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      Goin’ Green | Stayin’ Green

      Goin’ Green | Stayin’ Green

      Sustainability is a growing trend in our everyday lives. This is great news for humanity and for the planet. Over the last decade, we have all made great strides to protect the world we inhabit and have become more aware that our actions have a huge impact. From rethinking how we shop to exploring alternative fuels, the human race is on an eco friendly roll. 

      Going green can be challenging, though. Changing habits requires time, planning, education, and resources. In a world where instant results and cutting corners are the social norm, knowing who’s actually walking the green path can be tricky. Enter greenwashing. 

       

      What is “greenwashing”?

      Greenwashing is a term used to describe a form of marketing in which green values and green marketing are fraudulently used to persuade consumers that an organization’s products, aims and policies are environmentally conscious. It’s downright deceptive. It is the responsibility of an organization to foster an honest, healthy relationship with the consumer. By participating in greenwashing, an organization is acknowledging the values of consumers but takes no action towards embracing those values.  

       

      Types of greenwashing:

      • Environmental Imagery – This is when an organization uses images such as leaves, animals, recycle icons, etc. on their packaging with little or no insight to the why or how.
      • Irrelevant/Exaggerated Claims and Misleading Labels – This is when an organization uses phrasing like “100% natural” or “contains no chemicals” when in reality these claims are self-created and self-declared. These products might not contain certain chemicals or manufactured a certain way because those chemicals or practices might actually be illegal making the claim immaterial. One of the biggest offenders is “Made from Recycled Materials” – many brands market products this way regardless of how small the percentage of recycled content. 
      • Hidden Trade Offs – This is where an organization claims that they’re being environmentally conscious but they are doing so by exploitative means. A company may be using 100% recycled products but are they recycling those products through sustainable means? 

       

      How can organizations get away with this?

      The truth of the matter is that monitoring truth and transparency in advertising is still an evolving matter. There are many groups worldwide that are beginning to encourage critical analysis of advertising practices. In the meantime, it’s up to us to keep our eyes open to what really is and what is just a superficial selling point. 

       

      How to identify truly sustainable products?

      • Look beyond the label – really dig into how a product is made, what it’s made of, and at what cost.
      • Look for proof of green practices – can 3rd party nonprofits or advocacy groups (like the Fair Trade Federation) vouch for their efforts? Is the company completely transparent about how they conduct business? Do they answer your questions in a timely, direct manner?
      • Educate yourself – Know what sustainability means and know your values. Does the organization you’re supporting support your values and ethics?

       

      How GOEX walks the walk

      Being a sustainable enterprise is not something that you can scratch off of your to-do list. It’s a continued, conscious effort that requires constant introspection and full transparency. In 2020, we introduced buttons, labels, drawcords, twill tape and packaging made from recycled plastic. We also introduced a line of garments created from remnant fabric diverting waste from landfills – our ladies rib tee, rib tank and rib cardigan are all created from scrap fabric! In 2021, we added zippers to the assortment of components using recycled plastics. We will also continue to expand our assortment of garments made of eco-triblend fabric diverting even more plastic from landfills. We are also reusing boxes that originate in Haiti – be sure to look for a sticker indicating your box is on its second journey! We are proud to walk the walk and encourage you to hold us accountable. 

      Our continued efforts to do good is what differentiates us from most apparel companies. Over the past decade, our core story has remained the same – we exist to create and sustain fair wage jobs that empower employees to care for their families and to make the planet a healthier place for the next generation. In short? Feel good. Do good.

       

       

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      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 and following us on InstagramTwitter, and Facebook.

      GOEX Honors Our Working Moms

      GOEX Honors Our Working Moms

      Mother’s Day is a time to honor mothers, grandmothers, and great-grandmothers for their contribution to family and community. Working mom’s attribute to nearly 40% of participants in the global labor force (Catalyst.org). Working mom’s face incredible challenges while contributing to the success of their work and home life. In fact nearly 70% of full time working women do all or most of the caregiving in their home. (Forbes)  The statstics prove that mom's keep the world turning. (We knew that before the reports but you get the idea.) 


      There’s no doubt about it - mom’s are champions and we at GOEX want to take the opportunity to give our working mothers the spotlight. Meet some of the working mom’s of GOEX/LIFE:

       

      Life S.A., Haiti

      Perpetua St. Clair, Finance & HR Specialist at LIFE

      Perpetua St. Clair, Finance & HR Specialist at LIFE

      "Being a mother made me a better professional, because coming home every night to my daughter reminded me of what I was working for. I want her to know something that I feel is important. LIFE/GOEX gives me that opportunity to teach her that a woman has the power to positively influence those around her and bring her piece to contribute to a better world. I love work, I love her, and I love what I’m doing at LIFE/GOEX. And being a professional made me a better mother, because I’m pursuing my dreams. I modeled my actions to raise her with love, respect, and dignity."

       

      Ariane Manuel, General Manager at LIFE

      Ariane Manuel, General Manager at LIFE

      "Being a working mother is a challenging yet powerful feeling. As much as I would love to spend every minute with my daughter, working at LIFE/GOEX gives me a sense of purpose. I wish to lead by example in everything I do, and will do in the future. I hope to raise an independent young lady with honesty and integrity, kindness, gratitude, and respect."

       

       GOEX, Kansas City

      Meghann Wheelock, Product Manager at GOEX

      Meghann Wheelock, Product Manager at GOEX

      “I didn’t think that working in the fashion industry and being the type of mom I wanted to be was achievable prior to working at GOEX, but the commitment to helping families includes employees and I am so grateful. I hope to teach my daughters to value and love people.”

       

      Jessica Ray, Executive Director

      Jessica Ray, Executive Director

      “Working in a place that exists to support and empower families is an incredible gift when you’re a working mom. We still have high standards and expectations but we also have a lot of flexibility and grace because of the value placed on family. When I came to GOEX (almost 8 years ago), my husband and I had just begun our foster care journey and it quickly became evident that at least one of us would need a job that was supportive of the needs of the kids in our home. During my tenure, I’ve parented a dozen kids and my co-workers have been incredibly supportive. I’m now mom to a seven year old girl who keeps me on my toes! She loves coming to work with me, saying hi to everyone and even helping in the print shop. I work really hard to live out the GOEX fair trade values outside of work. Because of that, my daughter reminds her friends to pick up trash and recycle correctly. She’s totally fine with second hand clothes and we’re working on intentional purchasing instead of a constant need for things. She saves her money and has to think through what she wants to buy. We spend as much time as possible outdoors valuing experiences and time together over stuff.  Above all, we work to teach her kindness to all of those around her. We are a people first company and I want to instill that value for others into the next generation!”

       

      “The Hand That Rocks The Cradle Rocks The World.” - William Ross Wallace

      Motherhood is sacred. Through mother’s we learn, grow, and gain support. As individuals, we can honor our mother’s by providing the same safe and nurturing environment they have given us. As organizations and companies, we can prioritize the success of our working mother’s by creating better conditions for their success. By cultivating this and more we create a better world. This Mother’s Day, join us in celebrating their contributions, persistence, and incredible care.

       

       

      Follow The Story

      Smart Phone IconWe 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 and following us on TikTokInstagramTwitter, and Facebook.

       

      Women of Fair Trade

      Women of Fair Trade

      Each person, whether they are male or female, brings different assets to the workplace. They each deserve a fair chance at employment regardless of their gender.” - LIFE S.A. General Manager, Ariane Manuel

      It is a basic human right to be able to care for yourself and your family in a thriving culture yet gender inequality continues to be a destructive force against a better world. In order to reach sustainable development, women’s contributions and work must be recognized. From equal pay to policy for familial needs, the Fair Trade movement works diligently to empower women to do more than work. Fair Trade empowers women to thrive. 

       

      Women In The Supply Chain

      Kenna Russel, GOEX Graphic Designer

      The garment industry paints an image of a man’s world. “Manufacturing has long been a male dominated profession and therefore so has much of senior management in the apparel industry. I've ended up in some "interesting" conversations with veterans in the industry especially when they find out we manufacture in Haiti. Even more so when they find out our General Manager is also female,” says GOEX Executive Director, Jessica Ray. 

      Worldwide, one in six individuals that are employed work in the fashion industry and eighty percent of garment workers identify as female. (Fair Trade Certified) This means that whatever you are wearing as you are reading this, there is more than a fair chance that it was made by a woman. Yet despite this fact, women employed by conventional business models only represent twenty-four percent of senior roles, twelve percent of board members, and nine percent of CEOs. If eighty percent of the garment workforce identifies as female then why are they not being encouraged to be involved in policy design? 

       

      Advancement of Women

      There is an overwhelming amount of data that proves that the key to a fairer, richer world is through the empowerment of women. Fair Trade cultivates gender equality by encouraging women to take up decision making and leadership positions and by paving a clear, obtainable path to do so. According to a gender study conducted by the World Fair Trade Organization, a woman working for a Fair Trade enterprise is four times as likely to achieve a senior management position, become CEO or join the Board than she would be working for a conventional business. 

      Fair Trade seeks to make diverse perspectives a part of the development, planning, and evaluation of all elements of business. When asked why diversity is so important, Jessica Ray replied “Perspective! Everyone brings a unique set of experiences and the resulting diversity of thought and insight offers different ways to look at situations and solve problems.” 

       

      Women of GOEX

      Women of GOEX on a video conference call

      With a passion for fair trade, the women of GOEX continue to lead the way in better business practices. We’re guided by a team of leaders in Kansas City and Haiti who are united under our mission to create and sustain fair wage jobs that empower makers to care for their families. In fact, GOEX is 100 percent woman led and managed and 50 percent BIPOC led and managed. (To learn more about our team click here.) Together, the women of GOEX bring 83 years of experience and dedication. LIfe S.A. General Manager Ariane Manuel finds inspiration in her coworkers every day. “I'm inspired by our factory floor manager, Luisa. She has this incredible work ethic and passion for what it is that she does. No matter what the circumstances she comes to work with a smile on her face and ready to tackle the day at 100%.”

       

      Follow The Story

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      We stand at an incredible moment as a society. We have everything we need to ensure the dignity, prosperity, and liberty of every human being on this planet. Here at GOEX, we will do everything we can to accomplish this goal - to make HERstory. Get inspired by the women of the fair trade movement through our social media channels and our weekly newsletter. 

      Partner Spotlight: Voyce Threads

      Partner Spotlight: Voyce Threads

      Our mission is to empower the communities we serve. Here at GOEX, we have been fortunate to partner with many organizations and businesses who share this mission. We recently sat down with the founder of Voyce Threads to hear their story and educate our followers about the groups we work with. Founded by author and entrepreneur, Drew Shaw, Voyce Threads strives to empower you to start meaningful conversations by showing off what’s on your feet. 

       

      Voyce Threads 

      Socks don’t have to match. They just have to compliment you. Sometimes the most unlikely pairing makes the perfect combinations. Voyce Threads is a socially conscious lifestyle brand that brings awareness to important causes by designing unique pairs of mismatched socks inspired by charitable organizations. “All of our nonprofit partners..are inspirational and have an easy story to tell,” says founder Drew Shaw. As an exemplar of socially conscious apparel and conscious capitalism, Voyce Threads is elevating the fashion industry to be more than what people wear. 

       

      Drew’s Journey

      Founder of Voyce Threads, Drew Shaw

      Drew started off with intentions of becoming an attorney but received the call to education. He moved to Arizona where he worked with Teach For America. “Education touches a number of different things - whether it’s music education, teachers, or equity along educational lines for students - those are the causes that really resonate with me,” says Shaw. 

      After spending 6 years in the classroom, Shaw transitioned to Arizona State University doing marketing and consulting for a grant program. It was during this time where he first felt the urge to do things on his own. “My family is actually a family of entrepreneurs.” Shaw’s grandparents owned several businesses which had a direct impact on how Shaw perceived possibilities and pursuing what you are passionate about. “Entrepreneurship wasn’t the buzzword that it is now. It was normal life to me.” With a lifetime of support and inspiration Shaw planned for his next steps.

      In March of 2017 he published Rosewood Circle: The First Day. The book features third grader, David Spencer and his journey to make friends after moving to a new town. Navigating through the anxieties of a new town and a new school, David stays true to himself by wearing mismatched socks. To promote the book, Drew had the idea of inviting kids to be a part of the story by launching a line of kids socks. 

      To realize his vision, Drew went through a program called Seed Spot. Seed Spot supports entrepreneurs by surrounding them with the right access to resources, mentors, business fundamentals, community partners, capital sources, and anything they need to succeed. What started as an idea grew into a mission. “I was wanting to use the socks as a vehicle to promote the work of nonprofit organizations, to give back to the community, and to help people harness the power of their generosity toward the community too.” 

       

      The Purpose of Dreams

      Since 2018, Voyce Threads has worked with several organizations and has remained true to purpose. Voyce Threads has become a crossroads bringing together fashion fans, community builders, and dreamers. 

      “As I have been on my entrepreneurial journey I have come back to that person when I was 10 years old. I think the world spends a significant amount of time telling us what we can’t do. At that age we believe we can do anything. Getting back to that place where I see the world with childlike wonder is a great place to be because if you have time and you have ideas you can put something out into the world that is meaningful to you and to other people..Keep dreaming. Keep caring. Keep working and being curious because it’ll take you further than you think it will take you.”

       

      What’s next for Voyce Threads?

      Voyce Threads Crew

       

      Successful collaborations and growth has given Voyce Threads an opportunity to diversify the brand.  “Our socks take a long time to produce because we put a lot of thought into it and to sew socks takes a long time especially if they are custom made. We are doing less socks this year and doing more of other products.” 

      Voyce Threads will be working on a series of shirts and hats that are more cause related. They will still be partnering with nonprofits with the drive of consciousness in trade - “Still the same message but a little bit different.” You can support Voyce Threads through their online store, signing up for their e newsletter, and on social media.

       

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      Follow The Story

      At GOEX we seek to do better in everything we do. We work collaboratively with partners to create positive and equitable relationships within the trading system. This also includes being a better ally. Being a fair trade enterprise means that we celebrate cultural, racial, and ethnic diversity of communities. To be a better ally, GOEX will be utilizing it’s platforms to help educate our audiences, uplift diverse creators and advocates, and contribute to lasting change. Check out our highlights on social media and through our weekly newsletter. 

       

       

      Love Local

      Love Local

      One of our goals for 2022 is to get local. We love adding purpose to other brands. It’s especially fun when our products create revenue for independent and fair trade retailers. This enables a larger community of buyers across the country to both support local retailers and care for families with their purchases. 

       

      What is Love Local? 

      Love local is a movement spearheaded by GOEX in order to cultivate community and build up local commerce. GOEX may not be a local business in your area but that doesn't mean we can't help you build local pride. 

      GOEX Apparel visits long time client Zee Bee Market

      GOEX Apparel Executive Director, Jessica Ray with Owner of Zee Bee MarketJulio Zegarra-Ballon

       

      What is Love Local? 

      Love local is a movement spearheaded by GOEX in order to cultivate community and build up local commerce. GOEX may not be a local business in your area but that doesn't mean we can't help you build local pride. 

       

      Why Love Local?

      According to the Census Bureau and Small Business Administration, independent retailers employ approximately 51 percent of the U.S. workforce, excluding non-farm workers. In addition, they often supply products and services normally not found in big box stores. Although these products may be unique, there is little known about how they are made. Although the Fair Trade movement is growing and many consumers demand more transparency in the supply chain, many small businesses lack the capacity to ethically source their products. 

      Encouraging consumers to shop local and support small businesses is good. What’s even better is empowering those businesses to sell products that are ethically sourced. In order to create true sustainable change, GOEX is dedicated to making fair trade products accessible to small businesses and organizations. 

      GOEX Apparel Store

      How?

      Through a simple tee we can give purpose - a healthier planet and the fair labor, dignity, and equality of all people. Our creative team has created graphics that are easily customizable for any market. We've created a digital catalog inspired by regional landscapes and trendy prints created by our own talented artists and designers. 

       

      Love Local. Give Purpose. 

      We want to better your brand. We’re offering 10% off Love Local custom graphics now through the month of February. From boutiques to corporate events to family reunions, GOEX is here to connect you to the Fair Trade movement. You have the ability to change lives through your purchase as an individual and as a small business owner. If you have a favorite local store that we should work with, please make an introduction!