Monday, April 29, 2019

Fall 2019 Fashion - Purple Makes A Comeback

Fall 2019 - Purple Reigns
I'm thinking about Dunitz & Company's Fall 2019 fair trade jewelry collection. We're busy finalizing our newest designs and colors for our summer launch. Trust me, I can't reveal much now. But one thing I can tell you for sure is that "purple is making a comeback." It doesn't matter what season it is or what famous runway designers dictate as on-trend, for some women, purple always reigns. This season, everyone will be in the act. From the likes of Derek Lam, Sally Lapointe and Tom Ford, trust me many of you will be strutting your stuff next winter in shades of purple. I absolutely know it.

So girls, start scouring your closet for your purple sweaters and skirts from years past. And if you can't scavenge enough oldies and goodies to create a 'new again' purple look, check out your local thrift store. Sure, you can always buy something new from Jill Stuart or Kate Spade's collection. Dunitz & Company will be ready to adorn you with fair trade jewelry in shades of orchid and plum.


Dunitz Fair Trade Jewelry
Not yet. I won't share with you my new color combinations for Fall. I just want to tease you. In season's past, I typically have one shade that includes some hint of purple. Fall 2019 will anoint you with more of it. Sometime I re-launch best selling colors from the past. Most seasons I tweak combos of the past and offer new ones. Color variations of these earrings may be in our lineup.





Modeling Purple
So stay tuned. Time seems to pass so quickly. Summer will be here soon. And then, and only then we'll reveal our latest fair trade jewelry looks and colors. And you can be sure our models will be doing the same. -ND




Monday, April 22, 2019

Making Changes for A Better Planet

I'm always looking for better ways, simple ways to conserve, recycle or help our planet just a little bit here and there. Perhaps you are too. I've read and seen numerous blog posts about zero waste. They preach big changes. And if many of you are like me, making significant changes in the way we live every day, can be tough. My thought is if everyone makes small changes collectively, these changes can amount to big differences for our planet. I'd love to hear your ideas. In the meantime, here are a few things I've learned from reading, tweeting and chatting with others. They're listed in no particular order.

 
1.  From time to time I reach out to Green America and LA Sanitation on twitter or facebook. I read their posts, and some of them inspire questions. I was wondering if all glass is recyclable. And I was wondering about all that oil packed food we purchase and how to best dispose of the oil. What I learned: Yes. Just about all glass can be dumped in the blue recycle bins. (Clean it first. More on that in #2.) Old light bulbs or broken drinking vessels are a few of the items you shouldn't toss in the blue bins. It was suggested that I keep a large glass container (mine often come from sun dried tomatoes I purchase) under my sink. Each time I have a recyclable container with oil, I add the oil to the container under the sink.  (You definitely do not want to toss oil down your drains.) When the container under my sink is full of oil, I was told to discard it in the trash, the black bin. Doing this allows me to dispose of many more glass jars into the blue bins.

 

2. Yes. Wash out all of those plastic and glass containers before dumping them into the blue bin. It was explained to me (by Green America reps) that they don't need to be sparkling clean or put through the dishwasher before disposing. But, most of the gunky stuff must be gone. Otherwise, these containers will contaminate everything in the bin and none of it will be recyclable. I was told that cost (financially and for conservation purposes) of using water to clean containers before tossing made complete sense. My trick for saving water is to fill containers partially full, close and shake. Shake a lot. No need to run the water 24/7 while washing this or that. I seem to wash and toss a lot of yogurt containers. One day, I'll learn to make my own yogurt. For the present time, I make sure that most of the plastic containers I receive can be recycled.


3. This is a great tip and certainly one I never thought of. A friend of mine, a optometrist told me that most people do not realize the containers their contacts come in are recyclable. Stop throwing them in the trash. Those plastic containers should absolutely go in the blue bin. (Yes, toss the foil top.)








4. Did you know that thermal paper receipts are made and printed with chemicals that are not recyclable. Those are the flimsy receipts from the grocery store, gas station and post office. One way we can help our environment is by accepting less receipts when given a choice. If you don't need a record of your spending, why take this nasty paper. Have you noticed the ink on this type of paper fades too? Not great for accounting purposes. And, when you are given them, don't throw them in blue bin. They are black bin - land fill trash.



5. Here's a two part-er. Why not consider using metal coffee filters versus paper ones that go into our trash bins?  Some experts say the gold-tone filters can last up to seven years. The choice is not only environmentally sound. It saves money. Part #2.  If you have a garden, use the grounds for plants. Some gardeners suggest coffee grounds are best for plants that love acidity, such as azaleas. Others say no matter the plant, coffee grounds make terrific mulch. Curious? There are lots of articles out there on the topic.






6. More gardening tips. I don't cook very much these days. But I do steam vegetables and boil pasta. When I'm finished, my pots are full of water. What do I do?  I let the water cool and then I dump it in the yard and water my plants. Why put it down the drain? 





7. Don't buy the bag. If you're like me, you receive some sort of goody bag at every conference, gift show or meeting you attend. I even have a few from the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power from when they were dropping off efficient light bulbs at every residential door last year. I keep a bunch of bags in my car so I can easily take them into grocery stores, hardware stores and just about any other store where I'll need some. Why would you do otherwise?







8. I don't use liquid soap. I also know that a lot of people do. When I visit friend's homes, I always see liquid soap by every sink. When did liquid soap become so popular?  I say go back to using bar soap.Why do we need to purchase one more thing that comes in plastic containers? I love purchasing handmade soap from small artisanal vendors. Give it a try. You'll be hooked.





9. I operate a small fair trade business and ship a lot of boxes full of fair trade jewelry. Reusing packing material is not only good for the environment, it make economic sense.  We receive parcels filled with Styrofoam, bubble pack and biodegradable peanuts.  Many boxes are stuffed with tissue and brown craft paper. And many boxes we receive are in good shape. Heck, sometimes when I have a busy season, I look for people giving the stuff away on Craigslist. Why not use it all again and again? Dunitz & Company notes on our website that we recycle much of the packing materials we receive.  I had one customer ball me out recently for using Styrofoam peanuts in a box I sent her. I explained to her that we don't purchase these materials. Her belief was that we should never use these materials no matter the source. What are your thoughts?


10. I know some of my tips seem obvious. They are obvious. Just the same, I'm certain a lot of us forget the obvious. So, here is a reminder. Turn off the lights. If you're not hanging out in a room, turn the darn things off.  I think we all could be a bit more conscientious of this one! (I know this photo shows an old fashioned light bulb. It's a cool photo. And if you still have these type of bulbs in your home, change 'em out for the ones that are much more energy effecient.)

12. This one is on my to-do list.  If you're anything like me, you've got some old computers and non-functioning electrical gadgets or stereo equipment taking up space in your home (or office).  Finding the best way to get rid of this stuff may take a little online research. One friend of mine in Albuquerque told me there's a small local computer store that responsibly recycles these things.  In Los Angeles, we have Home Boy Industries. They're actually certified and guarantee not only to responsibly recycle, they also provide secure data destruction. Like you, I worry about all those old hard drives I've been holding onto for years.





11. Something small, makes a difference. Don't walk past that potato chip bag in the street. Why not pick it up and put it in the trash. Make the planet just a little prettier. When you do pick up a bit of trash here and there, it does make our living spaces just a bit more lovely. Evidently September 21, 2019 is slated as National Clean Up Day. Did you know this even existed? [I don't plan it. But I do participate. My neighborhood association organizes a clean up day each year.]


Choose a few of the options from my list to implement into your life. Start today. Why not reduce your carbon footprint just a wee bit and have a positive impact on the environment.  And then tell a friend or coworker about the changes you're making. It may encourage others to step up to the plate as well. Like I said in the beginning of this post, small changes by all of us collectively can make big differences. -ND


Thursday, April 18, 2019

11 Fair Trade Gifts for Mother's Day

What better way is there to say thank you to mom (and I love you) than with a fair trade gift? Here are 11 suggestions that are sure to put a big smile on your mother's face. All are offered by fair trade verified Fair Trade Federation members and in a range of price points.

Fused Glass Earrings
1. Fused Glass Teardrop Earrings - Offered in several hues by Dunitz & Company. And yes I had to list our earrings first (and typed with a smile). We offer many shapes and many colors of our fair trade earrings. Teardrops have always been a customer favorite. And anything in combinations of blue are always a sure bet. Hand crafted in Guatemala. Only $18.00









Poppy Scarf
2. Kyrgyz Silk & Felted Scarf - I know these scarves up close and personal. You and mom will be completely wowed by their extraordinary beauty.  Follow the link to learn more about the producers and their family tradition of combining raw silk with felted wool. Offered by Hoonsarts. These are available in several colors and sizes. 79"x 24" $115.00








Castile Soap
3.  Peppermint & Lavender Castile Soap Set - Mom will go nuts for the scents and versatility of Dr. Bronner's pure Castile soap. Gentle enough to use on your face. Take it in the shower. Or heck, you could use it for dishes. I think this gift set is perfect because just about everyone loves the scents of peppermint and lavender. And it's so affordable at $14.99








Striped Aprons
4. Handwoven Bib Aprons - This is the perfect gift for a mom that cooks! We don't think she needs to cook on her special day. But on every other day, she'll want to be decked out in a gorgeous striped fair trade apron. This one comes from MayaMam Weavers and is handmade in Guatemala. $35.00










Ikat Crossbody
5.Ikat Crossbody Purse - From Malia Designs and the perfect size. I love the Ikat fabric in black. The neutral color allows it to be worn with just about anything. Large enough to carry all that one needs and not the kitchen sink. (You know how women tend to carry EVERYTHING, everywhere.) Made in Cambodia. $46.00





Paper Bead Necklace
6. Triple Strand Paper Bead Necklace - These fun 27" long strand necklaces are created with handmade paper beads crafted by the Acholi women of Uganda. Project Have Hope has been working with these women for several years to ensure they can take care of themselves and their families. Your mom will look great and your purchase will help these women. Win-Win. $30.00









Mugs with Heart
7. Speckled Red Heart Mugs - We suggest purchasing a set of 2 for mom. And the visible heart show off just how you feel. And who can have too many mugs for all the fair trade coffee we all drink?  These good looking mugs are crafted in Haiti for Papillon Marketplace. Yes, Food Safe. $16.00/each










Recycled Rubber Travel Case
8.  Recycled Rubber Travel Case - Does mom travel? We know she could always use a nifty case for her makeup and toiletries.  This one from Revy Fair Trade is made from recycled inner-tube and tire rubber. Now how cool is that? Revy's efforts in El Salvador are changing lives. $32.00










Gathered Scarf
9. Gathered Cotton Scarf - Lightweight and fun, we adore this multi-colored gathered scarf from Sevya. Sevya's fair trade scarves are created by artisan groups using centuries-old craft traditions. And, this beauty is actually on sale at the time of my writing. Only $21.00











Luggage Tags
10. Denim Luggage Tags - Is mom a traveler? Perhaps one or more of these fabulous luggage tags fashioned and loomed with recycled denim threads will make the perfect gift? Dad will love them so much, he might steal them away from mom. Available from Mayan Hands and made in Guatemala. $9.00/each









Tablet Sleeve
11. Leather & Woven Tablet Sleeve - Perhaps your mother is glued to her tablet. If she is, you might consider a fabulous looking 13" protective covering. MZ designs some of the most sophisticated pieces coming out of Oaxaca, Mexico. I think these sleeves are sharp. My guess is mom will too. $87.00










So there you have it, my list of  11 fabulous fair trade gifts for mom. Get a jump on Mother's Day and make sure she feels special.

Nancy & Joanie M
And finally, since I am writing about Mother's Day, I must pay tribute to mine. She may be in heaven above, but I think of her almost every day.  Did you see the #1 recommendation above? Dunitz & Company's fused glass jewelry line was named to honor my mom, the original Joanie M. I know she's smiling knowing earrings hanging on cards with her name are selling in so many gift shops and boutiques. -ND