Monday, June 17, 2019

Instagramers You Don't Know & Worth Following

Me at the Fair Trade Federation Conference
I work tirelessly on social media, all in an effort to get Dunitz & Company's fair trade jewelry noticed. The Shop Dunitz Instagram feed seems to steal a lot of my attention. Unfortunately posting pretty pics of our jewelry and models wearing our jewelry only seems a small part of the effort. Growing an engaging, interesting and interested following seems near impossible. I like interacting with other users. I follow accounts I think I may find interesting or those I think should know about Dunitz & Company. Sometimes these accounts follow back and dialog with me. Most don't. And honestly, if they're not interested in interacting, I typically move on. Gotta say, I enjoy the give and take. I've never paid for followers or for bot programs that interact with accounts impersonating me. (I've considered the latter. But it seems so unnatural to me when bots comment on my photos.) So what's a girl to do?

It is estimated that there are over 100 million accounts on Instagram. Can you believe it? The sheer volume of images and information passing through my feed and/or #hashtag searches makes it a daunting task to find those I identify with and/or choose to learn something from.

If you're interested in saving our environment, thrifting or conservation, here are 10 Instagramers I've discovered to be engaging and engaged. None of them seem to be gamers. Just amazing humans sharing good information. I'd love to support their efforts and hope their voices will be heard a bit louder. In no particular order. No targeted editorial comments. Just my recommendation to follow and dialog.

Devi Speaks from the Heart
1. developingstyleblog

Matt to the Point
2. sustainablematt 

Wonderful Thrifted Finds
3. slow_fashion_finder 

Updated and Upcycled
4. nonewness 

Let's Help Clean Our Oceans
 5. ethicellie

Bonnie Promotes Natural Wellness
6. conscious.chica

Eco Tips & Suggestions
7. thewiseconsumer

Hates Plastic. Yes!
8. msatx.livesgreen

9. conscious_49   

Solutions to Using Less Plastic
10. lets_savetheplanet 

After you've followed these accounts for a while, please let me know what you think of them. If you have some Instagram accounts you think I'd enjoy interacting with, I'd sure appreciate the recommendations.  If you're not watching the Dunitz & Company Instagram feed, please do. If you're seeking  fair trade jewelry  for you or for a gift, please consider one of my beautiful designs from Guatemala. (Yeh, I had to end with that!) Thanks all. Thanks for reading. - ND

Monday, June 10, 2019

Terrific Museum.Terrific Museum Store. Bowers Museum.

Bowers Museum

It's always fun to see Dunitz & Company's fair trade jewelry on museum store shelves. And my recent trip to the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, California, put a smile on my face. Not only because I saw an amazing exhibit, (more on that later in this post) it's also such a privilege to have my designs offered at the Bowers Gallery Store.

Nancy & Pauline
I entered the museum looking for the friend I was to meet. It was Sunday. And there at the 'Information Desk' I spotted Pauline Rusterholtz, the buyer for the museum's store trimming and arranging a vase of flowers. Yes, she's a woman of many talents. And as I waited for my friend to arrive, Pauline and I caught up and chatted. She told me I'd go nuts for the "Guo Pei, Couture Beyond" exhibit. And she was absolutely right. Guo Pei is an amazing Chinese clothing designer who first gained notoriety in the west when superstar Rihanna wore her golden cape dress at the 2015 Met Gala. If you're in Southern California, definitely check it out. It closes on July 14th. (And, yes, we're posing under a photo of Harry & Meghan in Pauline's office.)

Guo Pei Exhibit
I took this opportunity to ask Pauline if I could interview her for my blog and/or send her a few questions for the answering. She said yes. I know that Pauline supports fair trade when she can, and I knew she was also a member of Museum Store Association. My goal was to learn a few pearls of wisdom from this experienced buyer. I did. Keep reading and you will too.

NANCY: You've been part of the Bowers Museum family since forever. How did you come to work at the Bowers? Had you worked at other museums or done retail prior to taking over the gift store there?

PAULINE: I was moving to Orange County from San Francisco and knew the then manager of the Bowers Museum store. She asked me if I would be interested in working at the store and I said yes. And here I am, 25 years later.

NANCY: Each time I see your store, I'm not only impressed with the merchandising, but also the breadth of amazing products you offer in so many price points. We met in the legendary Kentia Hall World Style exhibits of the now, closed Los Angeles Gift Show - back in the 90's. How do you now source new things for your store?

PAULINE: Mainly by researching on the Internet. I also meet new vendors that come to the museum.

NANCY: You sell items from all over the globe in your store.  Is there a part of the world that you've visited, or products from a certain part of the world that excite you the most?

PAULINE: Just receiving different items from around the world is exciting for us, especially when we meet with different artists from different cultures.  (Yes, Pauline is a diplomat. And it seems she likes vendors to personally call on her. Makes me realize I wish I was 3 people, so I could meet with many buyers in person, on their turf.)

NANCY: When we first met, fair trade really hadn't yet been defined.  I'm sure you could tell which vendors seemed more ethical in the ways they did business. Does validated or certified fair trade play a part in your purchasing decisions now?

PAULINE: Very much so. We always try to work with Fair Trade [vendors].

NANCY: I joined Museum Store Association a few years ago. I have found it to be such a supportive group and I'm thrilled to know you are a member. Is there something in particular about this association that you appreciate or find most helpful? 

PAULINE: I find all of the available information they provide very helpful. I particularly enjoy "Shop Talk". It is a very good resource for so many things. (Shop Talk is an on-line forum of the Museum Store Association where members share ideas on products and store management. This alone, justifies membership.)

NANCY: And you know, I had to ask. Do you have a personal favorite design or designs from Dunitz & Company's collections?

Dunitz at the Bowers
PAULINE: You have such a great variety, it is tough to have a favorite. I try to pick out what appeals to our visitors. (always a diplomat!)

----end of interview---

It appears I wasn't 100% on my game on my recent trip to the Bowers Museum Store. I should have been snapping photos, and except for one of Pauline and me (show above), I didn't take photos in the store. This pic to the right is from May 2017. And yes, the Bowers has always done particularly well with our fair trade earrings.

I want to 'shout out' to the Bowers Museum social media team. I follow them everywhere. Definitely follow their Instagram account. Their feed is fun to watch and I've learned a thing or two from the way they engage their audience. They consistently ask questions of their viewers. (SO SMART.) I love when they ask their followers to caption old photographs from their collection. And guess what? I always do. And one time I even won entrance for two to the museum.

In Southern California? Can't make the Guo Pei exhibit? Don't fret. OK, fret a little. The Bowers Museum has another (what looks to be incredible) exhibit coming up September 21 - January 19, 2020. That's a big window of time which means I definitely will NOT be missing "Dimensions of Form: Tamayo and Mixografia." (Did you know I was a summer intern at the Guggenheim Museum NY when I was in college? And that summer, I was a docent guiding visitors through the Rufino Tamayo retrospective.) In the area? Want to join me?

Definitely visit the Bowers Museum for their exhibits AND their fabulous store. And while you're there make sure to treasure hunt for Dunitz fair trade jewelry. -ND

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Fair Trade for Father's Day

Well, all, this is one holiday where I cannot pitch Dunitz fair trade jewelry. We just don't have any hipster jewelry for men at the time of this posting. What I can share with you are some fabulous gift ideas from my Fair Trade Federation colleagues. Great ideas. Many price points. Keep reading to find the perfect gift (not in any particular order) for your dad.

1. Weatherproof Hammock - If dad has a yard, he absolutely needs one of these stunners from Cielo Hammock. He will be thanking you forever as he relaxes with a good book. This hammock is weatherproof and made from mercerized treated cotton with UV protection. And who doesn't love the color blue? $120.00 includes free shipping.

2. Cord Keeper - It doesn't need to be expensive to be perfect. Guarentees your dad will stay organized and out of a twisted mess. Worldcrafts is your source for this fabulously designed cord keeper which is made by women in need in the South Bronx of New York. Only $7.99. Buy two?

3. Luggage Tags - Handmade in India, designed by Matr Boomie and available from ZeeBee Market. (These are made from sustainable* leather. That means animals have died of natural causes, not for consumption.) Your dad will not only easily find his bags when he travels, his bags will look terrific. Choose your favorite animal. Or surprise him with all three. $12.95/each

4. Coffee Sampler - Who doesn't like coffee? So why not surprise your father with a variety pack from Dean's Beans? He'll receive six 4oz packs. When he's done trying them all, he'll know which is his favorite. Only $19.99

5. African Straw Hat - Does dad garden or hike?  These good looking hats with a chin strap are created by African Market Baskets and available from Tango Zulu Imports. We have it on good authority that the dudes love love love these hats. $44.99

6. Lhotsi Wool Sweater - Your father will be the most handsome guy on the block in this Everest Designs sweater. It's even on sale as I type. Great pockets. Lined with cotton for comfort. Made from New Zealand wool and crafted in Nepal. We think dad will wear this one for years to come. $189.00

7. Sock Collection - Seriously! Who doesn't need more socks? Dad will adore this Humanitarian Collection from Conscious Step and offered by Global Gifts. Conscious Step produces their socks in India, and part of their sales proceeds go to Malaria No More, UNAids and Oxfam. Dad will feel great knowing you all are making a difference. $50.00

8.  Peace Key Chain - Believe it or not, these key chains are made from melting down aluminum from old car parts. They're crafted in Nicaragua using an age-old sand casting process and offered by Flatboat Fair Traders. They have lots of other designs too. At $12.00, you might want to purchase a few.

9. Magnifying Glass - Does your dad sit in front of a newspaper or book most of the time? (I know my dad did.) Maybe a handsome magnifying glass from Ten Thousand Villages will help out when the print becomes too small. This stunning gift is handcrafted in India. $24.99

10. Lip Balm - Have you tried Zambeezi's lip balm? Once you have, you'll never go back. Get your dad hooked with this variety pack. While you're at it, maybe you should buy a set for mom. Crafted in Zambia of organic ingredients. $11.99

11. Rubber Carry Bag - Yes, this bag made from recycled tire rubber comes from a Dunitz & Company collection sourced in Peru. Actually we think this bag could be used by sporty men or women. Also makes a perfect travel toiletries case. Now on Sale at $20.00

12. Bicycle Book Ends - Perfect for your favorite bookworm. And that might be your father. We think these bicycle iron book ends are so fun. Don't you love that the front end and back end of the bike are featured separately? Crafted in India and offered by ZeeBee Market. $29.95

13. Picture Frame - When in doubt go for a handsome picture frame. This one features ethically sourced bone and wood inlay. Just remember to add an image that dad will love forever and ever. It might even be a pic of you and dad together from when you were six years old. Just saying. Created by Matr Boomie and offered by Fair Trade Winds. $34.00

So, there you have it. Lucky Thirteen fabulous gift options in a variety of price points for your favorite father. Support Fair Trade Federation members who work tirelessly at making a difference in the lives of producers. If you like what you've read, please share our guide on social media. You can even hover over our perfect pin (if you are on a computer, and not an iPad) and easily share it on Pinterest. You can't help feeling good about that. -ND