Q: How would you describe Rooted Beauty in three words?
Kim Garrett: Mindful. Authentic. Lively.
Q: What made you want to start Rooted Beauty in the first place?
KG: A passion, driven by my Faith, to engage the Beauty Industry's billion dollar revenue streams to create a resource redistribution channel that ultimately enables oppressed women around the world to escape cycles of extreme bondage
Q: What's been the biggest blessing or reward giving back? Any cool stories to share?
KG: Some of the women we've worked with were suicidal when we were connected to them. It is such a joy to know that we were able to prevent these precious women from taking their lives or living with an ongoing sense of hopelessness. Through the sale of our products, we have been able to give these women vocational training, recovery counseling and ultimately hope for a brighter future!
Stories of impact can be viewed here: https://rootedbeauty.com/category/woman2woman/completed-projects/.
Q: What is your current favorite product that you sell?
KG: Raspberry Citrus Invigorating Facial Wipes! Great for on the go and Green Coffee Antioxidants help purify skin and get rid of dead skin cells as well as toxins and impurities.
Twitter + Instagram: @RootedBeautyCo
Q: How would you describe The Tote Project in three words?
The Tote Project: Empowering, hopeful, and intentional
Q: How did The Tote Project come about?
The Tote Project: The Tote Project was born out of a shared dream and passion for empowerment. Fay had been hand-sewing purses out of vintage fabric and donating a percentage of her profits to help fight human trafficking. She wanted to transition into mass-producing tote bags in order to make a bigger impact, so she reached out to Michelle about starting a business together. They knew from the start that they wanted to find a fair trade factory to make the totes, but had a hard time finding any that were certified and able to do the job. After months of searching they connected with Freeset, and after learning that Freeset has a fair trade certified factory AND trains women who are rescued from sex trafficking to do the sewing, they knew they found the right vendor for the job. The next step was picking the organization to donate to. They wanted to find a local organization making a big impact that needed some extra funding. During the search, multiple people and safe houses pointed them to Two Wings. Two Wings works with local survivors and helps them transition out of safe houses and pursue their dreams. As best friends, Fay and Michelle always talked about volunteering together one day, but they never dreamed they'd have the opportunity to collaborate on something of this scale and help survivors around the world.
Q: What's been the biggest blessing or reward giving back? Any cool stories to share?
The Tote Project: Last year we did an art therapy session at the Dream Center with local survivors of sex trafficking. We gave each woman a blank petal and had her draw an artistic representation of hope inside. At the end we put the petals together to form a flower and made a tote for The Dream Center to sell at events. Going in we didn't know what to expect since it was our first time working one on one with victims, but we had the most incredible, life changing experience. Seeing the women who have experienced so much trauma in their lifetimes and could be filled with joy was incredibly humbling. Human trafficking is such a dark, heavy subject, it's easy to feel overwhelmed by it. But getting to meet these brave ladies, hear their stories, and learn how their lives are being changed provides us with constant motivation and encouragement. Together if we hold on to hope, we really can end modern day slavery.
Q: What is your current favorite item that you sell?
The Tote Project: Michelle- It's so hard to pick just one! I love them all for different reasons. I've always loved the meaning behind "Free to Give" because it's such a blessing and privilege to give of yourself -- whether it's time, money or energy. It's a very special aspect of freedom that may not come to mind right away.
Fay- It changes every week! Right now my favorite freedom statement is "Free To Roam.” Now that spring is here, I grasp every moment I have to get outside and reconnect with nature. Our work is a constant reminder of how lucky we are to freely roam and explore the world around us whenever we choose. The simple act of coming and going, of one's own accord, is something that's so easily taken for granted.
Twitter + Instagram: @TheToteProject
This incredible company was started by five juniors in college: Kallie Dovel, Alli Swanson, Anna Toy, Brooke Hodges, and Jessie Simonson.
In the midst of making plans for her future, one of the girls made a life-changing trip to Uganda. She met women her own age who had no education or job. But they were incredibly skillful and could make the most beautiful, handmade jewelry.
After this one trip, everything changed in the lives of these five college students. They selected six Ugandan women to begin with their company with. They made jewelry together, learned about their lives, and even met their families. This was just the start of 31 Bits.
Dovel stayed an extra year in Uganda setting up the organization, while also helping with the creative side of the company. The girls did everything they could do learn about the business side of the company, whether it was fashion, marketing, or development work. They sold the jewelry anywhere people would buy it and told their story to anyone who’d listen.
After an immense amount of hard work, 31 Bits is now sold in over 300 stores. Over 120 women have been through the company’s five-year holistic development program where they receive health education, finance training, counseling, and business training. SO COOL, right?!
Now, let’s talk about the jewelry. Did we mention it’s made from recycled paper? Yep, PAPER! They sell beautiful statement and dainty necklaces, chunky bracelets, and even have the most adorable range of kids jewelry too.
Sooooo, what are you waiting for?! Come pick up a piece of 31 Bits jewelry and share the story of these beautiful, inspiring Ugandan women.
Twitter + Instagram: @31Bits
We have another Q&A with the founder of Cheengoo, Liz Paik. Get to know how the company began, why she supports women in China, and designing the pet and baby toys.
Q: What made you want to start Cheengoo?
Liz Paik: Cheengoo began as a hobby back in 2005. I was a graphic designer by trade and my two passions in my life were my pets and good design. There weren’t, in my opinion, too many well-designed commerce websites especially geared to discerning pet owners. Most were overly frilly or packed to the seams with glitter and glam. I set out to create Cheengoo.com to provide a hand picked selection of high quality, upscale, and stylish pet accessories. Two years later, the hobby became a serious business and the decision was made to open a brick and mortar store. Around the same time, Cheengoo launched its own line of hand made collars, leashes and toys. It was an instant hit amongst other similar high-end boutiques.
When I became a mom, my son, Oliver, became both my inspiration and muse. Spending time with my son brought a desire to dramatically expand Cheengoo's offerings to include baby products. In 2013, Cheengoo acquired Yellow Label Kids, a small company producing children's handcrafted, eco-friendly toys and accessories who had a similar style and aesthetic vision.
Q: What made you want to support the women in China who make the products?
LP: Buyers nowadays are smarter and more informed. They want to know how and where the products are made, under what conditions, and most importantly whether they are safe. They want to know the story behind the product.
I wanted our buyers to feel good about what they purchase and it was important to me that we use sustainable, organic, natural materials where ever possible. With that in mind, it made sense to seek our partners who share the same philosophy. Our crochet toys are ethically and environmentally made by a team of artisan women. Most are mothers and farmers in rural China. We provide free training, flexible working hours and monthly compensation in the hand craft industry where workers are usually only paid bi-annually and feel that we are improving working conditions in China by example. The result is a friendly working environment that also doubles as a support network allowing these women to earn a fair wage while satisfying their obligations at home.
Q: What is your current favorite item that you sell? Or maybe... which is/was your son's favorite to play with? ;)
LP: Unfortunately, my son is now too old to be playing with rattles! It’s too bad they don’t stay as babies for too long. It’s so fleeting.
I seriously love designing all my toys and I can't really say which is my favorite. When a prototype is made from a 2D drawing, I get a jolt of energy when it turns out exactly how I imagine it. Of course, it doesn’t always turn out like this at the first attempt, or even second or third. It can be a painful process at times -- but at the end of the day, if I am not absolutely satisfied with the final result, the product will never get to market.
Q: What's been the biggest blessing or reward giving back? Any cool stories?
LP: I love the idea that our products are hand crafted and eco-friendly. What's even better is that we are making a difference (albeit small) to the lives of women in China. These women, mostly mothers, would not have had any other work opportunities as most factory workers are required to work full time and mostly far away from their homes. One of the key perks for working with us is that anybody can come in and get themselves trained for free. If they decide that they want to take the work home to be with their family, they have the flexibility to do so. They can literally earn a living at home while watching their kids do their homework. You can't say there are many jobs like that in China right now.
We also recently started working with two great partners in Nepal and Latvia with similar stories - they care both about their environment and their welfare of their employees.
We have new t-shirts to share with you, our fellow Do-Gooders, today! :D
We recently received a shipment from our friends at Out of Print Clothing. Out of Print is all about celebrating our favorite, well known stories while promoting literacy in underserved communities. For each item sold, they donate one book to a community in need through their partner, Books for Africa.
Books for Africa collects, sorts, ships and distributes books to students of all ages in Africa in hopes to end the book famine. Since 1988, they’ve shipped over 35 million books to 49 different countries. (AMAZING!)
Now, we’ve carried Out of Print pouches for some time now. But to add to our collection, we’re so excited to now carry T-SHIRTS! We have t-shirts with the covers of Enders Game, Curious George and Lord of the Flies.
What started with one simple hotel key has transformed into an incredibly successful company that is changing our community in big ways.
Founder and CEO of The Giving Keys, Caitlin Crosby, began engraving old, used keys with inspirational words. Crosby knew that there was a missing link to The Giving Keys and was set on having some sort of charitable aspect to the company.
And then it happened: she met a homeless couple on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles, California. The woman, Cera, coincidentally made jewelry. Crosby immediately knew that Cera and her husband, Rob, needed to join The Giving Keys team.
In addition to Cera and Rob, many other men and women looking to transition out of homelessness have worked for The Giving Keys by engraving inspirational words onto the keys that are turned into jewelry pieces. Many of these employees have been able to create a new home for themselves because of working with The Giving Keys.
Each key is different and unique. You can choose between different metals, chain lengths, bracelets, and so many other beautiful pieces that are one of a kind.
We are so encouraged by the impact that The Giving Keys is making in our local community and hope you are too! Which word would you choose for your key?
Twitter + Instagram: @TheGivingKeys