Fair Fashion: Noonday Collection

Wingspan Scarf

There isn't much sweeter than spotlighting both an organization and a person that you love and call a friend! Today I'm tickled to chat with my friend Kristine, an Ambassador for Noonday Collection! Kristine and I met more than a 15 years ago when Phil and I were living in Massachusetts. She truly has a heart for people, and her love for others and passion for Noonday will inspire you to get involved! Kristine graciously gifted me this gorgeous scarf from Noonday's Fall Collection, which I've styled in this post! Noonday, founded by Jessica Honegger in 2010, began as a jewelry business that connected Ugandan artisans to a U.S. market, which in-turn created stable, dignified jobs for workers. Today, Noonday partners with 29 Artisan Businesses in 12 countries, impacting 4,400 Artisans and 20,000 family members.

If that wasn't enough, the stories Kristine tells in our chat will inspire you even more! Here's our talk:

Can you tell us a little about Noonday and the mission? 

Noonday partners with artisan groups in vulnerable places around the world, empowering them to grow their businesses, earn income and change their families and their communities. Noonday works with the artisans to design jewelry and accessories using locally sourced materials. We purchase these handmade items and bring them to the United States to create a marketplace to sell the jewelry and accessories made by the artisans. Women all over the country partner with their local Noonday ambassador to host trunk shows, bringing that marketplace to their friends and sharing the message of Noonday and the artisans. Every purchase makes an impact and helps us to build that flourishing world! 

Wingspan Doorway

Why did you become an ambassador and why are you passionate about Noonday's mission? 

I bought a pair of Feathered Fringe earrings from a Noonday ambassador friend of mine in 2015 to support a goal she was trying to meet. When the earrings showed up, not only did I love them but the tag on them told a story of the artisan group who created them and the difference I made by making this purchase. I made a difference in someone's life by buying earrings! I immediately fell in love with Noonday's mission and never looked back.

Recently, we learned that every Noonday ambassador provides dignified, empowering, fair wage jobs for 3 artisans. It is absolutely humbling to know that the work I do with Noonday provides jobs for people in another country. Creating a marketplace here creates jobs and income for people there. And that work changes people's stories. Its so beautiful to hear the difference made by this work. I am so grateful to be a small part of Noonday's big mission. 

This work has empowered me, has given me a confidence I never had before and has given me a great passion in this work. 

What are some of the ways that Noonday is empowering others and restoring lives?

There are so many ways! One of the beautiful things about the impact of Noonday that I need to mention is that it not only includes the artisans making the goods and the ambassadors like me who are selling these goods. It's the customers who choose to shop Noonday who make an incredible impact with every purchase. The impact of Noonday couldn't happen without each of those groups and when we work together, the impact grows! 

Here are some quick stats:

- We have 4,431 artisans around the world. 

- Our artisan partner in Ethiopia works with women who have been rescued out of sex trafficking. 

- Noonday is big on adoption! You can host an adoption trunk show and Noonday will donate 10% of the trunk show's sales to an adopting family! We've supported 3,500 adopting families with $550,000 in donations! 

- There are 1, 700 Noonday ambassadors like me! The work we do not only changes the lives of our artisans, it allows us the opportunity to own and run our own businesses, to earn an income! 

Wingspan Stairs

What does Fair Trade and ethical fashion mean to you and how does Noonday support this business practice? 

The concept of fair trade has become so real to me because I have seen the impact it has on people's lives. Fair trade means that the person who made the product gets paid a fair wage for the work they did and this has the power to change their lives. Knowing what I do about fair trade and ethical fashion has changed the way I spend my money. I love the quote by Anne Lappe that says "Every time you spend money, you are casting a vote for the kind of world you want". It's so true! And because I want to live in a world where people are paid fairly, I've changed a lot about the way I shop, especially when it comes to clothing. My favorite fair trade companies are the Flourish Market and The Mustard Seed Marketplace--both carry fair trade products from so many different groups. 

Noonday is passionate about fair trade! Fair trade is the foundation of our partnerships with the artisans. We work with the artisans to design jewelry and accessories. We also work with them to set prices for these pieces that will allow them to earn an and then we pay them that price. So that means when we mark an item down on our website, it does not affect the artisans at all because they've already been paid for that piece! It also means that when we sell out of an item fast (and it happens often), we get to place a new order with the artisans, providing more work for them! 

This year, Noonday became a certified B-corporation. "B Corporations (aka “B Corps”) are for-profit companies certified by the nonprofit B Lab as meeting rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. 

Do you have a brief story of someone who has been impacted by Noonday? 

Back in June, we did a month long focus on our artisans in Haiti called Impact Haiti Giveback. This impact was two fold:

There is a mother daughter duo, Carmelle (one of our artisans) & Ismaela who had some HARD things happen in their lives. Carmelle wanted a better life for her daughter and worked for many years as a nanny to save up enough to send her daughter to school. She got connected with a group that promised to get her daughter connected at a school in Mexico but it turned out to be a scam and she lost everything. She had purchased land for a home, but after the earthquake in 2010, she lost that land to gangsters who took it over. Carmelle and Ismaela have been through a lot and we wanted to come alongside them to help build them a safe home on land that Carmelle had recently purchased. 

There's a woman named Michel-Ange, who has been working with us since the beginning of the partnership. She had a desire to go home to her village and start a workshop of her own, to employ others in her community and to help change their lives the way hers had been changed. As she got started, she brought 9 ladies onto her team and had dreams of growing her business and bringing in many others. We wanted to help her get a good sized workshop where her business and her team could grow. 

For the month of June, we focused our efforts on Haiti and for every trunk show with sales that reached $1,000, Noonday gave $50 towards these goals. In the end, we raised $16,000 and were able to build both the home for Carmelle & Ismaela and the workshop for Michal-Ange! This was something that ambassadors and customers partnered together to accomplish and its so beautiful to see! For me, I had two trunk shows that month and I really wanted to be apart of this give-back. Both hostesses were excited and fired up to help meet this goal. I'll never forget it because on the day before I needed to close out one show, we were over $300 short of our goal. Between me and the hostess, we messaged the guests, contacted friends and shared this story and I cried every time I got a new email notifying me that another order had been placed. We surpassed the $1000 mark and the excitement I felt from all who were apart of it was contagious. We truly are better together! 

Wingspan Bench

What are a few of your favorite pieces from this year's Fall collection?

- The Soar necklace is my favorite piece from the fall line! It is a necklace created by our artisans in Vietnam. The pendant is made from mother of pearl and it is beautiful! I can't stop wearing it. 

- The Wingspan scarf is made in India and is the perfect blend of vibrant colors, beautiful design & soft material. I am a big fan of scarves and this one is super versatile to wear! (Pictured in this post!!)

Noonday tip: If you go to instagram and type in # and then the name of a Noonday item (example #wingspanscarf), it'll pull up photos of ambassadors and customers wearing that item. That's where I get all my style ideas! 

- Noonday has turned me into a fan of earrings (the bigger, the better!). This season, my favorites are the Nova earrings made in Guatemala! Red, beaded, GORGEOUS. I am planning my Christmas Eve outfit around these earrings :)  

What are some ways that others can get involved in making a positive impact through fair trade fashion? (Hint: See Kristine below hosting a trunk show!)

- Host a trunk show! Connect with a local Noonday ambassador, invite your friends over, hear stories about the artisans, check out the gorgeous accessories and change the world--it's that easy. BONUS: If you host, you earn hostess rewards so you can get hostess specials, free product credit and 50% off items! 

Side note: If you don't know a Noonday ambassador, you can go to http://www.noondaycollection.com/host/, fill out the contact form and a local ambassador will follow up with you. 

Kristine Trunk Show

- Shop Noonday when you need to buy a gift (moms, teachers, friends, Christmas, Mother's Day, etc.),  looking for some retail therapy, or in need of statement earrings to add to your little black dress. Every purchase matters! 

- Become an ambassador! Not only is the work that we do beautiful and empowering, the community of Noonday sisters is unlike any I've ever encountered. I'd love to share more with you about this oppportunity! 

**All styled images in this post are by the talented Nicole Mickle Photography -- check out her work here! My shirt in these photos is by Elegantees -- you can get 15% your purchase on their site with our code ELLEANORANDINDIGO.**