Photoshoot days when you are a 1 woman show is like drinking out of a fire hydrant. Well, almost every day with a new company is like that actually. You feel overwhelmed by your endless To-Do list. You wonder how you'll actually be able to pull it off this time. And yet, somehow by the grace of God it comes together. You get enough done. You've survived another day.
The Super Bowl isn’t just a big day for sports fanatics. It’s a big day for the retail industry in general. Why? According to the National Retail Federation, whether it’s food for a party you’re attending or hosting, decorations for your place of celebration or the purchase of a new team t-shirt for good luck - consumers spent $15.3 billion dollars in preparation for yesterday's events alone.
We also can’t forget that the National Football League prints and prepares shirts, hats and other team memorabilia for both sides. That’s right. There are millions of dollars in merchandise that reads, “Patriots 2018 Super Bowl Champs” being shipped overseas as you read this.
As in any other major sporting event, there are eager fans that want to get their hands on championship merchandise as quickly as possible. In turn, there are also eager retailers ready to capitalize on said fans. Thus, merchandise is prepared for either team’s outcome in order to ensure that no time is wasted developing winning apparel upon the completion of the event.
The league stopped recalling and destroying licensed merchandise from the losing Super Bowl team in 1996. Instead, they now work with a non-profit to send the goods to parts of developing countries like Nigeria, Kenya, Nicaragua, Armenia and El Salvador. The unwanted shirts go to places that need them and the partner non-profit gets a hefty giving in kind donation to help them meet their fundraising efforts. Seems like a pretty good situation, right? Not always. Let me provide some context for Western clothes that end up in other parts of the world.
In Kenya, locals refer to these items as, “clothes of dead white people.” In Mozambique, they are often called, “clothing of calamity.” Here’s why:
They Diminish Local Business
It’s actually a common misconception that non-profits and aid organizations distribute second-hand clothing freely in the developing world. Once these discarded clothes hit East African shores, they are often sold to local vendors or “hawkers” so they can also re-sell them at extremely low prices in their marketplace. An article by the HuffPost stated that, “A pair of used jeans can be as little as $1.50 in the Gikomba Market, East Africa’s biggest secondhand clothing market in Nairobi, Kenya.”
This is about 5-6% of a traditional local piece of apparel. Local makers and Artisans are feeling the blow of these low prices and are forced to slash pricing in order to stay competitive in the market.
They Fill up Local Landfills
Like any good retailer, the in-country vendors inevitably must update their merchandise in order to attract new customers. When the textiles have been picked over or are finally waning in sales, guess where they go to finally retire? You guessed it - the local landfill. They don’t get to ship them off to another country like the U.S. does.
(A vendor sells secondhand clothes at a stall in the busy Gikomba market)
According to an article by Balance, more than 15 million tons of textile trash are generated each year by Americans. That’s roughly 70 pounds of clothing and other textiles per person, per year. That is an astounding number when you think about what ends up getting shipped overseas! It’s part of the reason why the EAC decided to put a ban on used clothes imports from the U.S. You can read the full article here. Not to mention, a full landfill impairs public health, pollutes the environment and threatens to drown some of the world’s poorest countries in toxicity.
This is a product of the waste crisis that we’re experiencing because of the throw-away culture we’ve embodied. With the ever enticing low cost of fast fashion, manufacturers are producing more, consumers are buying more, and we're throwing away more than ever before.
This blog isn’t intended to dog on the NFL or make the claim that second-hand clothing in general is all bad for the developing world. I just thought this was a timely opportunity to express to our followers yet again how deep and multifaceted the fast fashion industry really is. To hopefully bring some awareness to the level of waste we're all contributing to. And how ethical fashion isn’t just about purchasing power, but consideration for where and how to discard your unwanted garments too.
The juggernaut of all brands, Nike, is cutting its retailers from 30,000 to about 40. That’s right 4-0. Why does this matter? Because it reinforces why I started a small batch, limited edition apparel company. And what is the reason for such a big shift in their business? There’s likely a multitude of reasons, but here are some of my theories:
First, in a world constantly seeking what’s next, new or special, mass retail has become toxic in its overexposure. It boils down to basic economics. Everyone knows that scarcity can lead to an increase in demand and a greater sense of value for an item. Nike realizes this and is taking the hard, yet necessary steps to get them back to covet-worthy status; which will include scaling back on availability and access. I bet creating FOMO is literally written in their Marketing strategy!
“The Amazon Effect”). A recent Forbes article stated the attributes desired for products by the once largest generation (the Baby Boomers) when they were in their purchasing prime as:
- Mass distribution
- Associated with status
However, the Millennial and Gen Z consumers of today’s time want different values associated with their products including:
- Ethically made, with fair salaries paid to everyone in the supply chain
- Environmentally friendly
- Convenient (i.e. Online with easy returns)
As you can see, there’s a stark difference in what consumers of today want in their products and Nike is making some serious shifts to align better with those.
In fact, these values are shifting all of big box retail. All this adds up to people placing less value on having access to a wide selection — the very advantage that big box stores leverage. In order to survive, they all need to start making big plays like Nike to focus more of their efforts online or host more immersive, memorable, share-worthy experiences. Because let’s face it, if you can’t gram it than did it really even happen?
I’m excited to own and operate an online specialty store in retail’s changing landscape. And I’m glad Trove fits the bill for some of the very values that consumers want out of their products these days. I have a long way to go to measure up to the titans of retail, but I’m committed to evolving to better serve our customers however and wherever I can. Until then, let’s remain uncompromising in our values, especially when it comes to where and how we shop.
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1 whole chicken (I just get a Rotisserie Chicken and de-bone it)
1 yellow onion
3 cloves garlic (optional)
1-2 lbs carrots aka lots 🥕🥕🥕
4-6 stalks celery
1 container Chicken Bone Broth like @bonafideprovisions or @sprouts
Cut up carrots, celery, onions, and garlic. Sautee the garlic and some onions in big pot (optional). Add in whole chicken into the pot and fill with bone broth and water until chicken is covered. Add onion, carrot and celery trifecta and bring pot to a boil. Then turn down to a simmer and cook for 1 hour. Enjoy with noodles for a heartier meal 🍲!
- 2 (15-ounce) cans black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
- 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 (15-ounce) cans yellow corn, drained
- 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
- 1/2 green bell pepper, cored, seeded and finely chopped
- 1 small red onion, finely chopped
- 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
- 2 roma tomatoes, finely chopped
- 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped
- 1/3 cup chopped cilantro leaves
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- Combine black-eyed peas, black beans, corn, red bell pepper, red onion, celery, tomatoes, jalapenos, and cilantro in a large bowl.
- In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, sugar, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and vegetable oil.
- Pour dressing over black-eyed pea mixture and toss to coat. Refrigerate for at least three hours.
- 2 pizza crusts
- 1/4 c. pesto
- 1/2 c. shredded mozzerella cheese
- 1/2 c. ricotta cheese
- 6 slices of nitrate free, black forest bacon cut into thirds (cooked about 80% through since it will continue to cook once on the pizza)
- 1/2 Tbsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- 4 eggs
- 1 c. mixed greens
- 2 pinches of lemon juice
- a couple pinches of salt and pepper
1. Begin with your pizza crust. I always like to cook it about halfway through before adding toppings despite what the crust directions might say. Also, I like to cook it at 450 degrees if baking in the oven for a crispier crust. Just reduce the cooking time and keep an eye on it.
2. Remove both crusts from the oven and add pesto, mozzarella cheese, ricotta cheese, bacon, and crushed red pepper flakes, splitting the amounts between each crust. Place back into the oven and bake until edges begin to brown and cheese is slightly golden.
3. Meanwhile, cook your four sunny side up eggs, seasoning with salt and pepper, and set aside.
4. Remove pizzas from the oven. Top each with two eggs, half of the mixed greens, a pinch of lemon juice, and a sprinkle or two of salt and pepper. Serve immediately!
Chai is my all-time favorite coffeehouse drink, I love it hot, iced or blended. I adore the sweet, creamy spiciness of the tea that makes me think of the warmth of the holiday season. Tirana’s concentrate makes it easy to enjoy that taste at home, and also experiment with using it in baking and cooking.
I came up with this amazing Pumpkin Chai Tiramisu, combing my favorite drink with my favorite dessert into an autumn inspired treat perfect for the season. I think you will agree, this dessert is worthy of at least serving in addition to the standard pumpkin pie at your upcoming holiday gatherings!
Pumpkin Chai Tiramisu
(makes 4 individual desserts)
- 1 – 8 oz containers of mascarpone cheese
- 1/2 cup pure pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 2 TBS agave nectar
- 1/2 cup Torani Chai Concentrate
- 1/4 cup milk
- 8-10 lady finger cookies
- spiced whipped cream*
- Using a hand mixer blend the mascarpone cheeses, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice and agave nectar in a medium bowl until through blended. Set aside.
- In a shallow dish combine the Torani Chai Concentrate and milk. Lay the lady finger cookies in the chai/milk and allow them to absorb the liquid. Cut the cookies in half.
- Arrange cookie halves in the bottom of dessert dish, spread one spoonful of the mascarpone mixture over the top, then add another halved cookie, then another spoonful of the mascarpone mix, creating 4 layers total.
- Top with spiced whipped cream and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice.
- Chill for at least one hour before serving. Enjoy!
*Spiced Whipped Cream
Using a stand mixer, whip together 1 cup heavy cream, 1 TBS agave nectar, 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract and 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice until stiff peaks form. Keep an eye on it while it whips and do not allow to over-beat.
-By Angel Fuchs (Creator of Yay! Baby Blog)
Meet Irma, a seamstress from Guatemala that we are partnering with for our Holiday 2017 collection. She was born in Ciudad Vieja, which is just outside the more known city of Antigua. She comes from a big family, growing up with five siblings. When Irma's father passed away at the age of four, she recalls how their lives were forever changed.
As in most developing nations without a dual income household, the children are expected to help provide for the family. That often means that children miss out on things like getting an education because they can't afford it or because they need to be working instead of attending school. Irma was held back from entering school until the age of six because they couldn't afford for her to attend. She ended up only receiving four years of proper education until she reluctantly had to drop out so that she could go to work to provide for the family. Irma was only ten years old.
She started cleaning houses for money and helping her mother raise the other, younger siblings. At the same time, one of her older brothers began working in a factory, sewing and ironing clothes. Textile manufacturing has and continues to be a good source of job provision within the country of Guatemala. Irma convinced her brother to take her with him one day, begging to learn more skills that would make her more employable. Her brother obliged and began teaching her basic sewing skills that eventually led to the use of a sewing machine and more advanced techniques.
The clothing factory became a place of joy and security for Irma. She liked learning new skills, operating different machines, working with her brother and being able to provide for their family. It was also during those three years that she met her husband! He was a mechanic at the factory and would work on the machines when they needed servicing. They were married three years after beginning to work in the factory. Irma was just 17 years old.
Irma had their first daughter, Brenda, shortly after they got married. Wanting to be home with her new baby, she and her husband decided that Irma would start her own sewing business out of their home. They had two problems though, Irma did not know how to follow a sewing pattern nor did she own a sewing machine.
Naturally, Irma figured all this out. She found someone in their city to teach her how to cut and read patterns. Until Irma's husband could save up to buy her a sewing machine, she handmade every article of clothing for women and people in the surrounding area for an income. Because of the quality of her garments and excellent customer service, Irma went on to get bigger jobs within her community, like making all the school uniforms!
Today, Irma and her husband have four children together ranging in age from, 13 - 21. She is proud that they are all in school! Her dreams for her children are for them to attend University. Despite her own lack of education and story of success, she still insists that degrees are needed for the "good" jobs in Guatemala. Like most mother's, she wants more for her children.
In the next five years, Irma sees herself busy with lots of work! She wants the financial security a dignified wage can bring to her life and the life of her family. She doesn't want to have to be fearful about their finances or limit her children's potential. She says this from a place of earnest joy, knowing that her children will only benefit from having an education that can propel them forward in a thriving career of their choosing.