social enterprise

new in: Sseko Designs' spring collection 2016

sseko designs spring 2016

I always look forward to seeing how Sseko Designs' creatively reinterprets its original versatile ribbon sandal each season. They did not disappoint.

The Spring '16 collection launched today and I'm digging the new stitched leather soles on their ribbon sandals, the accent updates, and the brand new designs in their collection, like these cool, gold slip on sandals.

My favorites, pictured above, are:

(clockwise from top left, affiliate links included)

It's so inspiring to watch ethical companies I love thrive and improve over time. Sseko Designs deserves their success. They've worked hard to ensure that their business improves not just the lives of the young women they employ, but the local economy, as well. Their employees go on to get degrees, start their own businesses, and serve as mentors for new hires. 

the moral wardrobe: Candorra Artisans Bangles

conscious jewelry

I'm not sure whether to feel lucky or concerned that the weather's still so nice in early December. It's highly likely that this is a sign of things to come on the climate change front, but I'm still a bit relieved that I don't have to endure all the cold of winter just yet.

It also gives me the opportunity to show off my new bangles - provided for review from Candorra Artisans - sans gloves. Candorra was founded by Amanda Thornton in early 2014 and began working with artisans in Sri Lanka in June of that year. Candorra specializes in stunning, hand crafted jewelry and accessories made primarily by women in Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Northern India, and South Africa. Artisans are paid up front and receive a living wage. (Amanda shared the brand story on Tuesday, so I recommend you check this post for more background information.)

  candorra artisans jewelry review
ethical outfit post with bangles

I've said before that I'm not much of a bracelet wearer, but these are the sorts of pieces you keep and hand down to loved ones as the years pass. The wire is plated in 24k gold with about 7 times the gold content of traditional plated wire since they're able to plate in house. There are tons of different stones (and world coins! - my coins are from Finland) to choose from and most options fall at or under $40.00 at regular price (plus, they're currently on sale). I'm wearing the Small Pyrite and the Gold Coin bangles.

fair trade banglescandorra artisan review Ethical Details: Top - thrifted; Cardigan - thrifted; Jacket - secondhand via thredup; Boots - old; Bracelets - c/o Candorra Artisans

Overall, I'm really impressed with the quality and craftsmanship of the bangles and I love the structure and mission of Candorra Artisans. Small-wristed folks may need to pull the bracelets up their arms a bit to make them feel more secure, as there is a danger of them slipping off, but that's to be expected with bangles. I'm looking forward to wearing these hiked up my arm with a sundress in the summertime.

For a limited time, all Candorra Artisans bangles are 40% off on their website. 


Learn more about Candorra Artisans and shop their collection on their website. Follow along on facebookpinterest, and instagram

article on Christianity Today: Buy the Product, Not the Sob Story

christianity today social enterprise article


I'm excited to announce that I wrote an article on the social enterprise model and Thistle Farms - a social enterprise serving trafficked, addicted, and abused women in Nashville, Tennessee - for Christianity Today online. It's the front page feature today, which is more than I could have hoped for.

This piece was several weeks in the making and I'm glad I had the chance to rein in my thoughts with an editor. I'm pleased with the result.

Read Buy the Product, Not the Sob Story here.


Then come back here and comment. I'd love to know what you think. 

I also wrote an essay on my faith journey for Elephant Journal. Read it here.

Fashion with Impact with Bought Beautifully

bought beautifully akash necklace
bought beautifully fashion with impact

I met Emily of Bought Beautifully at the Justice Conference back in June. We had a great time fangirling over the ethical products at the Bought Beautifully booth - I had the chance to see a lot of things in person that I'd previously only seen on instagram - and getting to know each other a bit.

Bought Beautifully is a social enterprise committed to sourcing products from co-ops and companies that provide fair wages, a great work environment, and a spiritually enriching atmosphere to its employees and artisans. They have a nice selection of goods, but I especially love their jewelry. It's also a great place to find Christian graphic tees that are a little bit cooler than those "A Bread Crumb and Fish" tees that were popular when I was in youth group.

causegear bag review

Bought Beautifully is doing a really cool campaign this week called Fashion with Impact, which is sort of a virtual fashion show made up of looks inspired by their ethical goods. Two bloggers will post outfits they've styled using Bought Beautifully products every day this week and create an instagram chain for readers to follow. Additionally, when you follow along on Instagram, you'll be entered to win a $50 Bought Beautifully gift card. 

Bought Beautifully sent me two items from their collection, the CAUSEGEAR Canvas Day Bag and the Akash Necklace. I actually met the CAUSEGEAR founder while shopping at Chicago fair trade store, Greenheart Shop, also during the Justice Conference (talk about networking!). He and his team are committed to providing 5x the standard wage at their factories in India. As you may know, getting a "fair wage" just right can be tricky because disproportionately higher wages can throw local economies off kilter, but the founder is committed to making sure that CAUSEGEAR wages are good for everyone, not just their employees. This bag is a little bigger than what I'm used to, but the slouchy canvas makes it easy to carry and I can use it as an overnight or shopping bag, too. It's become my everyday bag.

The Akash Necklace is stunning in person. It's made by AshaBelle in New Delhi, India. The beads are made of shiny tile shards pressed into clay that sparkle in changing light. And the color makes it really versatile. 

ll bean boots outfit
causegear day bag
Ethical Details: Sweater - old; Striped Top - made in USA; Boots - LL Bean, thrifted (and made in Maine); Akash Necklace - c/o Bought Beautifully; CAUSEGEAR Bag - c/o Bought Beautifully

I'm impressed with the craftsmanship and ethics behind both AshaBelle and CAUSEGEAR and I'm pleased that Bought Beautifully has offered a marketplace for the brands.

Every Bought Beautifully product promotes safe working conditions, fair wages, an ethical supply chain, and the practice of wise stewardship. 


Make sure to follow along with the Fashion with Impact virtual fashion show all week using the links below. 

- See the last look in the series on the Bought Beautifully blog.

- See the next look (coming this afternoon) on Carrie of The Zimmers blog.

- Check out the instagram chain and enter to win a $50 Bought Beautifully gift card on Instagram!

- Shop at Bought Beautifully here.

the moral wardrobe: Bracelets 2 Educate

education and more bracelets 2 educate

When Karen of fair trade organization, Education and More, asked if I would review their new friendship bracelets for Style Wise, I got excited. I'm not much of a bracelet wearer, but my sister and I were always begging my parents to buy us little macrame bracelets at souvenir shops in our coastal hometown as kids. Even though we didn't get along until late high school, we wore our matching friendship bracelets all summer long until the sun and chlorine wore them down. I didn't have time to send a bracelet along to my sister before getting this post together, but I do intend to send one to her soon!

Education and More is a Christian nonprofit working in Guatemala to raise women and children out of poverty through fair wages and education. The Bracelets 2 Educate line is unique in that 100% of profits go back into their education program in Guatemala. Plus, the bracelets themselves were fairly made by artisans employed through their program. The friendship bracelet idea is such a fitting one for a project that treats people with respect and love.

education and more bracelets
bracelets 2 educate
Ethical Details: Top - Everlane; Sandals - thrifted; Bracelets - c/o Education and More

The great thing about these bracelets for me, a small-wristed individual, is that they're adjustable. And the ends of the braided thread are waxed so the macrame clasp stays in place once you've gotten it where you want it. If you like layering bracelets, you can buy a few and stack them. Bracelets 2 Educate are reasonably priced at $5.00-7.00 each. If you're already thinking about stocking stuffers, these might be a good choice.

These bracelets might be simple, but they're really well made, streamlined, and great for everyday wear.

Since it's my Birthday Week (the big 2-7 on the 26th), Education and More is offering 26% off your order with code, birthday.

And stay tuned for a giveaway later this week!


Shop Bracelets 2 Educate here. Follow Education and More on twitter, facebook, and instagram

at long last, new glasses

warby parker review
warby parker review

Well, it took three home try-ons, an order, and an exchange, but I finally found the perfect new frames.

I've been set on getting my frames from Warby Parker because, as far as I know, they're the only prescription optical company with a social enterprising bent. But I'm (I think reasonably) picky about the thing that's going to sit on my face every day for several years and I didn't want giant frames or anything so out there you'd have trouble finding my face underneath all the plastic.

In the end, I went with the Newton style in Aurelia Tortoise, a textured, purple-y blue. I opted to have Warby Parker contact my optometrist for prescription details because I figured that'd be one less thing for me to mess up. I'm quite satisfied with the speed of delivery, the fit of the frames, and the color. Plus, the "no questions asked" return and exchange policy is no joke - she literally asked no questions and got my new frames out to me in under a week. Considering most of my closet is blue and black, I'll have no trouble coordinating these to my outfits.

To read about my home try-on experiences, check out this post and this one.

Update: After several hours of wearing these, I have a terrible headache and my eyes go cross-eyed when I try to read text up close. Looks like something went wrong with the prescription. I'm sure there are options for replacing the lenses, but I can't help but feel like it's not worth all the effort in the end.

This isn't the first time I got the wrong prescription from an online glasses company. You may remember that I sampled frames from now defunct Benji Frank a few years ago and ended up ordering a pair. After trying my darndest to get correct lenses, I gave up and returned them. This has been a - to use an Evangelical buzzword - convicting process for me. After all, the most sustainable thing I can do when it comes to glasses is only replace the part that needs updating: the lenses. I think maybe this is a lesson I needed to learn.


P.S. Don't forget to enter the Amani ya Juu giveaway!

the moral wardrobe: Ikwetta "Jewelled Peacocks" sandals

ikwetta sandals

Ikwetta is a Kenya-based social enterprise with a mission to help artisans find sustainable work by broadening their customer base and improving manufacturing. They're in the middle of their Kickstarter campaign and are only a couple thousand dollars away from reaching their goal. Money raised will go to creating the first big batch of hand beaded sandals and improving manufacturing facilities. You can read more about them on my original post here.

ikwetta sandals

Cofounder Sheeni sent me the Jewelled Peacocks style to sample. The beadwork is stunning and I find the shape of the sandal foot-flattering. Additionally, the beadwork is backed with soft, velvety fabric so it won't cause skin irritation. They're also true to size!

ikwetta kickstarter
ikwetta jewelled peacocks
Ethical Details: Top - People Tree; Shorts - DIY vintage Levi's; Sandals - c/o Ikwetta

Ikwetta has several other styles and colors to choose from on their kickstarter page. The Dose of Daisies style is my second favorite.


Help fund Ikwetta here. 

Learn more about Ikwetta on the website

introducing Ikwetta

Ikwetta is a fair trade, sustainable accessories brand based in Kenya. Co-founders Varsheeni Raghupathy and her husband Leela, a Kenya native, were honeymooning in his home country when they happened upon beautiful, handcrafted sandals at a local market. When they realized that the artisans were not able to make a livable income due to competition and a relatively small consumer market they decided to partner with them to bring their goods to a wider audience.

In their own words:
"While my wife and I fell in love with the products, it was the people behind them that we feel the most for. We realized that African artisans definitely have the talent and their passion shows in the products they make, but what they lack is an avenue through which they could make a decent living through their skills and hard work. We want your support to help us create that avenue …. we want your help to build Ikwetta."

Ikwetta launched a Kickstarter campaign today to get the company off the ground. It's a great opportunity to help some talented people and get some lovely fair trade goods. I really love the Flower Power and Jewelled Peacocks styles shown above.