{eco brand} world finds: the search for good things is over

over the summer months i have been reading three books simultaneously in addition to a slew of american + french magazines and of course, the usual fair fashion + clean beauty fare across the internet. reading remains my absolute favorite pastime, and one that is positively therapeutic for me. i never take reading for granted.

in india, 41% of children drop out of school before the 8th grade, according to the world bank group, and half of all girls 15 and older are illiterate. 64% of adolescent girls are forced to leave school early to care for younger siblings, to help run the household or for arranged marriages. 

world finds is a business using fashion + design to combat poverty + illiteracy, and this blooming company, once just a seedling, is now celebrating ten years of creating positive change, building hope + designing sustainable products. world finds is a brand born from travels across continents + across the consciousness of eco entrepreneur kelly weinberger. this is how world finds is transforming communities + providing education for girls in india:

i had the opportunity to meet kelly, the founder of world finds  while in my home state of illinois this past summer. i admit, i was a wee bit distracted while kelly chatted with me of the values she holds dear and how her germinating mind drove her to upstart this ethical fashion company. i confess to being a bit preoccupied by her jewelry. that's because each piece she wore was beautifully designed + highly covetable. 

dressed in a pair of harem pants + a simple black top which proved the perfect backdrop to a pair of shoulder-sweeping, handmade earrings along with a dainty, twisted bangle and layered, mixed-metal rings, kelly's style is remarkably easy + natural. but in this scenario, being distracted by kelly's beautiful baubles is a good thing, i promise.

kelly's story is one of perseverance, one that challenges the very order of fast fashion: kelly had journeyed across nearly 40 countries and witnessed immense poverty and eventually she came to learn of the tremendous potential to assist women's cooperatives, WTO labor organizations + small families of artisans via fair trade {fair trade is a movement that helps workers move toward economic + social self-sufficiency by providing a living wage, access to healthcare + childcare, and ongoing training + education}. 

kelly left a career in marketing to pursue her dream of creating a fair trade business that would harness the high creative power of artisans in developing countries while providing a market for the handmade wares of these talented craftswomen. 

ten years later, with a staff of seven, and with her baubles in nearly 900 retail locations, world finds has found a place in the hearts of those of us seeking insight into our forgotten connections with the workers who make our jewelry + accessories. in addition, world finds founded the girls education fund to provide additional resources + scholarships to marginalized families in artisan communities in india. this means every purchase truly makes à difference.

i listened to kelly as she shared how each piece at world findsis realized: necklaces + clutches are made from recycled kantha quilts; naturally-dyed scarves are hand sewn and unique jewelry pieces are forged by hand. when i wear these pieces, my imagination is enlarged + i feel a sense of exhilaration as well as a bond to the artisans hailing from india, indonesia + bali; i recognize that the allure of each piece lies in its conception + i'm proud to be wearing these pieces, and i'm not at all flummoxed at having been distracted by their beauty. 

to learn more about world finds, skip on over here.

{images by ev // a. smith}

{eco brand} hands producing hope: shaking up the foundation

lucretia mott, 19th century women's rights activist + abolitionist, once said, "any great change must expect opposition, because it shakes the very foundation of privilege."

today we meet rebecca gardner, an enterprising woman with unabating enthusiasm, rattling the foundation + having a tranformative impact on women across the globe.

you've heard the expression, "female empowerment", but what does strength + empowerment really look like under the bright lights of quotidian life?

empowerment, like beauty, comes from confidence within: the confidence of having a skill or talent you can share with the world, the confidence that comes from knowing you are safe + free from harm, the confidence that stems from being able to provide food, shelter + education for one's family. when a woman is the master of her own fate, she is empowered.

empowerment also comes from freedom of choice.

this is the story of how hands producing hope is redefining opportunities afforded to women of rural costa rica + rwanda. how does an original + bold thinker help others to rise up against oppression + connect them to opportunities? this is what empowerment really looks like:

for those born into poverty in remote communities around the world, how does one pursue their dreams, seek out an education, build + support a family, or choose a livelihood that will satisfy a desire to contribute creatively to the world?

rebecca gardner knows how. she's the founder + force behind

hands producing hope, an ethical fashion, accessory + lifestyle brand built on values of love, stewardship, community + equality. and of course hope.

seven years ago rebecca took a trip, like so many of us do, a trip that would eventually reshape her thinking + change the course of her life. in 2010 she set out to costa rica, and there witnessed the discrimination faced by the native guaymi people. a visit to the coppey abajo reservation revealed that women, who despite systemic subjugation, had dreams for a bright future.

but dreams, just like the planes that take us to the new destinations that stretch our thinking + broaden our horizons, require fuel; and in this case, rebecca's idea, to gather local artisans together + sell their wares, required a market.

rebecca shares, "we knew that our artisans required more than just a steady income. they needed to be empowered, to fully know that they are valued and their dreams matter. we've since created a sustainable program that, not only provides dignified work, but prioritizes education and physical, mental and emotional wellness. our educational initiatives financially support artisans who wish to attend school, whether for the first time or to return and obtain their diploma. workshops are hosted several times a year to teach valuable life skills that they can benefit from long after they leave our program. we've formed relationships with the surrounding communities that have come alongside our mission in hopes of reconciliation." 

over the years, through sheer determination, creative thinking + lots of hard work {and the help of family + friends}, rebecca's vision came together. more + more artisans have joined the hph family of makers + creators. 

in 2016, hands producing hope partnered with rwandan women on nkobo island, adding their woven home goods to the repertoire of handmade jewelry by the costa rican artists. rebecca + her team continue to work to provide opportunities that will lead to a secure + consistent income  for each artisan. their greatest hope? to stir the hearts of those who wish to make a difference via the simple action of purchasing, to create "a movement of thoughtful spenders."

check out some of my fave items like this ethically-produced graphic tee made for the thrill seeker in you {be on the lookout because i've been wearing this comfy little top all around this great big world with my warm-weather skirts}; the best layering, chain bracelet ever {each made with a handpicked lagrima de san pedro by the artisans of costa rica}; + a showstopping woven tote {with an uber cute african lining: it's all about the lining, my friends} made by the assiduous artisans in rwanda. this tote will have heads turning all summer long at the farmers' markets + picnics in the park.

interested in learning more about the work of hph? this is what ethical fashion looks like.

 oh, and did i mention there's a wee giveaway happening too? all you have to do is follow along on instagram; if you're already following, you're entered to win! winner will be announced at the end of july. if you're not following along, it's never too late to join!

until next time, stay green dear hearts!

{images c/o hands producing hope}