For the Greater Goods

A lifestyle blog for the conscious consumer


Leave a comment

Splurge or Save: Spring Scarves

Although the calendar says “spring”, the weather in Maine is still screaming “winter”.  It snowed last night. And not just a dusting. We got a few inches. Yes, inches. Did I miss the memo that spring has been canceled this year? I’m losing hope! Holdin’ on by a string! Warm weather better come soon or I might just lose it!

So with spring in my mind and winter still sitting in front of me, I decided to write about scarves. I think scarves are a great transition piece from winter to spring (or in my case from spring back to winter). As the weather gets warmer you no longer need thick, bulky scarves to keep in body heat for survival and instead you can focus on wearing light, airy scarves as accessories. So for today’s Splurge or Save, I’ve picked out two purpley scarves that are great pieces for transitioning into warmer weather. There is just something about purple that always reminds me of spring. Maybe it’s the thought blooming flowers or maybe it’s the purple Easter candy I just ate…

Anyway, in the last Splurge or Save, I wrote about two companies that are doing great things in two completely different ways. Today I chose two companies that have a similar mission. Both companies aim to empower artisans and entrepreneurs in developing countries.

On Purpose Purple.jpg (2)

The first scarf is from Kate Spade’s On Purpose collection. I wrote a post about the collection when it first came out. I was super excited when Kate Spade came out with a socially conscious line. I love that her products all have a little pizzazz and this scarf is no different. The small details are really what make this scarf unique. I think the faint purple mixes well with the playful pom poms.

All the pieces in this collection are hand made by women artisans in Rwanda. The employees are paid monthly salaries that are 40% above international guidelines for fair living wages. And unlike many other jobs available to them, the women are offered: paid vacation days, health benefits, maternity leave, and social security. The On Purpose collection is constantly adding new products, but most of them are a bit pricey. This scarf comes in at $158.

Marquet Free Weave Scarf

The second option is a more affordable scarf from Marquet, which is another company I have written about. Their goal is to empower entrepreneurs in developing countries and help them reach a global audience. Marquet imports scarves from artisans in Thailand and Vietnam. The company takes the time to build personal relationships with all of their artisans and follows all the guidelines set out by the Fair Trade Federation. The scarves come in all the colors of the rainbow, but this two toned purple scarf is definitely a great color for spring. The mixture of purples is subtle, but it makes the scarf unique. And the best part is this scarf will only set you back $22.

So which scarf do you chose? Will you splurge or save?


1 Comment

Presents With A Purpose: Health + Wellness

More gifts galore for day number 4!

7% of proceeds from today’s Presents With A Purpose picks go to the Our House Grief Support Center. The center was founded on the premise that grievers need understanding, support, and connection. Their missions is to provide the community with grief support services, education, resources, and hope.

This Moorea Seal category has a lot of scarves, bags, and sunglasses. So if you don’t see one here you like, definitely check online because there are many many many options.

Screen Shot 2014-12-10 at 10.16.54 PM

 

1. Morley Hat / 2. Small Glass Diamond / 3. Waxed Canvas Tree Tote / 4. Westward Scarf / 5. Mackenzie Sunglasses / 6. Newsprint Scarf / 7. Punched Mini Pouch / 8. Tiny Trees Cards / 9. Leather Dot Tote / 10. Rectangle Dish / 11. Clare Slip Ons / 12. Splatter Clutch 


Leave a comment

Giving Back In More Ways Than One: An Interview With Lions in Four Founder Julie Martin

What if I told you there was a globally-minded, socially conscious, affordable luxury brand that sold beautiful and functional accessories? It seems too good to be true, right? Well that is exactly what Lions in Four are doing.

Lions in Four 1

They sell fashionable clutches and scarves that give back in more ways than one.

First of all, they partner with WE CARE of India, which is a organization empowering women and educating children of rural villages in (you guessed it!) India. Right now Lions in Four are also working to create their own artisan studio and training facility, which will allow them to provide sustainable employment for women and girls in rural South India.

WE CARE

On top of all that goodness, Lions in Four use eco friendly materials such as high quality recycled leather and Italian eco-suede, which is actually used on some Porsche and Maserati seats. So cool! Also, all of the silk they use is hand woven and hand dyed in all natural vegetable dyes. No chemicals here!

I had the opportunity to ask Julie Martin, the founder of Lions in Four, some questions about her company, inspiration, and her experiences with nonprofits and social entrepreneurship.

First off, how did you come up with the company name Lions in Four?

Lions in Four was named as an inspiration from India’s national monument…it has four lions looking North, South, East, and West….Looking out for each other. Each lion stands for a virtue. Power. Pride. Confidence. Courage. We felt like they were all things we stand for so we drew inspiration from them.

I love that you’re combining social consciousness and eco friendly aspects into your products. How did you come up with the idea to combine these into a luxury line?

The socially conscious aspect came first.  In fact, it’s the entire reason we decided to start the company… because we saw a need in India with orphaned girls aging out of the home we worked with and needing employment.

The eco-friendly aspect came about as a natural response.  We wanted our workers to be working with natural dyes so that it was safe for them and the environment…so we searched on all the other components of our product…especially the leathers to ensure the entire product was “clean” so to speak.

We chose to do contemporary luxury because we are personally drawn to fine things and felt there was a gap in socially conscious items which are also refined and luxurious.

What inspired you to work with WE CARE India?

WE CARE of India is a non-profit I started after studying at Paris Fashion Institute.  While in school I met a lady on a train who was doing amazing work on behalf of abandoned girls in South India.  It has now been 12 years since that chance meeting and we have been working together all this time.  We have been dreaming about ways to employ these girls as they age-out of the home and need employment….and Lions in Four is serving as the economic engine to create demand for the silks they create.

What has been the biggest obstacle you’ve come across while creating your conscious business and how did you work through it?

Our biggest obstacle, I would say, is finding the right people to work with.  Everything from our website, manufacturing, PR, branding…you name it…requires us to find the right people to work with.  We haven’t nailed it every time and we are learning to really take our time and do our research before partnering with anyone.  This is our baby after all….  The greatest success so far, however, has been my two business partners.  We work together seamlessly and are all passionate about the company.

How would you describe Lions in Four’s style? Where do you get your fashion inspiration?

This is a fun question! I am inspired by so many things but if I had to narrow it down to two I would say

1. The fabrics…. Our Suede back came about after seeing this Italian brand at a textile show. The suedes were so yummy I wanted to work with them. It took two months to get them to work with us because we a new company.

2. Our woman…what would add beauty AND function to her life….How can we make her life easier and more beautiful.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to budding social entrepreneurs?

Read…. Read any book you can get your hands on that is written by someone who 1. Has what you want to have…and 2. IS where you want to be.
We can learn so much and avoid so many mistakes by learning from others. Sheila (my business partner) and I are constantly reading and when we feel like it’s an amazing book we both read it together.

You’ve already created some beautiful clutches and scarves, but do you plan to expand into other products? What are some of your plans for the future?

This Spring we are adding two new silhouettes of handbags.  We are also bringing in more exotic skins because our python is going over so well.  We will be introducing more color of course this spring which is fun.  On the scarves we have the SOFTEST hand-woven mulberry silk scarves coming out and we partnered with a young Indian designer to do a print he created.

______________________________________________________

It sounds like there are some awesome things coming out in the spring, but check out what they have available now. I’m obsessed with these scarves. Could they be any cozier?Lions in Four 2

And their clutches are the perfect size to carry all the necessities without weighing you down.

Lions in Four 3

You can check out the other color scarves and clutches at their website. And be sure to keep an eye on Lions in Four because I see great things coming from this company in the future.


3 Comments

I Don’t Like Fall..

There I said it! And I’m starting to think I am the only person on the face of this planet who isn’t ecstatic for fall. What’s the big deal? The days get shorter and colder and more depressing. And worst of all, it means winter is coming…

jonsnow

I dislike winter more than fall, but sometimes the anticipation to winter is worse than it actually is… if that makes any sense. And maybe if I lived somewhere (almost anywhere) other than Maine, I would appreciate a break from the long, hot, sticky days, but it literally just started getting warm up here and then oh just kidding it’s cold again. Now I’m all worked up *deep breath* and moving on…

I will admit there is one thing I do like about fall. I’m not a complete fall Scrooge. No, it isn’t the pumpkin spice everything. I like scarves. Scarves to me are like little portable blankets you can wear all day and still look fabulous. That is what I call a win-win.

IMG_1405

I just cuddle up in my scarf and pretend the colder temperatures of fall don’t bother me.

For my birthday, which is September 21st and is TECHNICALLY still in the summer (that’s very important to me) my Aunt gave me a scarf from Marquet (the blue one I’m cozying up with above). I hadn’t heard of the company before, but on the label it mentioned something about being fair trade, which have kind of become trigger words for me to whip my laptop out and do some research.

Marquet Fair Trade Scarves

It turns out Marquet imports bracelets and scarves from artisans in Thailand and Vietnam. Their goal is to empower entrepreneurs in developing countries and help them reach a larger, global audience. They take the time to meet with all of their artisans to create a personal, long lasting relationship. You can learn more about their Fair Trade Federation business principles here. The scarves come in all the colors of the rainbow and are made of cotton and/or silk. I got the Binh Minh Shawl and it has definitely passed my cozy test.