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      Impact — Purpose

      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! 

       

      Our hearts are with Haiti.

      Our hearts are with Haiti.

      Reports of the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse have generated many calls to GOEX. We have invested in the lives and livelihoods of the proud people of Haiti and are happy to report that our team in Haiti is safe. With the threat of violent demonstrations looming, we have temporarily closed our manufacturing operations near Port au Prince and have instructed our staff to remain at home with their families. When we are confident it is safe, we will return to normal operations. Until then, the work will wait while the country heals.

      Thank you for your continued care and support. If you have questions or concerns please don't hesitate to contact us:

      cs@goex.org

      (816) 800-8284

       

       

      Makers First. For Good.

      Makers First. For Good.

      Recent news revealed that many major retailers purposely withheld payment from their makers  for garments already made. The reason cited by industry leaders was setbacks caused by COVID-19. The work had been done. The garments were ready to ship yet thousands of makers were left high and dry. There is a word for this exact predicament - slavery. The fashion industry has benefited from the suffering of others long before the pandemic. Enough is enough. 


      Our makers deserve better.

      Maker sewing


      Behind every item you purchase there are living, breathing human beings. Just like you they wake up in the morning and go to work. They dream of providing for their families and yearn to be empowered in their communities. Just like the consumer, the maker has the right to a healthy work environment, a fair wage, and dignified work. 


      Arguably, one of the biggest challenges with Fair Trade business is convincing the world to accept those few extra dollars on the price tag. We are conditioned to paying undercut prices, and change is hard to accept — especially when that change is not a tangible difference to the consumer but instead, a tangible difference to the producer.

       

      Those few extra dollars empower producers, who commonly get taken advantage of, to set prices within the framework of the true cost of labor, time, materials and sustainable growth. This is the motivation behind the fifth principle that GOEX and other Fair Trade Federation members must follow: Pay promptly and pay fairly. 

       

      In addition to ensuring not just a working wage but a livable wage Fair Trade enterprises strive to support safe and empowering working conditions. 

       

      “Fair Trade means a safe and healthy working environment free of forced labor. Throughout the trading chain, Members cultivate workplaces that empower people to participate in the decisions that affect them. Members seek to eliminate discrimination based on race, caste, national origin, religion, disability, gender, sexual orientation, union membership, political affiliation, age, marital, or health status. Members support workplaces free from physical, sexual, psychological, or verbal harassment or abuse.” — Fair Trade Federation

       

      We deserve better. 

       Woman smiling


      Can you truly feel good about wearing exploitive materials? Of course you can’t! However, we have sustained a way of life where it’s easy to add an item to your cart with little or no consideration for how it got there. Having an appealing product that was affordable may be enough to secure a sale but what impact does it have on the quality of life of those who make and on the planet? The conversation of how we can best connect the maker to the consumer continues.  


      Sustainable, ethically made products and education have become much more accessible than they were 20 years ago. With the rise of the internet and social media the fashion revolution has grown from a tick on a to-do list to a worldwide movement. From red carpet walkers to mindful bloggers, people are ready to remove the blinders and make purposeful purchases. It’s so amazing that we’ve come this far and we can be hopeful for even more progress. 


      The Journey ahead.


      Let’s face it, monitoring justice, equity, and sustainable development in trade structures is an ever evolving matter. There are many wonderful organizations advocating for accountability and dignity in commerce. Organizations such as the Fair Trade Federation have worked tirelessly to educate consumers and to advocate for workers. We are proud members of the Fair Trade Federation. The means we and the federation share the same ideals of fair, environmentally conscious business practices. By building our mission around the nine Fair Trade principles we can not only hold ourselves accountable but lead by example in order to influence real, lasting change. 


      Being a Fair Trade enterprise is a continued, conscious effort that requires constant introspection and full transparency. This journey is not only important for the makers and the planet. You have a big part to play too. You have the ability to change lives through a simple purchase decision. Perhaps most importantly, your partnership sets an example in the marketplace that ethical commerce can affect systemic bottom-up change through the dignity of work. They say, “it takes a village.” We say it takes the world. It’s a big dream but with every contribution we make together big dreams come true. 

       

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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.