Selling fair trade fashions online was the furthest thing from my mind when I took my MBA and entered the corporate world back in the 90s. I figured I’d stay there until I retired. After a decade or so, corporate politics got the better of me.
I left to start my own management consulting business. I liked being my own boss and having a successful company. But after a dozen or so years I realized I didn’t want my best life accomplishment to be running a business that didn’t provide much, if any, social benefit.
I wanted to do something worthwhile that actually made a difference. While pondering what that might be, I took a 30-week course on social justice issues. We studied poverty, homelessness, the environment, unfair trade, and hunger, among other topics.
About the same time, I’d grown tired of seeing “Made in China” on every label. I knew about the sweatshops and the devastating effect they had on humans and the earth. So when the course looked at fair trade and earth-friendly production methods, it really clicked with me.
Like most people in the U.S., I always thought of fair trade in terms of chocolate and coffee. As I delved into it, though, I began to find beautifully made, fashion-forward products like jewelry, scarves, purses, and home accessories. Even better, most of them used recycled, repurposed, or easily renewable materials.
The most important factor in my decision to start the company was that fair trade assured most of the money went to the talented artisans who handcrafted the products. The artisans who make my products are primarily women, all of whom live in poverty-stricken areas around the globe. The income gives them economic power that allows them more voice in their own lives.
Industry Expertise (2)
Renewables and Environmental
Areas of Expertise (2)
Fair Trade: the Green Solution to A Better World
Fair Trade and Fashion: Why It Matters
Graduate, JustFaith Social Concerns Program (personal)
30-week course exploring various social issues such as homelessness, poverty, immigration, unfair trade, the environment.
Founder, CPR Consulting Inc (professional)
Founded and managed consulting company specializing in procurement credit card implementation programs and reengineering various financial and administrative processes in corporations.
University of California, Los Angeles - The Anderson School of Management: MBA, Finance 1981
University of Michigan: BA, Languages 1971
Event Appearances (3)
Fair Trade & Fashion: It Matters
The Women's Conference 2012 Moraga CA
Fair Trade: What It Is and Why It Matters
Christ the King Church Social Concerns Committee Pleasant Hill, CA
Reengineering Procurement with Purchasing Credit Cards
Various conferences, seminars, trade association meetings between 1994 and 2008 100+ locations in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico
Sample Talks (1)
Fair Trade: The Green Solution to a Better World
If someone is aware of fair trade, it's most likely because they've bought fair trade coffee or chocolate. But most people in the U.S. aren't aware of the wide variety of fair trade products and how much fair trade focuses on the environment. This speech defines fair trade & its principles, explains why fair trade means green trade, and gives a number of examples, including artisan videos, of how fair trade protects the environment.
- Workshop Leader
- Author Appearance