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      Impact — Purpose

      Made in Haiti

      Made in Haiti

       

      The story of GOEX Apparel began in 2010 in Gulu, Uganda with a woman named Lucy. Lucy had a sewing center, but no work. Our parent organization, The Global Orphan Project, sought to help by partnering with her on sewing school uniforms for children in her community. This work gave Lucy dignity, provided income for her family, and changed their stories from charity to empowerment. This event signaled an epiphany - that having a stable, fair-wage job helps keep families together and empowers them to succeed. Thus GOEX Apparel was formed. 


      Two years later, the incredible impact in Uganda caught the attention of GO Project’s partners in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. While Haiti’s “mountains beyond mountains” and rugged island beauty are breathtaking, poverty is a tangible force in the daily lives of most Haitians. Historical colonial exploitation, decades of ineffective government, and natural disasters are just a few contributing challenges in Haiti. Despite these struggles, the people of Haiti continue to show exemplary hope and a sense of community. The need was clear and we now had the partnership to begin to help lay the groundwork for a better way of LIFE.

       

      Made With LIFE

      LIFE S.A. Haiti

       

      Managed by Ariane Manuel, LIFE S. A. is a 24,000 square foot boutique apparel factory located in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. A life-giving alternative within the apparel industry, LIFE treats their skilled employees with respect and pays a fair wage that reinstates pride, dignity, and stability within their families. Daily wages at Life S.A. are 65% higher than the sector minimum. "We're basically breaking all of the rules in [the fashion] industry,” says Ariane. “Not only do we take pride in the garments that we produce, but we invest in the wellbeing of our employees. We are a family here. Everything we do, we do with pride and with a lot of talent. Our slogan 'Feel good. Do good.' really means something important. I think anybody would feel good to make a difference and to be a part of what we're trying to do." 

       

      Less than a 2-hour flight from Florida, Haiti is located on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola. This means that we are able to build sustainable, fair-wage jobs without severe consequences to the planet. Mega-factory shirts will typically travel 16,000 miles in their production journey — leaving toxic oil residue in the ocean. Our fabrics are sourced right here in the U.S., shipped to Haiti to be sewn into shirts, and shipped back to the U.S. for sale, leaving a total travel time of 3,200 miles and a much smaller carbon footprint.

       

      The Road So Far

      GO Project

       

      In 2012, we piloted the GOEX sustainability concept with a single product made in Haiti: GO Jammies. Over a sixty-day period, we sold nearly 5,000 units that supported 28 workers. Since then, we've expanded our garment line, made significant improvements to our shop and warehouses, and welcomed new team members. In 2021, GOEX achieved over $2 million in garment sales and supported 89 workers in Haiti and 21 in Kansas City. 

      When people have dignified work and fair-wage income, the world wins. You can send all of the funds and resources you want, but the sustainable solution is providing opportunity for those in need to care for themselves and for communities to have a strong foundation of support. GOEX exists to contribute to that solution. A better shirt for a better world. 

       

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      We strive to bring you the latest in Fair Trade style and responsible fashion trends. 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.

       

      Empowering Fathers

      Empowering Fathers

      Despite many challenges, fathers are prospering while taking care of themselves and dreaming of a better life for their children. Every day fathers show us how to be strong, intelligent, and resilient. We had an opportunity to sit down with one of our staff members at LIFE S.A. to discuss what it means to be a working father and what inspires him about working with GOEX Apparel. 

       

      Meet Joseph Rycles

      Joseph is a sewing machine operator who primarily works on a single needle machine. He developed a passion for sewing after working as a salesman in a sewing workshop and has been sewing for nearly 18 years. “I was fascinated by it. I admired the workmanship, the cut of the clothes and the way they came to life. The owner of the workshop saw how I took an interest, so he offered to give me lessons. It was a huge turning point for me.”



      Joseph is from the city of Jean Rabel, Haiti. The third child in a family of four, he is now married with a daughter of his own. “I love my family because we respect and help each other. We are a good team; everyone has their role,” says Rycles. 


      Caring for his family comes in many forms such as ensuring that opportunities for his daughter are available - like a good education. “My job helps me pay for my daughter's scholarship; this is very important to me.” Rycles also ensures the empowerment of his community. “I love what I do and that's why I contribute to making this business work. I am proud to be a part of a team that respects people and strives to give the best they can.” Knowing that his job is attached to a strong social mission inspires him every day. As a supporter and father, he also runs his own side business and hopes to own his own workshop one day. 


      Caring For Families

      Stories like that of Joseph Rycles are a fantastic reminder of our mission. Although there is much work to be done, we are able to take a moment to admire how we have come together as a global community and then prepare ourselves for the mountains we’ve yet to climb. Today, GOEX is honored to say that we are able to support over 100 workers at LIFE S.A. With your help, whether you’re ordering 1 or 24,000 GOEX garments, we can ensure that our people thrive with dignity. 

       


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      Follow The Story

      We strive to bring you the latest in Fair Trade style and responsible fashion trends. 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. 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!