Only recently I went to our local shopping mall and tried to buy a handbag. A task I thought would be quite simple. I didn’t really have any style in mind, however it had to be sweat shop free. I was very disappointed in the result of not being able to find a single bag! In addition to this I have two young girls who I want to grow up in a world without slavery, child labour, poverty and human trafficking. All of which are much more common than I first thought.
I started Ethical Living to offer an alternative to consumers, with the hope of one day making ethically produced products mainstream and readily available in local shopping centres.
|Beak to Tail Carry Bag supplied by the fair trade organisation SHOHOJOGITA , a Bangladesh word which means “helping each other”|
Fairtrade items give people in terrible situations the opportunity to access basic items and services which we all take for granted. They provide the artisans funds to purchase food, housing and medical treatment for themselves and their families.
|Handmade Owl Paper created by artisans employed by Eastern Screen Printers, located in Saidpur, Northern Bangladesh|
There are a large number of ethically minded consumers and the group is growing. It would be wonderful to see ethically produced items become part of mainstream shopping and available in large department stores. We hope to work with other organisations to eventually make this a reality.
I love this multi-strand turquoise necklace. It’s great at adding a little colour to an outfit and it’s made by women who have been rescued from sexual exploitation.
We are constantly looking for ways to improve our processes to ensure we have the least environmental impact possible. Currently we use as much recycled and reusable packaging as possible. Sometimes it’s hard to find space to store all of the donated boxes and tissue paper we receive for packaging.
Many of our products are also made from recycled materials. Just to name a few, we currently have handbags made from recycled fruit punch packaging which would have otherwise have been sent to landfill. We also have a range of jute toys which as completely biodegradable.
|Baby Jute Giraffe supplied by Siham Craftlink who are working toward empowering crafts people in the developing world through fair trade|
I take most of my inspiration from stories of survival. People who are able to overcome such difficulties in their lives and still find the strength to change their lives and help others are truly inspiring.
The Starfish Project has beautiful stories of courage and strength from ladies who were sold into sexual exploitation and have since been rescued. They make the most amazingjewellery to support the work they do in rescuing other women.
|Coconut Shell Multi-Strand Necklace made by the Starfish Project, which is committed to restoring hope for each woman that enters its doors|
We are currently in the process of increasing the range of products we stock to include even more jewellery and fashion accessories. We are also looking to supply a children’s clothing range.
It’s great to be able to support a wider range of organisations and so exciting to see such support for fair trade and ethically produced items.