Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Instagram Accounts You'll Want to Follow | 2020

Shop Dunitz Instagram Profile

I've been at it a long time. And I've been working the Dunitz& Company social media for a long time too. Sometimes I refer to it as a giant time suck.  I'm not sure all my efforts pay off. Being the rather stubborn person I am, I keep at it. And I dream that my endless energy promoting our ethically made and fair trade jewelry is making a difference. Are you on Instagram? The Dunitz Instagram account definitely steals plenty of my waking hours [Follow us. Hint. Hint.]. Creatively featuring our designs and mission, so as not to be too pushy and in your face is an ongoing challenge.  


What I've learned most, is in order to succeed with Instagram, you must be willing to watch, learn and engage with other brands and people. Yes, I watch my Fair Trade Federation colleagues, and I do have my favs.  And, I watch Fair Trade Federation too. Some of the most fun is when  I put on my detective hat and discover people and brands that except for this random connection on Instagram, I wouldn't have known. With this blog post, I wanted to share, in no particular order, some of my new favorite Instagram accounts I enjoy following. You might enjoy engaging with them too.

Tatty_moo - From across the pond, this account seems to inspire me with each of her posts.  The woman behind this account is innovative and environmentally conscious. She tears apart old clothing and pieces scraps from various items together to make new wholes. She designs wood-cut stud earrings that are super cute too.  And you know it takes a lot for me to say that. If this account doesn't inspire you, I don't know what account could. 


fredrika_and_the_apricots - Don't ask me how I stumbled upon Sarah the illustrator. What I do know is I have fallen in love with her aesthetic.  Her drawings are beautiful. Her presentation on her Instagram posts is perfection.This woman is so talented. 

bonniestauch - Bonnie is an amazing costume designer who has been responsible for the look of many a famous actor and actress in many films you might have seen.  She also has a wonderful IG feed you can absolutely get lost in. I haven't a clue where she discovers so many wonderful images. You'll love the fashion shots and artful photographic compositions she posts.

rosiemae27 - Rosie Mae, apparently from Brooklyn, or living in Brooklyn has swagger.  I'm partial to wall and graffiti art and she posts a lot of it. She's ethically minded and describes herself as a slow fashionista. What's not to like? And I'm certain she is drinking fair trade coffee.

sustainable.kay - I've been watching Kayla for a bit, and I'm often impressed with her suggestions for low waste living. OMG she is studying sustainability. Of course, she gives us tips on composting  and how to use less plastic around your home.  Please check her out. I know you'll get some good info that may change your life. And help our planet.

tussenkunstenquarantaine  - This account certainly doesn't need my help in obtaining followers! Clearly there is a reason this feed is so popular. You know those images you've seen from time to time with people imitating fine art? Well this feed is just that on steroids. It is so fun to watch this feed. And the reenactments come from people all over the world. Case in point, the image to the right I've featured hails from Iran.

coacoa13 - Don't even ask how I stumbled upon Colette Tucker's account. But I did. And every day this veterinary tech posts photos of cats and dogs from behind the scenes at the clinic where she works. They keep me smiling. Yes. Yes. I'm a dog person. Have you seen mine? If animals live in my house, they go by Dunitz mascot

mabeldorr - This resale shop located in Binghamton, NY actually is a client of Dunitz & Company's. They sell our fair trade jewelry there. I adore watching their IG feed because the owner, Heidi has a keen eye for fashion. Her selections and posts of luscious vintage clothing has resulted in my drooling. If you love fashion and you love vintage fashion, you must must must follow this account. I've warned you. You'll definitely find some pieces you'll want to have in your closet.

jillian.isabel - Yup, she's very far from me. Jillian is Down Under as we say. She reports from Australia. She has such a great eye with her camera shots.  I love that she posts oodles and oodles of street art photos. She doesn't know it. But I know if we were actually acquainted in person, and could walk around town together, we'd be attracted to much of the same.  I too love snapping pics of outdoor murals. If I find painted utility boxes, even better. Wait wait. That reminds me. I saw one on the way into work today. (Yes, I'm working on Saturday.) I must go back and take the shot.


racheladelicia - And finally, I had to make another shot-out to Rachel Adelicia. My pointing out her IG account is not new. I've actually interviewed her before.  I still love following her feed as much as I did when I first started. She's sassy and she has great style. She knows designers and she is crazy for thrifting. I'm sure I would have a pile of fun if I could actually ruffle through her closet and dresser drawers. This is a great account if you are into vintage fashion.

Dunitz and Company Instagram Feed
So there you have it. My current recommendations for Instagram accounts I think you'll enjoy following. While you're clicking away, don't forget to follow the Dunitz & Company Instagram account.  I promise, I don't just post pics of our fair trade jewelry. I also include travel pics from Guatemala, model shots, artisans at work and inspiration quotes.  If it wasn't our account, I'd still suggest you follow it! Thanks for reading. And if you have some suggestions for me, please let me know. - ND

Perfect Pin

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Eco Friendly. Sustainable. Green. What is the Difference?

Just recently, Dunitz & Company agreed to be part of NY NOW's upcoming Wholesale Digital Market. Participating in a virtual trade show is a completely new concept for us. (OK, it's probably new for most of you reading this too.) The on-boarding for this show has been a huge task.  It also brought up questions about words I've used so often interchangeably. But when this digital show delineated between "Eco Friendly" and "Sustainable", it made me realize there were subtleties I obviously didn't understand. Are you in the same boat? After scouring the internet, I came up with these definitions and explanations for their difference. And while I was at it, I decided to throw in the word "Green" too.

First off, so many people use the word "Green" these days.  No, not the color, green. The dictionary describes green when used in the context of this conversation as "to make less harmful or more sensitive to the environment." People tend to use this word as a catch all to describe anything that is benefiting our planet. Guilty.

Now let's talk Eco Friendly. The use of these words together isn't quite as broad as 'green.'  It means that something doesn't harm our planet.  Webster's dictionary simply says "not environmentally harmful." When it comes to fabrics, using dead-stock (not producing more) might be seen as eco friendly. Recycling or upcycling textiles and other stuff (yup, broad term, "stuff") would be the same.  We've come to realize that many people also freely use the words "eco friendly." Stop and ask them what they mean. On products, for such terms to be actually listed on their packaging, the FTC requires explanations of the whys and hows something won't harm the planet.

Environmentally Friendly Jewelry
Dunitz Eco Friendly Designs

Great. After that, I knew th
at several designs in the Dunitz & Company collection would be classified as Eco Friendly. We incorporate recycled denim we buy at the flea markets in several of our jewelry designs. (I promise we wash everything before we use it.) We use vintage Czech glass buttons which hale from dead stock. (They're super cool and really beautiful.) Retired coins. Old watch parts. These too make for great looking jewelry. Our laser cut earrings are made with particle board created from recycled eucalyptus wood.


So what is Sustainable then? Sustainability is much more precise and is measured by so many more variables. Sustainability looks to our future. It means the item or action is generating environmental, social and economic benefits, while not using up too many resources or causing pollution. According to ecocult.com, "sustainability includes eco friendly activities and green products, but green doesn’t necessarily mean sustainable. For instance, a product made from renewable resources is considered green, yet if a life-cycle analysis shows that it required a lot of energy to manufacture and ship to you, and if there isn’t a proper way to dispose of the product, then it’s not considered sustainable."  With this definition, we know that there are very few consumer products that would be considered sustainable. And for this reason, we decided that Dunitz & Company jewelry would not be classified as sustainable. (We sure are curious to see which of our NY NOW exhibitor wholesaler colleagues will classify their items as sustainable, and what those items are.)


Eco Friendly Explained
Perfect Pin
Our eyes have been opened a bit more. After exploring more accurate definitions of Green, Eco Friendly and Sustainable, it's clear we'll be using these words differently going forward. Our Pinterest boards have been corrected. Dunitz & Company is a verified Fair Trade Federation member and a gold certified Green America business.  You can always feel good wearing and selling our designs. And now you know that many of our designs can accurately be described as Eco Friendly. -ND

Monday, August 17, 2020

We Know You Love Blue - Why Not Own Fair Trade Blue?

If you've read some of my blog posts before, you will hear me spout time and time again that blue is the best selling color for Dunitz & Company.  We love blue. And we know most of you do too. It doesn't matter what shade of blue. Just visit your local paint store and check out all of the chips. Any shade or tint will do. And I know if I use these colors in my jewelry designs, many customers will be blissfully happy.  Recently I've posted a couple of Instagram stories asking folks if "blue was their favorite color." And consistently 50% answered YES. That's a convincing stat.

It only made sense when a few of my Fair Trade Federation colleagues and I decided to collaborate and preach colors, I should select blue.  So my question to you is - "Why not fair trade blue?"  Check out this little gift guide below showing off beautiful blue items from around our globe. See something you love? Snag it and support fair trade. Every purchase makes a difference in the lives of artisans struggling to make it. And heck, sometimes I think I'm struggling to make it too. Fair Trade is not charity. In order to work, everyone from top to bottom, from producing to selling needs to earn living wages.

So here I go. Check out these fabulous ethically made blue items.

Dunitz blue beaded dropsBead Teardrop Earrings $20 - These are from Dunitz & Company and handcrafted in Guatemala.  I had to put one of my designs first, didn't I? And one of the reasons I started with these, is I know just how loved this style is. It's evergreen - or in this case everblue!  I designed it many years ago, and every season create new color combinations. And in blue, yes yes yes!

Zulu Basket Desk Set $119 - Four beautifully created and predominantly blue wire baskets could look swell on your desk. The Zulu are the largest ethnic group in South Africa and are known for their skill and artistry in fashioning baskets. Baskets of Africa collaborates with these artisans to bring you these fabulous pieces.

Handwoven Silk & Ikat Scarf $45 - I can vouch for the beauty of these scarves brought to market by Hoon Arts from Uzbekistan. I've personally spent a lot of time touching these pretties, and they are niiiiiiice. (Yes, I meant for all of those iiiiiiii's.) If you're a textile person, you'll totally dig the beautiful ikat work. And if you love blue, this piece should be in your lane.

Ashani Hand Woven Poncho Was $69, snag it now for $49 - Now this is my sort of blue. And these ponchos from Sevya are made by master weavers in India with a special jacquard weave and handmade tassels.  These pieces are even hand-stitched at the side. You'll feel so special when you wear yours.

Like the look, but prefer scarves?

Sarvani Scarf  Was $55, now $39 - You can purchase these beauties that are created with the very same woven fabric as the poncho I featured above. A number of highly skilled artisans are involved in the making of each scarf; from spinning the yarn to setting the loom barrels, weaving, and making the tassels. And another fun fact, no electricity is used at any stage of production. Do you need to know more? Click to the Sevya website.

blue necklace from Dunitz & Company
Glass Bib Necklace & Teardrop Earrings $48 and $20 - Cobalt blue with aqua. Can you think of a better water color combo?  This fused glass comes from Guatemala and is crafted by artisans outside of Guatemala City.  These come from Dunitz & Company (that's me) and come from a collection I began designing with artisans in 2011. Because it is so different from our beadwork, I named this collection Joanie M to honor my mother. Want the cuff featured on the model. Only $28. Click this link for the bracelet.

Sterling Silver & Turquoise Earrings $90 - Rikki from HoonArts is one of the only fair traders collaborating and working with artisans in Central Asia. It's just not easy to get there! She is proud to bring you the work of Zhanyl Sharshembieva, a master silversmith from Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. And what could be more perfect that silver and turquoise blue?

Shallow Bowl $45 - It's tough to tell from this photo, but this piece has a diameter of 8.25" and a height of 1.5". That's a lot of weaving skill for a very reasonable fare.  Did I mention before that these baskets are crafted with telephone wire originally found in South African scrap yards. Each is one-of-a-kind. The inventory on Basket of Africa's site is constantly changing. If you see something you love, go for it. It might not be there tomorrow.

Devaki Tunic $69 - You'll be styling in this blue tunic. Many hands touch each piece from start to finish. Fabric is first made using an ancient block printing technique. And then these tops are beautifully embroidered by skilled women. (Look at the pic to the right.) Sevya has been orchestrating amazing works in India, for you to enjoy here.

Van Gogh Starry Night
Starry Night Earrings $15 - I am convinced that Starry Night is the most loved painting in the whole wide world. And perhaps that's because it's predominantly blue. Or maybe it's just that Van Gogh was an amazing painter. Just the same, these earrings from Dunitz & Company make an incredible and affordable gift. As with all of Dunitz designs, these are made in Guatemala.

Fair Trade Designs in Blue
Styling In Blue Pin
So there you have it my 'crazy for blue' friends. Lots of choices in blue. in many different price points, from many places around our globe and all fair trade verified. Sounds like a win-win. If Dunitz & Company's experiences with color are any indication, you and your loved ones will totally dig any of these blue selections. -ND

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Covid Fashion - Wearing Fair Trade Jewelry with Masks

I thought it would be fun to recruit Dunitz & Company friends, fans and customers for a Covid Fashion show on our Instagram account.  (Yes, we also shared these pics on our Facebook page.) My goal was to have some great images with which I could engage followers. I also knew tagging and linking customers, their stores and in some cases mask producers would be good for all. This also allowed me to plug some of my Fair Trade Federation colleagues. As my friend Rikki from HoonArts always says "collaboration over competition" is the way to go. I'm with her!

Dunitz Glass Necklace
Nina from Seeds To Sew won the engagement prize.  More people liked her photo sporting a Seeds To Sew Kitenge mask from Kenya than any other post of ours in recent times. Maybe it's because their masks are great and she was also wearing Dunitz & Company jewelry. I think it's because she's so adorable. Seeds To Sew wholesales and they also have a retail store in Hopewell, NJ. Did I say they sell Dunitz jewelry?

Fused Glass Earrings and Necklace
Eeva is so much fun. And she is a master make-up artist too. Perhaps you've met her at our NY NOW booth? She's helped us out recently and she's been a perfect assistant in the booth. Recently she snapped pics wearing masks she's sewn herself ---wearing Dunitz jewelry. We like that!

Fair Trade Jewelry
Cha'Noah is the Community Engagement Intern at Global Gifts in Columbus, Ohio. Isn’t she the bomb? She's modeling Dunitz & Company embroidered denim rings along with a Frida Mask.  You can find these goodies at their store or on their website linked above.

North Fork Craft Gallery
Lyn from North Fork Craft Gallery, has a wonderful store located in Wading River, NY. Check it out for Dunitz fused glass earrings. She always has a great assortment available. And while you're there she also sells these fair trade masks that come from Minga Fair Trade Imports. 

HoonArts fair trade
Rikki from HoonArts went all out and sent in two photos wearing two different Dunitz & Company ensembles. After all, you must have jewelry to match a basic black mask...and a basic blue mask. Rikki actually sells fair trade jewelry from Central Asia. That means I'm very flattered that she actually and often chooses to wear my designs.

Sevya fair trade masks
Yes. Yes. I also had to get in the act! I took a couple of selfies wearing Sevya fair trade masks. And I can tell you they're super comfie. This style I'm wearing is perfect for men too. Hint Hint. I snapped these in my office which gave me the opportunity to select both Dunitz & Company glass and beaded designs for my get-ups.

fair trade jewelry with mask
Alyssa loves wearing Dunitz & Company jewelry and she's super engaged with our Instagram.  She's always posting colorful stories that include her purchases from us.  Here she wears a Dunitz glass necklace along with a mask her mom made.  She told me her mom is a terrific seamstress and has made all the masks she wears. (Another fun fact. Alyssa saw the necklace Nina was wearing in the first photo shown above. We directed her to Seeds to Sew, and...now you see Alyssa wearing that very same necklace.)

Hourglass Gift Gallery Melrose MA

Is Lorrie from Hourglass Gift Gallery stunning, or what? We love that she is wearing earrings from our new Contemporary Colors Collection. We've noticed a lot of museum gift shops have decided to offer these earrings. I'm thinking it's because they’re rather classy looking.  Lorrie sure proves that point.  If you are near Melrose, MA, definitely check out her store and the Dunitz jewelry she is offering.

Worlds Window Kansas City
Jan and Nina are part of the World's Window family, located in Kansas City. They've been selling Dunitz & Company jewelry in their store for a really long time - beads, glass and our laser cut designs. They told me the masks they are wearing with Dunitz jewelry also sell in their store and come from Lucia's Imports.

Yes, you can find our jewelry Down Under. How cool is this? Asha from Apsara Ethical Gifts sent us these pics from Australia where she retails our jewelry. They're all wearing masks there too. And you can tell from her eyes, she has a grin behind the mask.
Tami is the Volunteer Coordinator at Global Village Crafts in Logan, UT and we think she sports a mask with Dunitz famous art studs wtih so much class. Seriously - so well coordinated.  And we love that her choice is a pair of our Mondrian studs. Perfect for art lovers or computer nerds. If you're near Logan, UT, you must check out their shop. They're now open and they always have a nice selection of our jewelry to choose from.

Kathleen is a sometimes helper at HoonArts, one of our TFair Trade Federation colleagues. I appreciate how she looks a bit like a tough girl in her Dunitz necklace and a blue mask. That's the point. Wear a mask!

Cat mascot wears mask
Not everyone wears a fair trade mask or Dunitz & Company jewelry. But, this was just too cute not to share. This kitty is the mascot and a permanent resident at the Heritage Square Museum in Los Angeles.  And Heritage Square is our customer... and it's a wonderful museum well worth visiting. Can't get there, even when we're not limited by Covid? You can watch their Instagram feed and see lots of pics of this golden cat.

woven and embroidered masks
A mannequin is almost as good as a live model. These are the new masks Dunitz & Company is retailing. They're exquisite. (I'm not just saying it.) I had set out to design the prettiest masks on the market not too long ago. Unfortunately my costs are way too high to wholesale these effectively. Punchline: These fair trade beauties are available on our retail site.

I certainly hope you've been wearing a mask during these crazy times. Our wish is that everyone should stay safe and healthy. To that end, I was amused when I found these instructions for mask care. What do you think?

Dunitz fair trade jewelry
Collecting and sharing all these pics of mask wearing beauties has been lots of fun. Most important, I want to encourage everyone to continue wearing a mask. It's so important. And this little thing we can all do will save lives.  Need more masks? (You can never have enough of them these days.) Consider supporting fair trade verified companies.  Fair Trade Federation recently shared this blog post listing members that wholesale and retail masks. And yes, Dunitz & Company is now on that list. -ND

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Fair Trade Federation Bloggers

It definitely is a challenge to keep a blog current. And I do my best to keep the Dunitz & Company blog rolling. Perhaps you've read some of my entries? Sometimes I write about color  and fashion trends that influence our fair trade jewelry designs. Sometimes I create gift guides that include products from my Fair Trade Federation colleagues. I also enjoy interviewing colleagues.  Finding new topics that might engage people is an ongoing challenge.

As I pondered what to write about next, I thought I'd checkout other Fair Trade Federation member blogs. Thing is, I couldn't find a list of FTF member blogs anywhere. After scouring member websites, I decided to create a list....including mine/Dunitz & Company's of course! My requirements were that blogs had to be current with consistency of posting. And there had to be a range of topics people might find interesting to read. In no particular order, here are the blogs that met my criteria. (If I didn't include your company, and you think your blog should be added, please email me.)

EQUAL EXCHANGE - This might be one of the best blogs I've seen from our membership. It's thorough covering so many topics. (Yes! Recipes!) It's super easy to navigate. Seriously, I can't pin-point one entry worth missing. Definitely check it out.

FAIR TRADE WINDS -  I love that Fair Trade Winds often writes about the lines they sell in their stores. They're so supportive and informative.  They also post some fabulous fair trade recipes that will make you drool. (I always pin them to our Fair Trade Recipes board on Pinterest.)

DR. BRONNER - You'll need an afternoon to read through all of Dr. Bronner's entries. You'll find thoughtful articles addressing current events. And you'll find great tips for how to use their wonderful products. I vote for their Peppermint Pure-Castile Soap. Learn more on their blog.

SERRV - Read about eyeglass initiatives or snag a recipe or two. There are posts that will warm your heart. Yes, I posted from their blog to the Dunitz Pinterest recipe page, yet again!

FAIR ANITA - Another fantastic blog from a FTF member!  Fair Anita tackles many controversial topics that will make your brain really think. You must click through and read some of what they offer. I have a date planned with their blog for this weekend!

THE LITTLE MARKET -  You should check out this...if only for the beautiful photography. And these people know how to eat. You'll find great blog posts with lots of recipes! Learn to make raspberry mojitos, perhaps?

CAFE CAMPESINO - Lovely posts. Lovely photos. Posts that let you know how their farmer's are doing during Covid-19 times. I enjoyed reading their post on random acts of Kindness.

MOSAIC - (a blog from Ten Thousand Villages) - Now here is a site where you can read about every possible topic that interests you. Yoga. Fashion. Travel. Maker Stories. This site is actually quite overwhelming.

MAYAN HANDS - A few years back I became aware of Mayan Hands' blog when they wrote an article that touched me deeply. This particular entry delved into how many vendors in Guatemala call their designs recycled, when in reality, poor people desperate for money are selling them their family textile heirlooms. These in turn are sewn into bags, hats and coin purses. Ever since reading that post, I know Mayan Hands always has something important to say.

RefuSHE - RefuSHE writes about issues specific to their business and issues beyond.  When you click on each blog entry, you'll find they also share some amazing photographs. I just read their post "What Does Home Mean to You?" which may raise a lot of questions for you.

SWAHILI AFRICAN MODERN - I encourage Swahili African Modern to post more often. Why? Their posts are few. But the ones they've made are truly wonderful.  I'm personally nuts about puppets and some dolls. Reading about Crispen, an artisan creating traditional papier mache in Zambia warmed my heart.

BUNYAAD - Here's a blog you can relate to. Reading lists. Recipes. How to clean wine from a rug. Even tips for choosing the right rug. (and they should know!) This is all info that just about anyone can enjoy.  And I'm drooling over the Pakistani rice pudding recipe they've written about.

BASKETS & BEADS KENYA - So worth checking out. Baskets & Beads just posted a 2 part series on empowerment and how for many poverty is big business. Take the time to read this entry and others on this site. This definitely is not a fluffy blog.

HOONARTS - HoonArts blog addresses topics that specifically relate to Central Asia. And this is a good thing because I think most of us know very little about this part of the world. After checking out HoonArts blog, you can read my post where I interviewed Rikki Quintana, the woman behind this company.

HUMANKIND SLO - Check out Humankind's blog. It's fun to read their stories about the lines they carry. They also write about topics that are specific to their community. Maybe one day soon, they'll interview me.  In the meantime, I actually wrote a post on this blog where you can learn a bit more about LynAnne Wiest, their store manager.

SSEKO DESIGNS - SSeko's blog seems to focus on issues and stories about their brand and products.  It's easy on the eyes with pretty photos.  I'm guessing their blog is perfect reading for their customers. If you wear Sseko sandals, check out their blog and learn a bit more.

RAVEN & LILY - It looks like Raven & Lily's blog, noted as "the Journal" was started earlier this year. You'll find interviews with makers, reading recommendations and a bit about their home base of Austin, TX.  I'm going to keep my eye on this journal, for sure.

MAYAMAM WEAVERS - I am always drooling over the photos Mayamam Weavers posts on Instagram. Now I can drool more when checking out their blog.  And since they work in Guatemala (where I've been working for almost forever,) I really adore seeing their images. I see faces and designs that have become part of me. (Figuratively. Not literally.)  I really enjoyed reading their latest post about the the story behind the ceramics of San Antonio Palopo. I remember in the 90's I hiked to this community with my niece, who joined me on one of my working trips. We took some time off to hunt for these ceramics, which at that point in time, were not yet widely available. Thank you Mayamam for reminding me of this wonderful day spent with my niece many moons ago.

BLOSSOM INSPIRATIONS - Definitely check out Blossom Inspirations. It seems they only started their blog this year. However, in a short time they've dealt with issues of quarantine, Black Lives Matter and immigration. Substantive topics, for sure.

FAIR TRADE DECOR - Fair Trade Decor, a retailer in Coronado, CA has a blog perfect for their customers. They share stories of their products and producers. They write about how they are dealing with Covid-19. (We all can relate!) They write about their special events which often include concerts in-store. I'm sure once we all can move around more easily, they'll be hosting more. 

QUILLING CARD - Are you a fan of Quilling Card? Check out their blog to learn more about their beautiful cards.

GANESH HIMAL TRADING -  Learn a bit more about Ganesh Himal and their activities domestically and in Nepal when you check out their blog. You can even find an interview with Chris Solt, the Executive Director of Fair Trade Federation.

MZ - Perusing MZ's blog was fun. They share some great photos. Learn which of their handbags are their artisan's favorites.  Or find out what MZ staff is doing during quarantine times. (Some of them are baking!) Their most recent posts makes suggestions for things you can do to support the Fashion Revolution during these turbulent times.

ZAMBEEZI - Have you tried Zambeezi's lip balm? It's fabulous. I recently discovered Zambeezi had a blog when they posted an interview with LeeAnne McCoy from the fab website Change The World By How You Shop.  You can read our interview with LeeAnne on our blog, posted in February 2019.

GOEX - GOEX blog often goes within sharing information about their business.  We call that transparency. They also write about issues affecting all business, and topics that are educational. Earlier this year, they wrote about World Fair Trade Day.

LUCUMA - The Lucuma blog is really fun and collaborative. Recently they created some great photos that feature products from many FTF members. I love that! Just because. Have kids? I discovered a paper pattern you can download to make puppets.

GLOBAL GIFTS - Here you'll find some informative posts that explain a bit about the products they sell. They've also created their own gift guides that feature goodies from the fair trade companies they support. Gotta love it! Last year, I actually wrote a blog post, an interview with Alissa Head, the Executive Director of Global Gifts.

PASSION LILY - This company refers to their blog as a 'Designer's Journal.' Learn how to style a wrap dress and sew your own masks for coronavirus production. (I think I'll buy one, thank you!)

GALLANT INTERNATIONAL - Gallant offers up some great posts that share all kinds of info on fair trade and sustainability. Who knew I'd find tips for home composting on a FTF member blog?

LEVEL GROUND TRADING - Everything you want to know about coffee. And since I have a Fair Trade Food & Recipes board on Pinterest, I know where I'll be sharing many of there posts!

GLOBAL MAMAS -  Global Mamas has a robust blog and it is well worth visiting. Great photos.  And posts that share more about the Mamas and just about everything else from health, fashion to volunteering in Ghana. Warning, their site loads a bit slowly. It is well worth the wait.

SEVYA -  The women of Sevya are always so thoughtful. And their blog entries also prove this point. When I was younger, I spent some time in Indonesia learning about batik and batik making. Because of this, I found their article about Block Printing in India of particular interest.

DUNITZ & COMPANY - Yup! That's us. 'Nuff said. After all, this is our blog post you're reading.

It's absolutely amazing that before I took on this project, I had no idea that so many of my Fair Trade Federation colleagues had blogs. And after reading entries from many of them, I'm almost certain they're being under-read, under-shared and not acknowledged enough. I am so impressed with my fair trade colleagues. I know how much time and effort I spend writing posts for the Dunitz & Company blog. Now I'm certain, I need to spend just as much time reading entries from the blogs I have shared here. I'm also stoked that I now have new sources for sharing valuable tales of fair trade. Are you following Dunitz on twitter, Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram?  Please follow us (that's me), and I promise to follow back.

I hope you too, will get on board and read what Fair Trade Federation members have to say. The wisdom and information they share on their pages stretch so many boundaries. And while you're at it, if you read something you appreciate, share it, tweet it, post it. Let's all generously share each other's posts. Every share, tweet and post makes a difference. -ND

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Getting to Know Pachamama Market's Lindsay Woodruff

Lindsay & Nancy at FTF Austin
Dunitz & Company has been around for a long time now. And over the years, I've worked with loads of different store owners. Lindsay Woodruff, the owner and brains behind Pachamama Market is one of the most passionate fair traders I've encountered.  And if you follow the Pachamama Market Facebook page (recommended), you'll discover why I say this. But don't click that link just yet! Lindsay and I are both verified and proud members of Fair Trade Federation. I asked her if I could interview her, so all of us reading my blog could learn a bit more about what drives her. She graciously said yes. Read on.

NANCY: I've known about your fair trade store for quite some time, and we've been working together these last two years.  Can you tell me when you opened your store? Are you originally from Troy, OH? (where Lindsay's store is located)

LINDSAY: I opened my store in November 2015.  I'm originally from a smaller town just outside of Troy and had been working in Troy for about 5 years so I already knew and loved the community and knew it was where I wanted to open my brick and mortar.

NANCY:  Was there a pivotal life experience that encouraged you to work in 'fair trade'?

LINDSAY: I was raised in a very social conscious household. Other kids had a pool, we had a compost pile.  Other kids shopped at the mall, I got lectures from my mom on how the brand name stores were misogynistic in their advertising and didn't deserve our money. I shopped at thrift stores from that moment on. Other kids ate whatever their parents cooked. We boycotted rice to protest the way US subsidies were hurting small scale rice farmers in Haiti.

I didn't really have a name for my values until I was in college, where I worked for the school newspaper. I was attending my first editorial staff meeting and walked into the wrong room, where I stumbled into the Fair Trade Club meeting. I didn't really know what they were doing, but I saw a few friends and decided to stay. I was hooked from that point on.

I think I knew that I wanted to open a fair trade store someday after visiting Peru during grad school and spending a few weeks with the indigenous community in Pisac.  Seeing the way that colonialism still impacted the people there was eye-opening; I knew I needed to do something to help end the colonial economic systems that keep people in poverty.

NANCY: These are such unsettling times with the Covid-19 pandemic and Black Lives Matter protests. First, can you tell me how you've had to change to accommodate the heath risks associated with the coronavirus?  How have you and how are you adjusting?

Facebook Lives
LINDSAY: We decided to close our brick and mortar pretty early on in the pandemic, around the middle of March. I have always been a very tactile shopper and don't personally enjoy shopping online, so I always focused 95% of my time and energy on our brick and mortar and 5% on our online store.  Suddenly shifting my efforts to 100% online was a huge change for me personally in how I marketed my business and communicated with my customers.  But it paid off!  We were able to find and connect with several new customers, and I learned that chatting with my existing customers in a Facebook Live isn't quite as fun as chatting with them in person at the shop, but it is the next best thing.  We've slowly started to reopen in the past few weeks with limited hours and it definitely feels weird. We are requiring masks for staff and customers, and limiting our capacity to 4 shoppers at a time. It sounds strange but I miss smiling!  We are easing our way back towards operating at our regular hours and are happily bringing back our staff, but there are definitely still days where I don't change out of my sweatpants or leave the house.

NANCY: Creating justice throughout the world is one of our missions at Fair Trade Federation, an important organization to which we both belong.  Have you been encouraged to do anything differently in your store or online since the Black Lives Matters protests have populated all over our country?

LINDSAY: We personally don't do anything differently at Pachamama Market. We have always been very outspoken about justice issues including racial justice, economic justice, and environmental justice which are all incredibly interconnected and central to our mission as a fair trade store.  We did take a week off from creating any of our own content on social media and spent the week reposting and amplifying Black voices, which several people seemed to take note of.  We had a few cranky people throwing their coffee cups at our Black Lives Matter sidewalk sign at the store or trolling us on social media, but all I could think was, "You must be new around here, because we have always been and always will be this way."

NANCY: When not faced with specific current events, is there an activity you enjoy most about your business?

LINDSAY: Relationships are a key part of any fair trade business, and have always been my favorite part.  Meeting and talking with customers, chatting with my suppliers, and traveling to visit our artisan partners are what fill me with joy and purpose.  There has never been a single day since I opened the store where I woke up and thought, "I don't want to go to work today."

NANCY: When did Pachamama Market become part of Fair Trade Federation? Do you have any thoughts about your partnership with FTF?

LINDSAY: I attended my first FTF conference about 4 months after we opened, and applied for membership as soon as I was eligible at 6 months old. The FTF has been critical to my success as a business.  I would have closed my doors a long time ago without their workshops, mentorship, and other educational resources. But more importantly, they are my family. Knowing I have this huge network of people I can call or text any time and ask for help or just vent to a sympathetic ear has been a lifesaver for me.  I was just texting another FTF member at 10:30pm last night about my social media and we promised to be accountability partners in speaking out on racial justice. I don't know any other kind of business community where you find relationships like that.

NANCY: Can you share a story that makes you smile? A story where you and/or Pachamama Market were integral in making a positive change?

LINDSAY: Oooooh my. I had so many moments at the shop that have made me smile. Narrowing it down to just one is so hard.

I think probably one of my conversations that had the greatest impact on me was last year when I was getting ready to close up when a middle-aged gentleman walked in. I greeted him with a smile and he walked around for about 10 minutes, just silently taking everything in.  Finally he turned to me and said, "In 50 years, I never thought a place like this would be in Troy."  I thought, oh here we go again. Someone is mad about something.

But he went on to tell me about growing up in Troy as an indigenous, Latino mixed-race man.  About the racism and discrimination he faced. Then as an adult working in mental health, he tried to start a support group for LGBTQ+ teens in the area, which was quickly shot down by other members of the community.  For him, our presence in the community was a sign that progress was being made. Our little shop could be a safe space for youth like him who struggled to find acceptance growing up. He finally just smiled and said, "Thank you for being here."

There are times like last week when my Black Lives Matter sign couldn't make it an hour without being vandalized that I wonder what I'm doing here in such a small, white town. But I think back to that conversation and I know that we are here for a reason and will continue to be here and use our voice for change.

NANCY: I know when you're self-employed you tend to work a lot. At least I know I do. When you can steal some time for yourself, what do you do? Do you have any special hobbies?

LINDSAY: Yes, we work A LOT! Thankfully my family keeps me grounded and they aren't too polite to tell me it's time to close my laptop and walk away.

I still have little kids (11 and 9) and we love baking, hiking, and watching movies together. I think when your kids are that small it's a bit easier to balance work and play because they pretty much demand your attention.  They have been known to just stare at me over the computer screen like creepy owls until I take a hint and turn off the computer. My partner will either open a beer and slide it over to me or just grab my shoulder and say, "time to walk away" depending on how subtle he is feeling.

When I do have a minute to myself, I am a reader. I probably read 3 or 4 books a week because when I start one, I can't stop. It leads to a lot of sleepless nights but it is worth it.  I read everything, but mostly mysteries, romance, and sci-fi/fantasy. We actually started a book club this year at the store which has been on pause for a few months due to Covid-19 and I'm looking forward to reviving. (Can I be a remote member?)

NANCY: Of course, I'm thrilled that Pachamama Market is selling Dunitz & Company jewelry. You know I had to ask. Do you have a favorite design you like pointing out to customers? Or something you personally enjoy wearing?

Dunitz & Company Jewelry
LINDSAY: I really love the fused glass studs for days that I just want a small pop of color. I also love sharing the art images earrings and the vintage botanical print earrings because they are small and lightweight but so fun and visually interesting. Customers love to look through them and identify the artists or flowers.

NANCY: Is there anything else you'd like to share?

LINDSAY: Just that we love Dunitz & Company and we love Nancy! Thank you so much for all you do to support other fair trade businesses. (melts my heart.)   

 --end of interview--

Tell me. After reading Lindsay's responses, are you impressed with her or what? Now, I encourage you to check out and follow Pachamama's Facebook Page. Can you tell why I find Lindsay from Pachamama Market so inspiring? I'm thrilled she let us understand just a little bit more about what makes her tick.

Dunitz & Company has been selling fair trade jewelry for a long time. And we value our fair trade partners so so much. Without them we wouldn't be.  I am always honored to share a bit more about about the people who are so important to me and what I do. -ND