Wednesday, October 15, 2014

For the Love of Fair Trade!


Hey all! I am so beyond excited to announce my very first partnership! Free Sparrow and Lov'edu Living have partnered up to talk to you all about the importance of Free Trade. But before I dive into Free Trade itself, I'd like to tell you a little bit more about Lov'edu! Anna Boettcher founded the London-based company in 2013 around the beliefs of the power of ethical business. Every single one of the items that she sells is handmade from all natural materials, sustainably produced and fairly traded. She says that she wanted to "create a circle of giving", where everyone involved, from the designer to the seller to the buyer, would be getting exactly what they deserve. ETHICAL is the big word, here. Her business supports not only the creativity of the people making the products, but also the community from which they come. Currently, Lov'edu is showcasing collections from Paris, London, Africa, Thailand, and Ibiza, where Anna was raised. Not only do they support people through the selling of their products, but they also support the community by promising that 10% of their annual profits will be donated towards projects that they feel are worth supporting, especially projects related to protecting the environment, furthering young people’s education, protecting children and assisting women to set up small businesses.

"The Lov'edu store is based on the belief that an object can only be beautiful where it has been created and traded in a joyful and generous spirit."



When I first visited their website, I was blown away by the vibrant colors and beauty of the products. Lov'edu features home decor, accessories, jewelry, and lifestyle products. Some of my favorites include the Maasai Glass Bead Necklaces and the Handwoven Baskets. They offer such a wide selection, so there is definitely something there that will please everyone. There is even a variety of kids' toys that are so sweet and charming, especially this little stuffed bunny. I hope that one day I can visit their brick and mortar store in London. I can't imagine how beautiful some of these products are in person! They sent me one of their African Trade Beads Bracelets and I love it! It is unique, interesting, and of course, lovely. I've worn it a couple of times already and gotten many compliments. It also came with an adorable little red heart stone that is currently living on my book shelf, reminding me of my promise to ethical products made with love.

"We believe that trade is the oldest and most powerful driving force behind cultural and creative exchanges in this world; it has made people travel, discover, be inspired and create since the beginning of civilisation. If used wisely, trade is the most beautiful way of not only creating livelihoods, but of uniting humans, across borders, without judgement, creating a space in which differences in culture, belief, ethnicity and tradition are not barriers to understanding, but rather, are sources of enjoyment, creativity and expression. It is a place where we all speak the same language, whether we are on the side of the giving or the taking, of the offering or the receiving, of the creating or the experiencing, it is an exchange, it is a trade."



And the best part is, everything is responsibly made and traded! I can't tell you how much I appreciate this company for it's fair trade values. In a nutshell, a Fair Trade product is anything that comes from farmers and workers who are FAIRLY compensated. They are given a just wage for their labor and you receive a beautiful, quality, handmade product. Because the workers are paid fairly and the goods are made sustainably, fair trade supports the community and environment. Every time you buy fair trade, you are personally supporting a person and their community, rather than a faceless corporation. In our society today, it is so important for us to think about what we buy and how we go about our consumerism. It is part of our civil responsibility to protect our society and make sure that people are treated fairly. Choosing fair trade is a guaranteed way to do that.

"Fairly Traded - an item is deemed to have been traded fairly when the price of the item is the producer’s/artist’s asking price and can be translated, at it’s minimum, into a living wage for the time of labour plus a bonus for creativity. If wages are paid, they will be at least living wages (a living wage, as opposed to minimum wage, guarantees workers to cover living costs and lead a decent life). Producers are not tied to any trade agreements, they maintain full control over their work and work processes and remain 100% independent."



Over the past year or so, I've made the personal decision to stop buying from stores like Forever 21, Charlotte Russe, H&M, etc. These stores are selling cheaply made, mass produced disposable clothing and do not support their workers. My family stopped buying from WalMart a long time ago for the same reason: people are not being treated well. It may cost a little bit more for me to shop elsewhere, but it is completely worth it. I am paying for something more responsible and of higher quality. Little by little, I'm doing my research and finding out where I can shop and feel good about it. One thing I'm always certain of, though, is that when I buy fair trade, there is no problem. My money is supporting something worthwhile.

"Lov’edu believes in a world where beauty, art and style can be enjoyed within a circle of sustainability, through building relationships with designers, producers and crafters whose processes respect and work with nature. This vision is part of a process we call “The Love Education”: Love Beauty, Love Nature, Love Yourself. It is the practice of thinking and acting from a higher state of consciousness and awareness; of living a holistic lifestyle that is in harmony with nature, with humanity and thereby, with oneself."


I really am so excited to be partnering with Lov'edu! This is a cause that is very important to me, and I am proud to be supporting a company that believes in the same principles. I encourage you all to take a swing over to their website and peruse the lovely collections. I assure you, there will be something there that you will fall in love with! And remember, every purchase counts. Every time you choose fair trade, people benefit, communities benefit, and the environment benefits. On top of it, you receive something unique and beautiful! It's a win-win situation, always. October is Fair Trade Month! So, for the love of fair trade, go buy fair!

“Our philosophy of direct trade, from the producer to the shop floor, makes every purchase a holistic experience of giving and receiving. At Lov’edu every piece has a story, making our customers feel truly unique ” - Anna Boettcher, Founder and Director.


You can visit the Lov'edu website here.
For more information about American Fair Trade, you can visit Fair Trade USA.

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