This month we are celebrating fair trade month, and with this we are diving deep into sharing with you who makes your clothes and why fair trade is not charity!
One of our recent initiatives we started out this year, we put into action- a training program where we invite women in India to learn and develop skills during 3 months so that they can get a better chance of obtaining a well paid job in the fashion industry. Read more detail about our program here.
This is Geetha, one of the employees that works with us everyday to create our beautiful designs.
She says her favorite thing about her new job and the training is that she does not feel pressured. She is enjoying the work.
There are many people that we empower like her that truly feel comfortable in their working environment and they work on providing value to our customers like you!
How it all started
Katie Schmidt, the founder of Passion Lilie is a a designer with a love for sewing and textiles, she got a degree in fashion and luxury management, but the luxury side of fashion didn't inspire her. She started learning about sustainable businesses and became inspired to combine her skills in a positive way to do something good with her passion for design.
In 2012 she took a trip to India and met a group of women doing hand embroidery work.
"I was touched by them, and I wanted to give them money, but I realized they didn't want money, they wanted a job" - Katie
Fair trade is not charity
This was how Passion Lilie's statement "fair trade is not charity" came to life. It opened up Katie's mind into a proportion that was inexplicable. She realized that these women do not want to be taken care of, they want to be useful. So Katie thought about this and as her trip and learnings from India truly resonated with her, she decided to look for ways to be able to create jobs for these women.
In early 2013 Passion Lilie launched with a plan to sell their own new collection during the fall of that year in local boutiques around New Orleans.
It has not been easy to bring to life an ethical brand, as there are always many challenges like putting upfront money for inventory or learning to work with artisans oversees, but being persistent and not giving up is what has kept Passion Lilie on float and growing everyday.
We think there is a growing audience for sustainable and ethical shopping options, and we are honored to be able to learn from this industry every day and change people's lives while we also sell something that doesn't harm the environment and does generates jobs.
We also strongly believe that fair trade is not charity because it's not about buying to help other women (although you do) it's about paying the fair cost of our clothing.