Tag Archives: fair trade

fashion

Beautiful Fair Trade Heart Pendant Necklace

I was smitten with this necklace the moment Tammy Wilson from Earthlover sent me a sneak peek.  Crafted by hand using imfibinga seeds (awesome), this pendant hangs from a 24″ hand knitted cotton string.

imfibinga2

This necklace is part of the Be Sweet product line, working with villagers in South African tribes  – their mission is to “bring socially and environmentally friendly products to fashionable consumers that evoke an individual style and help support community development around the world.”  A portion of their proceeds are donated to a school in the Eastern Cape, where many of the artisans’ children attend classes.  What makes a better gift than a gift that gives back? Nothing.  This necklace is available at Earthlover for $21.00 … and if the necklace isn’t for you, there is a gorgeous heart shaped pin!

fashion spotlights

Spotlight: Tammy Wilson of Earth Lover

Back in June I featured the Batik diaper bag from Earth Lover.  A few weeks later I received a lovely email from the owner, Tammy Wilson, thanking me for including this item.  We wrote back and forth a few times and it became apparent to me that this shop was something special and I wanted to know more.  We set up a ‘phone date’ and talked our heads off about everything under the sun.  In her sweet southern drawl, Tammy told me all about her wonderful family and the journey through life that eventually gave rise to Earth Lover.  “Sometimes you just work your way to a place. It is not a lightening bolt. Not really a sudden brilliant idea- just a place that you find yourself on your personal journey, and then it evolves from there.”

Fourteen years ago, Tammy retired from a long career as a Respiratory Therapist.  Since then she owned and sold several small business – all of them born out of passion for the things she loves.  She took a few years off when her son started high school, but fears of an ’empty nest’ and a need to give back to the world won Tammy over in 2008 when Earth Lover was founded.  Her daughter, Micah Elaine, is working on her Masters in Teaching in Atlanta and her son, Spencer Ryan, has been working on restoring a ’67 VW Microbus [his recycling project] and plans to attend MIT after high school.  These amazing children were part of Tammy’s inspiration, as she wanted to set an example for them as they go out into the world and choose their roles in society.  Since she had experience importing goods and a love for handmade, starting a green business and working with Fair Trade products seemed like the perfect fit.  With the support of her architect husband, Tammy got busy searching for goods from all over the world, “that not only bring joy into the lives of the recipient, but give back so much to the world and the beautiful people struggling to live in many parts of it”.

Tammy calls Earth Lover an alternative shopping experience.  It’s a place to shop, to learn, and to give.  “If my site can make my customers think about how simple it can be to help others through a small purchase of a beautiful product, then maybe they will begin to think about ALL of their purchases and one tiny step at a time we can make a difference.”

You can find earth-friendly products at Earth Lover for your home, your pets, your children, yourself, and your friends.  Like these handmade Fair Trade Christmas Stockings – perfect for the upcoming holidays!  Handmade in Guatemala and Armenia, the stocking on the left is made from recycled burlap coffee bags and the stocking on the right is 100% cotton with a fluffy wool top!

Click on images for more info.

coffeestockingarmenianstocking

Wrap yourself up on those cold winter nights in the comfort of a Swazi Blanket.  Handmade from 100% cotton by the lovely women of Swaziland and made available in the USA through Creative Women [a Fair Trade organization based in Vermont].

Click image for more info.swaziblanket

Q & A

Tammy Wilson of Earth Lover [You wouldn’t believe how shy she was about sending me a pic!  For a while I thought she might have one eye, a warted nose, and horns! – LOL.  Soooo not the case – great picture, Tammy – thank you!]

tammyearthlover

What is your best selling item right now and why do you think it’s so popular?

jutebag“Right this VERY MINUTE my best selling product is the Recycled Jute Backpack– it is CUTE , colorful, unique, and a great price. It is starting to slow down, now that back to school has settled in, but still quite popular. Right behind that would be my Cruelty Free leather backpacks, messengers, and the Hemp Messengers. They are just great products, unisex, and really hard to find in cruelty free leather. I have a hard time keeping them in stock, as the Fair Trade makers in Nepal have limited production, and I ALWAYS sell out!”

Where do you find the products you sell?

“EVERYWHERE! I have products from Fair Trade members, local artists, small US companies, Non- profits. And I have NEVER been to a wholesale market!! (I KNOW!!)  SO much of what I have is found by web searching for hours on end, late into the night- and from networking. People involved in Eco products, and Fair Trade tend to be very open and helpful, so it is not uncommon at all to be working with one group or person, and they share with me about another – I love that!

What is your favorite way to relax?

“Can you define that word, I am not familiar….. I am only 5’2” – and I frequently remind my friends and family that I am actually about 6’ Tall- I am just wound very tightly!! Haha! I do quilt- by hand- I know, who DOES this any more- but it is very relaxing. And I cook. Too Much. (Not too often, just too much- can you say LEFTOVER?) In the spring I grow vegetables.  Organic, of course.  I can totally chill in the garden for hours picking weeds.”

Why do you think people should buy eco-friendly and fair trade goods?

“Why WOULDN”T you??? Maybe I am naive, but I really believe that if people are educated about their choices, it is just not a choice any more!  If I ask anyone if they would rather have this handbag, or flower vase, from a sweatshop somewhere in the world, or a filthy polluting factory- or this other product from a Fair Trade Co-op that is supporting the welfare of people and making products in a way that considers the impact on our environment…Really, WHO is going to say, “Oh. I really Prefer the Sweat shop, thank you!” I really do believe it is just a matter of OFFERING an option, and educating the shopper. Maybe I am just a True Believer- but I really do believe that people are inherently Good, and would much prefer to choose Good when it is effectively offered!”

What’s something silly that most people don’t know about you?

“I talk too much to have any secrets. Really!  Ha! I don’t know…I am a vegetarian (no surprise really).   I am terrified to fly.  So I may never see many of the places that I work so hard to support – how sad is that?  Maybe someday…but I am REALLY terrified.  I have flown- lots of times- but it is hardly worth the trauma and I am getting more terrified every year.
I also like to sing stupid made up spontaneous songs during any time of great stress for my loved ones.  Yea, they REALLY appreciate this.  I recently had a Greatest Hits  involving the SAT!  It is REALLY silly, but it does relieve stress when someone is making a complete fool of themselves on your behalf.  Shannon, that may be way too silly for ANYONE to know!!” –
Tammy, you are not alone.  I sing about diapers, going to the grocery store, taking a bath, and a few other things I won’t mention.

BIG THANKS to Tammy Wilson of Earth Lover!!! This shop is definitely one to watch!

XO!



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