Author - Marisa Love

Fair Trade Federation Principle #4


Promote Fair Trade.

Part of our mission is to make sure you understand the role you play in world trade and the possibility of greater justice within that global economic system. This is also the heart of the Fair Trade Federation‘s fourth principle: Promote Fair Trade.


Your purchase speaks. It tells businesses what they can and cannot do. It can be a positive force for improving living standards, health, education, distribution of power, and the environment.


Your purchase speaks, but what do you want it to say?






5 questions we want you asking before making your next purchase:



Who made this?

Fashion Revolution coined this phrase and started a conversation around it, begging people to think about the invisible makers. It’s a topic near to our mission. As simple as the question is, the answer goes deep. If a brand knows, and is willing to tell you, who made their clothes, it means there is a real relationship with their producers. We love the quote by The Good Trade, “There should be no hidden faces within the fashion industry.”



Is that a fair price?

We have come to expect cheaper and cheaper clothes. Those prices feel good, but are they fair? Unfortunately, that low price tag probably correlates with warp speed production. Your $10 dollar tee is a layer of stories — from growing the cotton, to turning it into fabric, to sewing it into a shirt, to printing the design, to a store selling it to you. All of these people are trying to make a profitable living, but it’s usually those at the bottom who are left with the least. “By asking whether a price is fair, we can begin to recognize a garment’s true value” — The Good Trade



What is the garment made of?

This is where things get murky. We don’t expect you do be a fabric connoisseur, but we hope we do our part in educating you. You first have to think about the fabric itself, and then you must consider the production process. Even with an plant base option like cotton, there can be shady practices going on behind the curtain. Choosing a natural or recycled fiber is a good first step, and then looking for Fair Trade or Organic certifications ensures you won’t be messing with those murky, big businesses practices. 



Is this brand open and honest?

Ask. Ask. Ask questions. Take a minute and think about your three favorite brands. What do you know about them? Where are their clothes made? What were the conditions of the workers? How much did those employees make? Are they willing to tell you about the money? Whats the breakdown cost of each shirt? These questions matter and the power is in the consumers hands to keep brands accountable. 



What is the true value of my purchase?

You benefit each time you make a purchase, that’s a given but some companies offer more. It’s a question you need to ask yourself now, “Am I willing to spend a little bit more?”. From social justice to environmental activism, there are a wide variety of causes your purchase can support. With GOEX, you are championing the family. You are giving parents the chance to support their families through the dignity of work and a living wage paycheck. Value goes beyond what it adds to your wardrobe when it positively impacts every hand involved. 







Get to shopping!


With all that preparation, you are ready to shop! It can be overwhelming at first, so we made you a little cheat sheet. Here is where you can find fair trade:


  • Stores and cafes in your local community: here
  • Purchase from Fair Trade Federation members online: here
  • Find FTF wholesale suppliers: here
  • Share or learn about fair trade: here

Fair Trade Federation Principle #3

It’s exciting to hear all the fair trade buzz! However, this buzzword often misses the mark. When rubber hits the road, do all of these “fair trade” companies stand the test? As a Fair Trade Federation member, GOEX is dedicated to following the nine FTF principles established to maintain integrity. The third principle protects the independence of farmers, artisans, producers, and their communities.






Building Capacity


This is what it looks like for businesses to actually care for one another.


Protecting a producer’s independence means we have a call to invest our time and resources to help them grow. Success at this third principle might even mean growing apart from us as their capacity increases. It means creating sustainable supply chains. It means sharing marketplace insight. It means spreading best practices and encouraging skill improvement.


When healthy, respectful, and long term relationships like these are built between a business and their producers, space is created for growth.







Our Producer’s Journey: Life S.A.


Life S.A. is a sewing facility new Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where our products are made by skilled Haitian apparel makers. While GOEX is a shareholder in Life S.A., and the largest investor, our goal has never been to own a factory. We have worked over the past three years to train and empower local management to run day-to-day operations, while GOEX functions as a manufacturer’s rep — bringing new customers to the factory.


Our primary, quantifiable goal is to generate at least 1,000+ jobs in living wage conditions at Life S.A. and in Kansas City over the next five years.  


Achieving this goal requires a portfolio of customers both for manufacturing in Haiti and for custom garments in Kansas City. While the two businesses function as partners, we want them to be independently sustainable and supported by customers that meet the unique capabilities of each. This goal requires continued empowerment of local management and creative ways to attract new customers. It also requires excellent coordination and communication between teams in the U.S. and in Haiti, ensuring we all understand capacity, strengths and forecasts.


If we’re successful in our goals of generating demand for our products and services, and therefore creating 1,000+ jobs, our profits will fund the care for thousands of vulnerable children in the U.S. and in Haiti. Ultimately, we seek to break the cycle of poverty by providing jobs and supporting the care and education of local children in the communities where we make.




Follow the Story




We strive to be bold with our words and represent the ideals we believe. If you like what we stand for, we want to share more! Stay in the loop by signing up to receive our newsletters, following us on Instagram, or liking our Facebook page.


Fair Trade Federation Principle #2

Print Shop Staff- Kansas City


Developing Transparent and Accountable Relationships

Wouldn’t it be nice to know where the fabric of your shirt came from? Wait… what’s even in this fabric? Who made it? How much were they paid? Were they treated fairly?


What story does my shirt tell?



The second principle Fair Trade Federation members must exemplify is radical transparency.



Transparency creates accountability from customers to make sure companies maintain open, fair, consistent, and respectful partnerships. The entire trading chain must be shared through proactive communication to ensure that producers and customers feel actively involved in the process. Maybe most importantly, when we make mistakes, we must work humbly and cooperatively with partners to implement solutions.


Here’s how GOEX opens the door (literally) to reveal all the things you’ve wanted to know or never even thought to ask:



LIFE Apparel Staff – Haiti


USA Fabric —

We pay more for USA fabric because we can verify the origin of our goods from the cotton fields to finishing. We can visit any of the manufacturers involved in producing our raw materials.


Open Door Policy —

We have an open door policy both in our sewing facility in Haiti and in our print shop in Kansas City. When you visit either facility, you’re encouraged to talk with employees and get a better understanding of how we support the people who make your clothes.


Working Cooperatively —

Making a difference in entrenched systems is hard. The Fair Trade space is full of trial and error and we’re not the exception. We’ve made a lot of mistakes and learned many lessons.  And we’re always willing to share those lessons with other Fair Trade companies. From pay scales in Haiti to sales strategies in the US, we see the value in dialogue with companies working alongside us to make a difference for marginalized workers.


Employee Empowerment —

We want employees at every level of our organization to feel respected, engaged and part of the team. We send all employees in Kansas City to Haiti so they can understand our manufacturing and the impact it has on workers there. In Haiti, we work closely with the employees, union representatives and line supervisors to ensure any issues are addressed and resolved quickly and with respect.


Pricing Model —

We are completely transparent with our pricing model. After costs to produce premium apparel and provide living wage jobs, all GOEX profit — every bit of it — goes to fund projects set in motion by The Global Orphan Project.




You’re invited!


So, we invite you to come visit us — in Kansas City or in Haiti. See first-hand where your fabric came from, who made it, or how was printed. And keep putting the pressure on businesses to remain fair, honest, and transparent.



Fair Trade Federation Principle #1


We recently announced our membership into the Fair Trade Federation. The term “fair trade” is claimed by many, but fewer than 200 companies have been screened, verified and accepted by the FTF. This honor is followed by a commitment to uphold the nine principles on which FTF was founded.


We work each day to prove we are a business who does business differently. 





Principle #1: Create opportunities for economically and socially marginalized producers.



Poverty alleviation and sustainable development begins with thoughtful, careful partnerships. Makers, developers, producers, farmers, suppliers — they are the soul of craft and trade. However, these producers often face steep hurdles in finding markets and customers for their goods. FTF businesses should recognize this disparity and seek to create long term partnerships that prioritize the producers and their communities before anything else.



Over the years, as we fought with genuine hearts to break the orphan cycle, we learned many humbling lessons. One of the most important truths we have learned: The best form of orphan care is orphan prevention, and the best form of orphan prevention is a strong job.





Creating partnerships — in Haiti and in Kansas City



Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere with an 85% unemployment rate. Workers in the apparel industry in Haiti work six days per week for a minimum wage that barely covers their daily expenses. It is our goal to disrupt that thought process and prove a company can charge more and pay more, therefore elevating the lives of their employees allowing them to care for their families and build a better future.



In Kansas City, we partner with the Full Employment Council to provide internships for disadvantaged young adults in the urban core and then connect qualified candidates with job opportunities within our network or hire them ourselves if we have openings.



The Story Continues 

This story started with a child, grew into an apparel company, prioritized the worker, and now continues with you. 


When you purchase a GOEX tee or select GOEX for fulfillment services, you are assured your choice supports marginalized people in both Haiti and the United States. And, because we’re solely owned by The Global Orphan Project, 100% of our profits are reinvested to support families in the U.S. and around the world. 


GOEX Accepted Into Fair Trade Federation

We are excited to share GOEX is now a verified member of the Fair Trade Federation. With fewer than 200 members worldwide, the Fair Trade Federation’s (FTF) acceptance of GOEX reflects our deep commitment to the highest standards of fair trade and the pursuit of a more just and sustainable world.



What does GOEX’s membership mean?

Behind every product you purchase from any business, there are faces, names, and futures. For GOEX and other Fair Trade Federation members, the heart of our business, our primary goal, is to improve the lives and communities of the people who create our products.


Fair Trade Federation members go through rigorous screening evaluating our business sourcing, practices and mission. The FTF calls it 360° fair trade, meaning we’re committed to being fair and responsible in everything we do — socially, economically, and environmentally. 360° fair trade means not only fair wages, but also long-term, holistic partnerships that empower small businesses, entrepreneurs, and artisans to strengthen their communities and grow their businesses sustainably.


How do we qualify?

Our entire business undergoes extensive evaluations to ensure we source all products in compliance with the entirety of FTF’s Code of Practice.  Here are the nine Fair Trade Federation principles:


  1. Create Opportunities for Economically and Socially Marginalized Producers
  2. Develop Transparent and Accountable Relationships
  3. Build Capacity
  4. Promote Fair Trade
  5. Pay Promptly and Fairly
  6. Support Safe and Empowering Working Conditions
  7. Ensure the Rights of Children
  8. Cultivate Environmental Stewardship
  9. Respect Cultural Identity


Learn more about the 360° fair trade principles and FTF’s eligibility requirements.


Why are Fair Trade Federation members different from other companies that sell fair trade?

“Fair trade” now means many things. It is important to distinguish between fair trade certified products and fully committed fair trade companies. Fully committed fair trade companies have built ethical behavior into their DNA. It is part of every decision and process. Companies that sell certified products sometimes source only a small percent on certified terms.


The Fair Trade Federation is a membership organization, not a certifying body. Rather than certifying individual products, businesses must go through a rigorous screening process in order to become members. This screening is a holistic evaluation of GOEX’s fair trade practices.


Thank you for doing your part.

We would not be sharing this news without you! Thank you for choosing to care for others and our world through the power of your purchase.


We are committed to every person who plays a role in producing your t-shirts, committed to the children and families who benefit from 100% of profit, and committed to providing you with complete transparency and a product you’re proud to wear.


Keep an eye on our blog to learn more about of Fair Trade Federation membership and 360° fair trade.


Shop GOEX.


Apparel That Stands for More

We live in a world that idolizes “cheap” and “fast” in clothing. But hidden behind those low price tags, you’ll find a human supply chain.  


Every piece of clothing you own has been touched by the hands of apparel workers. In the age of cheap and fast, often times you’ll find those employees labor in less than ideal conditions, with low pay in order to keep up with supply. 




We’re seeing more and more people take a stand to demand more from companies.  


GOEX is committed to bring dignity to those in the apparel industry. From the threads of our fabric, to the quality of the provision for our staff in Haiti, to the experience each of our customers has with us, we are committed to providing more — a sustainable future for all involved.  



All GOEX apparel is made in our Better Works Certified production facility. Our mission is to provide a secure future to families through the dignity of work. All workers are paid a living wage, allowing them to support their family and educate their children. And 100% of profit is reinvesting to help care for kids around the world.  


We cannot thank you enough for choosing to positively impact the lives of workers and care for kids by choosing GOEX.  


T-SHIRT IMPACT | Helping Refugees and Families in Lebanon

What does it mean for GOEX to care for kids? Sometimes caring for kids looks like supporting the whole family unit to keep children with their biological parents in a safe and loving home. We want to share with you the stories of three families impacted through your shopping choices.


Because you chose to care for others through your GOEX purchase, three families found safety and stability.


Saana’s* family sought refuge with a church in Lebanon after her husband was kidnapped and killed by ISIS. A partner of The Global Orphan Project, Tyre Church helped her find employment to support her family and ensured that she and her children had a safe place to live. Today, Saana’s family is back on their feet through GOEX customers’ purchases and the support of The Global Orphan Project.





The Amon family has four children under age 4 — including 5-month-old twins. Their father successfully provided a stable income as a carpenter until he recently sustained a work injury and three of his fingers were amputated. No longer able to work at his craft, he lost his job. The family, in a time of crisis, incurred many financial strains, including the costs of his surgery, caring for newborn twins, and normal family expenses like rent and food. During the 4-month healing process, the family reached out to our local church partner for help. Your t-shirt purchases have helped this church support the family during their time of crisis.




Orphaned at a young age after her parents passed away in an accident, Maya was eventually placed in the care of her aunt. Maya became a wife and mother to two children, but her husband was kidnapped and never found. After approaching the United Nations for refugee status, she and her children were moved Syria. The family arrived to a hostile environment and, once again, found themselves in danger. After much effort, Maya and her family were relocated to Lebanon. Upon arrival, they were told of a church that could support them, take them in, and help them begin to heal.


Maya is a fighter, and her family is now moving forward with a safe home and support system. Your GOEX purchases have helped provide a stable place for them to live and school scholarships for the children.






You vote for the change you want to see with each dollar you spend. Thank you for standing for dignity, restoration, and hope through your purchases!




*Names have been changed to protect the identity of these families and children.



T-SHIRT IMPACT | Food for Kids


44 children in Gulu, Uganda experienced the impact of the GOEX customer community’s purchases this year. All the profit — every bit of it — from GOEX apparel goes directly to care for children around the world. This project funded their basic life care — including food, shelter, medical care, education and 24-hour care for three months.


Gulu is located in northern Uganda, an area ravaged by HIV/AIDS and 20-plus year civil war that saw a multitude of people killed, children forced into a rebel army (Lord’s Resistance Army), and families ripped apart. To say there’s a need for orphan care in northern Uganda would be a dramatic understatement. Local partners of The Global Orphan Project (GO) opened The Father’s House, a children’s community in Gulu, in 2012.





The children at The Father’s House live in small groups with “house mamas” who provide 24-hour, family-style care. They eat together, play together and learn together.


Thank you, GOEX community, for caring for kids around the world through the power of your purchase.



Shop tees.


Haiti to Paris and Back Again


Meet Melissa Coles. Coles is the Director of Product Development at GOEX’s production facility in Haiti — LIFE S.A.


After growing up in Haiti, Coles studied fashion as an undergraduate student in the U.S., before going on to obtain her masters in Paris.


“I studied fashion design and specialized in high fashion in France,” Coles said. “I was lucky enough to get an amazing internship with Chanel and work with a ton of amazing women.”


Her heart brought her home

Coles completed her studies and internship, and her heart brought her home to Haiti. Her aunt, Paula Coles, is also a designer and deeply invested in Haiti through fashion and innovation.


“I came back to Haiti to be close to my family, and I originally wanted to start my own business,” Coles said. “But I came to visit LIFE, did a tour, and thought it was amazing. I’ve never seen a place like this.”

Shortly after, Melissa decided to join us. GOEX and LIFE S.A. are committed to Haitian leadership. The team recognized the powerful combination of Coles’ talent, expertise, and desire to invest in her country.



“It is so organized at LIFE. You just don’t often see that here in Haiti. And people are happy!” Coles said. “And the story is powerful. If there was anyone I would want to work for in Haiti, it would definitely be an ethical company like this one.”


Coles works with our team at LIFE to produce apparel that looks as good as it feels. We are honored you are on the team, Melissa.


GOEX is Better Work Certified



GOEX, the brand that cares for kids, is proud to be a Better Work certified organization. What does that mean? It means that our partner production facility — LIFE S.A.— goes above and beyond the highest labor standards internationally.


The Better Work certification is one of the most difficult certifications to obtain.


“Our vision is a global garment industry that lifts millions of people out of poverty by providing decent work, empowering women, driving business competitiveness and promoting inclusive economic growth.” —Better Work


Meet Olivier.

A little over a year ago during LIFE S.A.’s annual audit, Olivier Desire, a Better Work auditor, fell in love with GOEX. He now serves full time as our operations manager in Haiti.



“When I came here, I really liked the ambiance, but the story really blew my mind. I was amazed by the mission of GOEX and LIFE S.A. What I like most about the GOEX team is really the people, because we’re not just making t-shirts. I feel so proud to be part of the team.”


When you purchase any GOEX product, not only does 100% of the profit go to help care for kids through The Global Orphan Project, but you also create living wage jobs and help keep families together. You can be confident that you are partnering for the welfare of kids and families around the world.


A t-shirt never felt so good.