About Our Brands
HOW WE CHOOSE
At Stone & Virtue, we want to ask more questions. We believe how we spend our money is much more important than what color is trendy and/or how it makes us feel in the moment. The fashion industry is paying a high and often deadly cost to many people throughout our world. They are the forgotten ones. They are the people who make our clothes. The global community (you, companies, brands, me) have realized that our money carries a lot of power. With power, you can create change. Our dollar is our vote! All around the world, people, organizations and companies are making pivotal changes in how clothing is sourced, manufactured and distributed.
Stone & Virtue's business model directly positions us in the forefront of the growing number of companies creating awareness for how businesses impact other people globally. We want to be a "Business For Good", which is directly why we partnered with B1G1 (www.b1g1.com), enabling us to create buy1 give1 campaigns for each purchase you make. This enables you to see the impact you are making with not only the brands you are supporting, but also directly with our "Give Back" campaigns. Being partnered with B1G1 and frontline visionary brands, creates significant changes worldwide. This is how we spread our imprint across multiple continents, affecting change on a much larger global scale. And it all starts with you.
Each brand we feature stands out as a leader in the philanthropic and eco-conscious industry model taking shape throughout the world. We realize our money has power. We choose to spend it in a way that benefits people and doesn't harm them. When we work together, we have the power to shape the future. We will do no more harm.
The Shine Project:
- Ashley Lemieux (founder), came to a pivotal moment in her life, while working as an aid in an inner-city high school in Phoenix, Arizona. She was involved with a program called, Avid, which aimed to help students prepare for life after high school. The preparation was focused on college. She became dismayed as she realized many of the students didn't see college could ever be an option for them.
- Seeing a need in the community, Ashley immediately worked to come up with a solution. In 2007, she started a non-profit, called "The Shine Scholarship Project", which raised enough money to send 7 kids to college. While learning more about these children, she witnessed firsthand the effects of extreme poverty. Many of the families were unable to meet basic financial requirements for their families, including food and beds to sleep in.
- She knew the scholarships would not be enough. Additional income would be necessary to meet other financial demands as well. Ashley chose to lead again, deciding to take things even further this time. In 2012, Ashley began learning to make jewelry, in order to teach the youth she was mentoring valuable life and work skills, while enabling additional income for daily financial needs in college. The Shine Project grew directly from these events. You can read more details about her journey here (http://www.theshineproject.com/how-it-began/).
- Over 40 scholarships have been given since 2011, and 100% of donations given to the non profit go directly to the students.
- Threads by The Shine Project currently employees 11 inner city students.
( 30 minutes, 250,000 lives, 15+ years )
- "One every 30 minutes - that's the average rate at which farmers are committing suicide in India. 250,000 farmers suicides in 15 years. It's the largest number of suicides recorded in human history. It's happening right now, right here in India. And it's not getting any better.These numbers were too disturbing for us to ignore. We decided to do something about it.
- We looked at the current initiatives in India to address this issue and were glad to discover a solution in "organic" and "fair trade" farming practices.
However, all this work was being done only at the grassroots level. There wasn't enough support for it from the end consumers - from you and me.
- A lack of awareness. A lack of alternatives.
- Anyone truly aware of what is going on would not continue to ignore this crisis. If you had a viable alternative, you would choose it.
An alternative that doesn't ask you to change your lifestyle, but meets you where you're at and matches your fashion and design sensibilities.
- Introducing No Nasties: 100% organic, 100% fairtrade clothing.
- Organic and Fairtrade means no genetically modified seeds, no synthetic pesticides or fertilisers, no child labour, no price exploitation, no suicides! It means using natural seeds, natural fertilizers, natural means of pest control. It means paying fair wages to farmers for their efforts and even paying them premiums for community development. It means happier lives, healthier communities and a nicer planet for all of us.
- How is No Nasties different?
- Starting from seed up, a No Nasties garment is a labour of love - love for the planet, love for fellow beings, love for good design. Grown from organic seeds on fair trade farms where synthetic pesticides and GMOs have no room, and processed at factories that are governed by sustainability norms, a No Nasties garment is our way of showing the love" (www.nonasties.in).
- "All of our products are carefully crafted by hand by skilled artisans in Uganda and Indonesia. Our beaded products are made in Uganda from rolled up paper, sealed with a water-based varnish. Making beads from paper is a technique found throughout Eastern Africa.
- Our metal products and accents are made in Indonesia by skilled artisans who have spent years learning the craft. Metal jewelry used to be a much bigger industry in Indonesia, but has significantly decreased over the last decade. By giving artisans access to the global market, we are helping preserve this beautiful, traditional technique.”
Mercy House Global:
- “The Mercy Shop is a global marketplace and the beautiful products we are sharing are made by women empowered by Mercy House. Mercy House engages women through maternity homes in Kenya and employment through Fair Trade Friday in more than 25 countries all around the world. By purchasing these products, you are supporting these young mothers and their children. Thank you!
- The artisans who make the lovely items in our shop are some of the most oppressed and impoverished in the world, from Kenya to Ethiopia to refugees relocated to the United States. They are paid more than a fair wage and empowered by your purchase.”
- "Freedom From Sex trafficking: Sex trafficking is a form of slavery where people are coerced into prostitution. The overall root of this evil in countries like Nepal are poverty, lack of opportunity, and a desperation for acceptance. The motivation behind Elegantees is our desire to see an end to it.
- The "elegant tee" was created in 2010 to merge garment industry experience with entrepreneurship and fighting trafficking. It's more than creating stylish clothing, but by opening doors for those rescued from being trafficked. We provide hope to survivors of sex trafficking in Nepal. Over a dozen work for us who earn a positive and livable source of income that reinforces independence, a healthy self-image, and confidence that restores lives.
- Reducing Vulnerability through Opportunity: Tens of thousands of people disappear from Nepal each year. Human trafficking is a rampant problem, making Nepal rank high for trafficking worldwide. The best way to reduce trafficking in Nepal is to reduce the poverty through meaningful employment. A hand up, not a hand out."
- "Mission: To empower and promote the value of exploited, displaced, and impoverished people groups of the world through the development of sustainable economic opportunities.
- Model: Yobel conducts business trainings, contributes to product development, and expands global marketplaces utilizing fair trade principles while partnering with organizations committed to ethical and sustainable production processes.
- Yobel is committed to educating consumers locally within the Western world about the power of our purchases in the role of promoting freedom and dignity globally.
- Our hope is that through awareness and equitable trade, marginalized people of the world may be offered the hope of freedom and abundant life.
- History: In 2003, Sarah visited the Canaan Farm community in Uganda made up of individuals displaced by the civil war in the north. After this experience and seeing their need for additional income and a fresh start, Sarah was motivated to care for her neighbor. But how?
- Meanwhile, Donavan traveled overseas with a social justice school and was convinced of the power of bringing fair earning potential to women in the developing world. But how?
- The two met for coffee in 2008 and decided to invest their hard-earned weekend tip money into their first micro-grant to Canaan Farm, based on the business model of the Suubi Project with Light Gives Heat. This tiny grant provided the start-up capital for the production of bamboo fair trade jewelry by hiring a jewelry trainer and buying basic materials and tools. Eight months later, a few high school students purchased a tent for a local farmers’ market. The Ugandan bamboo, along with Suubi's paper bead jewelry, provided Yobel with its first product lines.
- After another year and a half and the inclusion of two more justice organizations, Yobel grew to the point of necessitating a permanent space. Against better judgment, Yobel opened a brick and mortar store.
- Throughout this time Yobel also saw the need around the world for basic business education to empower individuals to start businesses serving their own communities. They created a curriculum to train entrepreneurs in essential business practices, reducing dependence on international aid. Learn more at www.yobelinternational.org
- From the beginning this has been a volunteer-run, community-based organization. Without the assistance of many talented volunteers and the hard work of our amazing artisans globally, this enterprise would never have survived.
- Yobel now partners with nonprofits and social entrepreneurs all over the world who produce fairly-traded and ethically-made products. These items directly affect lives by empowering people through business and provide freedom from exploitative labor. Yobel loves their calling to daily inspire awareness and promote justice throughout our community and world!
- Friends: Yobel could not do this work alone. We partner with people who are committed to seeing individuals set free from many kinds of injustice and poverty, both of body and spirit.
Asia - Restoring hope to exploited women by providing stable, alternative employment, safe communal living, access to healthcare, counseling and education
Sarchi, Costa Rica - Contributing to preservation of cultural traditions while empowering young men seeking freedom from addiction
Sosote, Ecuador - Employing men and women who are uneducated or otherwise unemployable to provide for their families
Nairobi, Kenya - Provides sustainable jobs for artisans living in the largest slum in Nairobi, paying them a fair wage, and giving back to a local orphanage
Kolkata, India - Seeing women set free from sexual exploitation in the largest Red Light district
Rajpur, India - Offering holistic change to one of the most disadvantaged regions of India
Tamil Nadu, India - Creating opportunities for women to gain hope and identity within their community
Juarez, Mexico - Standing alongside women of strength as they weather the storm of volatility in a border town
Byumbe, Rwanda - Bringing unity to victims and perpetrators of genocide
Gilgit, Pakistan - Offering employment for women who would otherwise have no opportunities, helping them realize their dignity and worth
Lima, Peru - Increasing dignity and freedom to impoverished women
Kampala, Uganda - Empowering young women to save in order to gain a University level education
Kigumba, Uganda - Lending hope to Internally Displaced People's (primarily widows) through business opportunity and training
Locally we could not do what we do apart from amazing volunteers, designers, photographers, writers, accountants, advisers, teachers, and marketers.
- Dreams: To see people genuinely freed from the poverty and slavery of their situation and spirit.
*To provide job-skills training for refugees and exploited women through our brick and mortar store.
*To continue to develop a line of fashionably relevant ethically traded goods for the western marketplace.
*To Expose people of the West to justice issues firsthand.
*To see artisans running successful autonomous businesses.
*To take business training to the rural communities.
*To see our artisans products in boutiques, coffeeshops and bookstores across the world.
*To assist the American consumer in becoming conscious of the people behind their products.
*To develop a project locally working with vulnerable populations.”