Friday, January 8, 2010

Indulge Responsibly!

After doing heaps of reseach, we are sad to announce that, to our knowledge, no big brand name companies exclusively manufacture products the fair-trade way. However, ordering a cup of joe (or a triple shot macchiato, for that matter) has never tasted better. Since its opening in 1971, Starbucks has dedicated itself to serving up delicious caffeinated goodies in a sweatfree fashion. Ethical trading and responsible growing practices aid in this feat. Visit their page Starbucks Shared Planet or view their yearly reports for further information.

Happy sipping!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Informing the Masses?

Informing the Masses? As part deux of our civics project, the first being this blog, we created an informative pamphlet that provided some basic information on sweatshops and what the public can do to support our cause. Last night we handed out copies in an outdoor shopping center. The evening came up with some interesting results:

-A few people mistook us for Jehovah's Witnesses or street peddlers.
-Were surprised by the overall lack of knowledge and interest..."What's a sweatshop?" one man said with a half-hearted chuckle.
-Chatted with a man who had just purchased a book entitled How to Talk to Liberals. We thought he was being nice and interested, but then we realized that he thought we were hardcore liberals (what does that have to do with anything?).
-After our toes began to freeze and we could no longer feel our faces (bless Natasha for bringing HotHands), we looked at the clock and realized that it had only been about ten minutes.

It was a little awkward at first, but we got the hang of it. Who knows, maybe we'll do it again next year...though we certainly have our work cut out for us. Didn't realize that there were so many people out there who honestly have no idea what a sweatshop is. Seriously, people?!

Have a merry Christmas, and we hope to hear from you next year!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Why Shop Union Made?

Why all the fuss about union-made? Well, here's the gist on union-made items. Companies that produce union-made items (particularly clothing) present the best chance of workers having a strong and unified voice, increasing their ability to have a say in their own labor conditions and wages. In most sweatshops, workers are unable to unionize and rise up against the corporations that employ them due to the rising competition with sweatshops.

Workers are often subject to working environments with substandard sanitation and put their lives in danger due to the companies' lack of fire and safety codes. By increasing the number of "responsible shoppers," we can eliminate some of the threat posed by sweatshops. Union workers also play a vital role in reporting poor management and sweat shop-like conditions, allowing easier regulation of large companies and their conditions.

By spending part of your budget on sweat-free clothing, each one of us is able to support the existence of sweat-free clothing manufacturers and turn the global market in a positive, sweat-free direction.

No sweat, right?

Friday, December 18, 2009


You got the shoes, now you probably need to fill the rest of your closet. Here are a few suggestions to complete your sweat-free outfit, ensemble, or even wardrobe (if you're really cool).

Fair Indigo: Shopping with a conscience is its motto! Home to simple yet elegant styles that won't break the bank. We noted a pretty sweet variety of cashmere. Fair Indigo also champions organic and eco-friendly products. Score.

Pristine Planet: (left) This place has it all, seriously. From clothing to candleholders to corsets (no, we're not kidding). The price range is a little bit high, but you can search for options within your budget. Just think, that extra cost is going to someone who deserves it!

Honorable mention: Equita not only offers a wide selection of footwear, but also a pretty impressive variety of apparel. There's a lot of products made by lesser-known designers to consider, so some products sell out fast!

Note: About the title. Er, sorry. Our creative juices aren't exactly flowing, so this title isn't as cute as the other ones. We'll think of something else soon. Eventually. Maybe.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Shoes, Shoes, Shoes

Christmas is coming up in less than a week and the It shoes of the season seem to be flying off of the shelves. But we’re here to save you from a case of buyer’s remorse by giving you some sweat-free alternatives to the department store brand-name footwear.

Autonomie Project, Inc:
100% vegan, organic, eco-friendly, and Fair-Trade made! A better pair of shoes has never been made. These quirky kicks resemble the ever-popular All-Stars, but with their own creative spin.
Equita: This online shop features fair trade and green products on the top of our list this year. Equita is the epicenter for organic, fair-trade products, featuring footwear from companies like Tom’s, Veja, No Sweat Apparel, and our favorite Autonomie Project.

Tom's Shoes: One for one is Tom’s promise. For every pair of shoes sold, Tom’s will give one pair to a child in need. Since 2006, Tom’s has given away over 130,000 pairs of shoes. And these light-weight canvas slip-ons are available in 34 different designs (we kid you not).

Monday, December 14, 2009

Check the Facts, Check the Tag!

Check the Facts, Check the Tag!Oftentimes, Internet sites can withhold valuable information or put forth biased information to support their cause. The Fair Labor Association, however, has posted a series of reports which factually outline factory conditions for various popular corporations including H&M, Crocs, Liz Claiborne, etc. Categories such as working hours, sanitation standards, and salary are inspected. You can see the reports and judge the conditions for yourself. You might be surprised by what you find.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Let's Write It Up...

We have encovered a bit of sad information: there are currently NO federal laws against sweatshops. Sounds crazy, right? But there IS a state level bill going around that 7 states have signed on to. You can read the proposal and even print out a prototype letter to send to your governor, or state representative if your particularly sassy, at Check it out!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Where in the World is Fair Trade?

Where in the World is Fair Trade? Some corporations sell products from all around the world, so you nev er really know where your support is going. However, these four companies sell products from specific parts of the world:

Global Mamas: Clothing ad jewelry made by women's cooperatives in Africa . This site is so personalized that you can even meet the women.

Marigold Fair Trade: Since 2004, Marigold has been working with a women's co-op of over 200 women in the slums of Mumbai, India. They produce clothing and household items at a slightly higher price range (The average price of a top is about $36).

Under the Nile: Children's apparel, diapers, bedding, blankets, etc., made fairly in Egypt. Click here to learn more their 13 which is helping to improve 13 rural villages in Sharkeya, Egypt.

Ecolution: Sweat-free manufacturer of cute hemp products: hats, bags, apparel, fabric, etc., made in Romania.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Some Chains to Avoid

During the busy holiday season, you’re bombarded by a wave of sales from supply chains all over the country. But how do they maintain their dirt-cheap Black Friday prices? Some of the most well-known chains in the nation have some disappointing answers.

L.L.Bean- In 2006, the National Labor Committee released a report outlining the working conditions at one of their factories in Jordan. The report included descriptions of human trafficking of workers, confiscation of passports, 118-hour workweeks, wages below the legal minimum wage, no sick days, and unsanitary working conditions.

Disney- In October 2007, Disney was busted for the NINTH time by Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (SACOM) because of the conditions of their foreign sweatshops: unpaid wages, illegal working hours, and unsafe working conditions. The infamous statistic? If Disney cut 1% of its advertising budget, it would be able to feed and clothe every member of its Haitian factory work force and their families for an entire year. Hourly, the company head earns 212 times what one of Disney's maunfacutring workers make.

Macy’s- In July of 2008, the State Labor Department found a sweatshop in Queens, New York forcing workers to endure 11-hour workdays at $3.79 an hour, far below the $7.15-an-hour minimum wage. This particular garment sweatshop was producing clothing for Macy’s, Banana Republic, and Victoria’s Secret.


Monday, December 7, 2009

A Few Startling Statistics

Sweatshops may seem like a distant unpleasantry, but it is exactly that perspective that enables their existance. Here are a few facts that will wake you up:

-There are over 2 million abused workers manufacturing products
exclusively for the United States.
-The average American spends approximately $1,831 on clothing per year. Out of that money, only $55 went to the apparel workers.
-However, 7 out of 10 prospective customers would pay more for a product if they knew it was not produced in abusive conditions.

Think about it.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Our "Foundation's" Foundations: The Fair Trade Federation and the Hunger Site

When we first began our research, we stumbled upon two lovely organizations which soon became our inspiration.

The Fair Trade Federation, one of the biggest names in anti-sweatshop organizations, has been dedicated to ethical manufacturing since the 1970s. Its mission is simple: to make the fair trade movement an internationally accepted policy. It offers fair-trade products, sells such items to those with their own businesses, and even posts a few recipes using fair-trade ingredients!

The Hunger Site’s original intent was to use to power of the Internet to eradicate world hunger, and has certainly made bounds to accomplish that goal (Hunger Site shoppers have paid for 657 million cups of food!). However, it also champions an impressive variety of fair trade products, from jewelry and apparel to home d├ęcor and body products. Did we mention that ALL of its profits go to feeding hungry people? Its popularity has won it numerous awards in web activism, including the 2000 Cool Site of the Year Award and the People’s Choice at the 2000 Webby Awards. Take a look-see at the cute recycled bags!

All of these links are featured in the helpful links section for your convienance.


Hello, and welcome to your one-stop destination for sweat-free shopping. In basic terms, sweat-free shopping is purchasing items from companies that comply with moral labor standards. This blog will (happily!) guide you in your quest to shop responsibly.

Workers in sweatshops are characteristically overworked, underpaid, and unable to unionize. By purchasing items produced in sweatshops, you are enabling companies to continue their immoral practices. Remember...your dollar has a voice!

This is a brand new blog and is constantly under construction. We are eager to hear any feedback or suggestions you might have towards the improvement of this site.

Happy Shopping!
Tasha and Lindsey.