I ended off last week super under the weather but in such high spirits thanks to all the wonderful workshops and events happening in the city in honour of Fair Trade month and World Fair Trade Day. The weekend only got better spending Saturday at the Buy Good Feel Good Expo here in Toronto, presented by The Fair Trade Show, followed by a ton of eating and celebrating with my mother "in-law" and actual mama on Sunday.
If you follow me on Instagram, I'm sure you experienced my super silly recap of the expo. I was in awe of all the wonderful social enterprises and Toronto-based ethical fashion lines bringing alternative, conscious options to the global market. I walked away that afternoon with no cash left and tons of fair trade goodies, including Chocosol chocolate for both mamas. I ran into Rafik Riad on my way out, founder of the expo, and congratulated him on his success. As I complained of my lack of cash and excessive bags of goodies (I actually only bought like 4 things...), he replied joking that the purpose of the expo isn't to spend money - HA.
For those who weren't able to attend this weekend or aren't near to Toronto, I have two pieces of good news for you:
1) There may just be an expo coming to a city near you - there are rumours of expansion!
2) I've put together a list of 5 awesome new brands from the show that you can shop online.
Check them out:
This awesome social enterprise is working with Kenyan artisans who craft jewelry made from natural and recycled materials. Amanda McLean Doman, Creative Director and Founder, is from Toronto and does all the designing here, then works with the artisans to bring the pieces to a global market. They are super new and are really looking forward to officially launching, so stay tuned for when their products are available online in the next month or so.
Turath, meaning heritage, is an Egyptian social enterprise working with weavers in the small village of Naqada, located in upper Eqypt near the city of Luxor. They are keeping traditional craftsmanship and loom practices alive, dating back to Pharaonic Times, by providing the artisans in the village of Naqada access to a global market. The organization is extremely new to Canada, and was actually Nada's first time in Toronto, one of eight team members working with the artisans, travelling back and forth to bring their beautiful works to markets around the world.
3) Sitti Soap
This fantastic social enterprise is empowering Palestinian refugees through education and skill development in the refugee camp of Jerash, Jordan making handmade, cold-pressed, olive oil soap. Their soap products are available online and at Studio.89!
2) Just One
I am Just One: a social enterprise empowering former child soldiers in Uganda, and Kenyan artisans in the Kibera slums of Kenya. By crafting beautiful upcycled, handmade jewelry, these communities are being lifted out of cycles of violence and poverty. Founder, Krista, is a lovely woman with such a passion for what she does. I really enjoyed meeting her at the show and fangirling over all the beautiful pieces that I had a really hard time deciding on! The piece on the far right is completely made of recycled paper products!
1) Kind Karma Co.
I had to put this one as the number one due it's incredible story, and being completely based here in Toronto. Kind Karma empowers under-served and homeless youth through skill development in handcrafted jewelry. All youth they are working with receive the profits of each sale, and the organization is there every step of the way, helping them to reach their goals and aspirations. I own the beautiful white resin crescent necklace, pictured below, and haven't taken it off since I spotted it.
So, if you didn't really nail it with that gift for mom, here's your chance to redeem yourself.