Today I want to tell you about something exciting I'm newly involved in, but first here's a little back story:
I am a serial bargain shopper. I go for what looks like my style (mostly black and grey) and is deeply discounted, or already dirt cheap. I'm a friend of fast fashion, although those who know me well know my idea of "fashion" is Chuck Taylor's and a hoodie. So that term is up for debate.
But recently I started thinking about my clothes and accessories. I started wondering, "If I can buy a new shirt for $3, what does that mean for the people who made it? If this necklace is $2, how is that possible?"
The truth is, people on the other side of the world are being mistreated so that I can (theoretically) stay up on the current styles. And the $3 shirt they made will find its way to the bottom of my closet in less than a year, creating a demand for more unethical fast fashion going forward.
Now, I realize some "fast fashion" companies are heading toward paying workers a living wage (the fair amount of money needed to "make a living" in a given country), but the question is more about the value I place on the work of other people's hands. The question is: Am I loving my neighbor through my purchases?
What if I bought less, but bought well?
What if I looked at my purchases as a way to build others up, and to vote for better treatment of my brothers and sisters around the world?
What if I took the time to seek out ethical alternatives in buying clothes and accessories?
These are some of the questions I've been asking myself recently, and as a result I started seeking out ethically-sourced gifts for friends and family for Christmas. In the process of this research, I started looking into Noonday Collection. What I found was fascinating, and I decided I had to be part of this company.
Noonday began a few years ago when founder Jessica Honegger held a trunk show in her home to sell handmade accessories made by Rwandan artisans in an effort to raise funds for her son's adoption. Joining with others, she started the company to sell handmade jewelry and accessories, creating a market for goods and jobs for women in the U.S.
Today, Noonday Collection works with 28 artisan groups, directly impacting 2000 artisans in 10 countries, reaching 8800 family members. Fair trade certified, Noonday ensures each artisan receives what he or she needs, providing dignified jobs at living wages, no-interest loans, scholarship programs, emergency assistance, and long-term trade.
So what do I do with Noonday? I get to share the stories of these artisans in the homes of women as they host trunk shows. Women invite friends for fashion, food, and story-telling, and my job is simply to show off the incredible work of these artisans and tell their stories. Then women try on jewelry, shop, place orders, and create demand for more incredible accessories from around the world.
And to add to all that, because of its beginning as an adoption fundraiser, Noonday still supports this cause through adoption trunk shows, where Noonday donates 10% of the proceeds of the show to the adoptive family. So if you have a friend adopting, you can host a show on her behalf!
If you're interested in learning more about Noonday Collection, check out some of the stories here. They are fascinating.
And if you would be interested in hosting a trunk show, please let me know! I would love to share the Noonday vision with your friends, and I promise it's a lot of fun. Plus, you get to earn free accessories, and trust me, they are incredible.
You can also purchase without going to a trunk show, although I definitely recommend the shows because seeing and feeling the accessories is part of the fun. If you want to look around the site, you can use this link: catherineparks.noondaycollection.com.
UPDATE: I forgot to mention this before. Erik and I have been praying for a while for a way to support his sister and her family as they move overseas full-time in January for a disciple-making missions opportunity, and we feel that Noonday is a great way to do this. So not only are your purchases benefiting the artisans who create these items, but I will be donating a portion of my commission to support the spread of the gospel to the ends of the earth. Thanks for partnering with me in this!
Any other companies you recommend for Christmas shopping? I'd love suggestions!