Monday, November 26, 2018

What Inspires Color Combinations

You know I write about this often. I can't help it.  Each year I get so pumped up when I create seed bead color combinations for our fair trade jewelry collection.  I drool over the runway fashion shows and they always inspire me. This season was no different. Our Spring 2019 will be released soon. And here are some designer fashions that inspired me.

I'm a huge fan of jade and sea foam colors. I'm not alone. Typically paired with any shade of brown and I've got a score. M Missoni's recent runway show included such colors. And this was my inspiration for a new color combo. A little mint spices it up. Yes, coming soon!

Delpozo's Spring 2019 runway shows offered some fabulous styles mixing various shades of lavender with grey and white. Hey! Perfect for our beaded things. I came up with this? Not too pale. Not too bright. Very versatile.

Pink was all over the runway for Spring 2019.  And even though I'm always told Millennials adore pink, it's always been a tougher sell. Dunitz has offered shades of blush and pale pink many many times. This season, I decided to take the lead from designer, Barbara Tfank.  I chose an orchid pink which was inspired by her recent show. Hope it sells. I love that it's a bolder pink than I've ever offered in the past.

And finally, inspiration from Emilio Pucci. Vibrant Orange and Coral have always been a bit of a challenge. There are customers that love love love deep shades of citrus.  But, honestly, more don't. That left me challenged for the upcoming season. Designer clothing will be abundant in orange for Spring 2019.  I desperately wanted to offer something different that would be right on target. The Emilio Pucci collection this season was so much fun. Will you all go in for this new color combination?

As I type this, I know more of you are thinking about Christmas.  I'm obsessing about winter trade shows and my new Spring 2019 fair trade jewelry collections.  When pulling it together, I vowed I would NOT use "black" this season. Yes, there was a lot of black strutting down the Spring runways.  This year, I wanted to be...just a bit more colorful.  Are you with me? -ND

Monday, November 5, 2018

Fair Trade for Chanukah

I noticed a small uptick in our fair trade kippot sales recently. I'm sad that this may partially be motivated by the unthinkable massacre at Tree of  Life synagogue.  Those of us left behind to mourn and then worry about increasing antisemitism often choose to to wear our religion more proudly. One college student from Pittsburgh even wrote me and asked if I could offer a discount on one of our designs so she could (better afford to) stand in solidarity. (I did.) I've noticed several friends on social media proudly posting that they are once again wearing their childhood Star of David necklaces.

Heinous acts apparently motivate pride. And kindness. In the spirit of both, I thought I'd encourage everyone to support fair trade for Judaica purchases. Chanukah is coming up quickly this year, December 2-10. Why not make more of a difference?  Here are my 7 suggestions for fair trade Judaica gifts for you or your loved ones. Some are specific to Chanukah. Some not.

1. CROCHET & BEADED KIPPOT - You know I had to mention Dunitz & Company and our fair trade kippot.  Most of our yarmulkes were designed with women in mind.  Yes, we have pieces perfect for men too. I suggest you browse the Dunitz site to find the perfect style and color for you. Our designs are crochet by hand, embroidered and then adorned with Czech glass beads. We've been working with artisans in Guatemala since 1989 and Dunitz & Company is a fair trade verified member of Fair Trade Federation.

2. CHOCOLATE CHANUKAH GELT  -  Last year I had the joy of discovering Divine Chocolate's fair trade certified Chanukah gelt coins. Growing up, chocolate coins were a tradition in my home. Divine Chocolate has partnered with T'ruah, the rabbinic call for human rights to promote kosher fair trade gelt. Now you can share and eat these guilt free! (Yes, they still have plenty of calories.) You also can feel good knowing cacao farmers were paid fairly and children were not enslaved to help with the harvest.

3. STAR OF DAVID PENDANT - Seeing friends of mine post recently about their childhood Star of David necklaces definitely had me searching for a fair trade option.  Partners for Just Trade offers this simple design that will undoubtedly make a perfect Chanukah gift for someone you know.  This pendant is made in Peru of sterling silver. And since Partners for Just trade are Fair Trade Federation members, that means this pendant is fair trade verified.

4. ORGANIC OLIVE OIL - Looking for the perfect hostess gift or something special for the cook in your family? For me, Chanukah always conjures up thoughts of latkes and  fresh couscous. And for this, you need some premium olive oil. Serrv International (another Fair Trade Federation member) partners with Sindyanna of Galilee, a female-run organization that markets fair trade olive oil channeling all profits back to educating Arab women. Not only will you benefit from it's affordability, you're purchase makes a difference. Your purchase offers Arab farmers in Israel a fair price for their crops, Palestinian and Israeli women greater economic opportunity, and a rare model of Jewish-Arab coexistence. Learn more on their site.

5. HANDWOVEN CHALLAH COVER - I remember fondly making "French Toast" with my big sister during our childhood winter holidays. And in our house, it was always made with fresh challah bread. Yes.Yes. I know a challah cover is typically used on the shabbat table. But when I think of challah, I always think of Chanukah time too.  So for this reason, I'm suggesting this beautiful handwoven blue challah cover with white stars from Mayan Hands as a lovely gift. I've been acquainted with the women behind Mayan Hands for many years, and I can personally attest to the great work they're doing and the difference they make in several Guatemalan communities. Mayan Hands is a member of Fair Trade Federation.

6. CHANUKAH PAPEL PICADO BANNER - Will you be hosting a holiday party this year? Why not consider decorating with a traditional Mexican paper cut banner? Or take one to the party you'll be attending! Casa Bonampak, has been working with artisans in Chiapas, Mexico for nearly 25 years. (Now that's what I call "sustainability".) These fun adornments are composed of ten silver and blue metallic sheetsNot enough to stretch the length of your living room? Purchase 2.  You'll be glad to know Casa Bonampak is another fair trade verified member of Fair Trade Federation.

 7. FAIR TRADE COFFEE - & Finally, never ever forget the coffee. And always make your coffee fair trade. Twin Engine Coffee not only serves up some awesome beans from Nicaragua they wrap it up in some swell looking packaging. That makes for perfect gift giving. Support them this season, and take advantage of their free shipping offer for purchases over $25.  You know you and many of your loved ones will be drinking coffee. Fill your heart and mugs full, by supporting those that live by Fair Trade Federation's nine principles.

Dunitz & Company has been offering our fair trade kippot for several years. When I didn't think there was a market for fair trade yarmulkes, I was always encouraged by Ilana Schatz, who until recently served as the Executive Director of Fair Trade Judaica. Her tireless energy promoting fair trade to Jewish scholars and educators has helped build a demand for many items, including some mentioned in my list above. We all love beautiful things. Our world is a much better place when all of those beautiful things we choose to own are made by individuals who are paid fairly, treated with respect and work in safe environments.

My wish for all of you this holiday season is for peace, love and fair trade. -ND