People over Profit
If you search the internet long enough, you’ll stumble across an American Express spotlight video of the Pearl of the Antilles, circa 1982. This tourist ad features rockin’ early 80s swimsuits and big hair aided by tropical humidity, stunning beaches and beautifully crafted artisan goods.
The location of this highly touted vacation destination? Haiti.
This may come as a shock, given the common narrative surrounding our island home these days. We believe Haiti is still the Pearl of the Antilles, with much to offer the world. We’re here to shift the story about our magical home.
Over the next several journal entries we’ll highlight the sights, sounds and world shakers continuing to work for good on our tiny sliver of Hispaniola. We’ll also give you practical ways you can support the work of justice happening here in Haiti.
Let’s kick things off with a look at WHY ethically made matters.
ETHICALLY MADE TO SHIFT THE STORY:
“It’s not enough for me anymore that it’s a beautiful item. I want to know who made it and where it came from.” - Emma Watson
Establishing business practices that honor the makers is key to a stable, sustainable economy. Businesses that value people over profit emphasize:
Paying wages that will support a family.
Maintaining a clean, safe work space. This includes physical and emotional safety.
Offering benefits like health care and parental leave.
Fostering a thriving community within the workplace.
Honoring the environment to the best of their ability.
Using locally sourced materials when possible, and importing only for the sake of exporting at higher value.
HOW TO JOIN IN LITTLE BY LITTLE:
Our studio mantra is “Piti piti zwazo fe nich li,” “Little by little the bird makes her nest.” When we join forces, we build a better nest, little by little, day by day.
We know it’s easy to get sucked into our favorite stores for good deals on cute knick knacks and cheap tees. But is it such a good deal when the maker of those goods isn’t earning a wage that puts food on their table? Not to be a party crasher, but it’s time to rethink the story we tell with our money.
We each hold the power to purchase in favor of people over profit.
A few simple ways to start supporting ethical fashion:
Wear what you have. Mix up your usual outfit combos, and find new life in your current closet.
Thrift! There are hidden treasures waiting to be found at your local thrift store. These days, you can thrift online too. Because 2018 is beautiful and you can shop from your very own bed. Check your favorite Instagram style accounts to see if they host closet sales. Or, shop online thrift stores like thredup!
Think about who made it. Before you grab that $5 shirt off the rack, think about WHY it only costs $5. Is the person whose hands are crafting that garment making enough money to put food on their table? (Hint: nope.)
Tell your friends. We know stories are powerful. Share the global story of empowering makers through sustainable employment. Don’t know where to start? We won’t complain if you give us a shout out on social media. A few likes may be all it takes for your friends to start learning about ethical fashion while they scroll.
Shop til you drop! Don’t feel guilty about your next shopping spree when it supports women and families. Check out our retail partners to buy Mama Zwazo, and loads more handcrafted beauties.
Wear your goods with pride! Wear your new jewelry. Wrap your babe in your new blanket. Make sure people know all the gorgeous goods are coming from Haiti, where despite what you might hear through the grapevine, there is beauty at every turn.
Stay tuned for more ways to build a better nest, little by little, day by day.
Love + Caribbean Light -
The Mama Zwazo Team