their workspace. Follow them on Instagram or Facebook . Or take a look at their website. You can shop Freeleaf at Affinity Fair Trade at our Frisco or North Richland Hills locations or on their website (linked above).

  • Tag! You're It!

    Fair, ethical, Empowering. Thats the Affinity Fair Trade tagline. But how do YOU know, as you're shopping, how those things are true? That's where the tags come in! The Affinity tag always has the country it was handmade in written on it. Some products have "origin stories", some have fair trade labels. My favorite are the tags that have the makers name handwritten on them. My hope is that these tags will help you feel connected to the makers, their lives, and their humanity, as well as be evidence for the validity of the claims "fair, ethical, empowering."

  • But what can I do about it?

    Sometimes I wonder why "fair trade" is even a thing. Like, do we really need to say that we think everyone should be paid fairly for their hard work, skills, and time? The truth is, yes, we do have to say it. The truth is that if we don't say it, it won't happen. One of my sons recently had a school assignment regarding minimum wage. He compared minimum wage in the 1990's and the cost of living then, to the minimum wage now and the cost of living. He was quite surprised to learn that you could just barely get by in the 90s on minimum wage, but that now there is no way you could support yourself on minimum wage. I pointed out to him that even here, in the "first world", prosperous, United States of America, we have to be aware of workers rights and fight for them. “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” * Since doing nothing is NOT the answer, that leaves doing SOMETHING. That can feel overwhelming, I know. I believe that we do not have to suddenly change everything about how we buy and where we buy. I believe that we can start by doing better as much as we can whenever we can. Doing better might look like going out of your way a little to shop local, and handmade. It might look like searching for a fair trade option first when you're shopping. It might look like following some more sustainable, fair brands on social media so that you're aware of what they offer and how you can help. It might look like trying some good old, "reduce, reuse, recycle" tactics at home with what you already have. It might look like voting in local elections. The point is, you can do something. Even just one small something. One manageable-for-you something can make a big difference. References: * The origin of this quote is apparently somewhat disputed. It is often contributed to Edmund Burke. ** The Book of Mormon- Another Testament of Jesus Christ - Alma 37:6

  • Empowerment and Fair Trade

    I started selling jewelry in 2016 for a Direct Sales company. The reason I first signed up was to expand my influence and social circle beyond my family of 7 and close friends. The scariest part for me was talking to people. Any people. Chatting with a "stranger" was way outside my comfort zone and, frankly, I was NOT good at it. I had so many awkward conversations when I first started! I know that's a common problem, but it was something I really wanted to work on. It took about two years before I could say I was not uncomfortable most of the time. Now, another two years later, I can say that I actually look forward to the social aspect of my selling events. I love to chat with strangers, learn about them, discuss why they're buying gifts or treating themselves today, compliment their style, catch up with returning customers and more. My confidence in myself grew, as my confidence in my business grew. It is a uniquely empowering feeling to set goals, work hard to achieve them, and then see the difference you have made in yourself. When my Direct Sales company unexpectedly closed and I was left wondering what my next step would be, my thoughts were on my newly-earned empowerment and how I could keep that momentum. I had recently read an article about the dark side of the fashion industry - poor working conditions, child labor, etc. I thought about how lucky I was to live in a place where empowering work was available. I knew about fair trade, but not in depth. My thoughts turned to women across the world who, like me, wanted to support their families. Who, like me, wanted to feel empowered by their work. Who, like me, loved their families first and would do whatever was necessary to protect and provide for their babies. And that is how the idea of a fair trade jewelry shop was born in my head. I feel so strongly that my own journey to empowerment can not be built on the backs on faceless workers around the world. Whether the jewelry comes from an artisan who has been honing their skills for years after learning from their mother, or a novice who has been rescued from a terrible situation and taught a new trade to help them lift themselves up to a new level, I want to know the story. I want to be a part of their empowerment journey. I want to give them a face and a voice. I want to know that my empowerment comes from their empowerment. Empowerment for everyone! Fair trade means there will be good working conditions. No child labor. A safe physical place as well as an environment of teaching and learning and growth. My favorite fair trade suppliers are the organizations that are on-site with the workers giving them benefits that are rare in that area. For example, in Haiti families often have to give up their children to orphanages because they can not afford that child - so in Haiti a way to earn money is literally keeping that family together. Or, in India one organization I source from pays their workers 35% higher than the industry standard and offers full health coverage which even extends to their families and the community. When I read these stories I can see the empowerment on these workers faces. (In my head they are always women, because thats who I relate to the most, but in reality they are not all women.) It puts a smile on my own face to think of their empowered lives. **Photo credit to World Finds Ethical Style**

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