Monday, November 29, 2010

Shopping Blue Caravan

Blue Caravan is a great Australian website that features ethically made and sourced products from around the world. I thought It would be nice to feature some great products I have discovered on this site. These are some of the things on my Christmas list this year:

For Jasper - Organic Hemp Baby Boots

These baby boots by Bobka Baby are made in organic hemp linen and lined in hemp linen. They are hand embroidered in a rust allover grid pattern and there are natural shell buttons that hide the snap closure underneath. The soles are padded and the size 4 and 5 are non slip.

 For my Husband - Sea Machine T-Shirt

Every year I buy my Husband a T-shirt, it has become a tradition and each year I search the shops for the perfect T. This year with a lot less time and a baby in tow I am happy I have found this great T-shirt online by  STOC

For me - Spring Necklace - Earthtribe 

I love this necklace, I think it would look great with a simple black dress. I wear a lot of black so I always try to buy colourful accessories.

Once a Year Book - Laikonik

Okay I know this is two presents but I have to have one of these Once a Year books by Laikonik.
Insert just one photo per year (for 18 years) and add a brief description of that year on the corresponding page. Also included is a 'Chatter Book' which is a small notebook for keeping a record of the childs first words and funny sayings.
This is such a great way of capturing the changes in your children as they grow up.

Monday, November 22, 2010

More from Sri Lanka

While scouring Sri Lanka for amazing children's products I also stumbled upon these beautiful batik clothes for women and I just had to fill my suitcase with them. Each piece is handpainted in wax. The kaftans and skirts are silk and the swimwear is cotton/spandex.

I am selling these on Blue Caravan which is a great site for all things ethically made and produced. I hope you love this range let me know what you think.

Arani x

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010

Just back from Sri Lanka

We have just arrived back from a great 10 day holiday in Sri Lanka. A lot of people thought we were crazy for going on a holiday overseas with a 9 month old, but he loved it. New sights, smells and sounds kept him occupied and we got to relax a little.

I also had a chance to do some shopping while in SL and I am excited to introduce some new clothes to our store. As always it was important for us to buy ethically made clothing and I am happy to have found two projects that support Sri Lankan women who create amazing handmade clothing.

The first is a HSBC funded program that supports women who lost their husbands in the tsunami. The women are now the sole providers for their families and use their talent and handwork to support themselves and their children. Each of the garments is handmade including the bobbin lace which I was in awe of. Lacemaking was first introduced into Sri Lanka by the Portuguese in the 16th century and is now widely practiced.

The second project is a Government run project that promotes village industry. I found these amazing batik dresses which have been painted and dyed by hand. 

Batik has been practiced in Sri Lanka for years and their are many skilled artisans. All of these items will be available online within the next couple of weeks and will be available at Hide and Seek this weekend.
We would love to hear your feedback on these items so let us know what you think.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Where Our Donations Go

One of the recipients of an En Via loan

By purchasing a product from our Mamacita range you are contributing to the fight against poverty in Mexico. For every item you purchase we donate 10% of our profits to En Via, an organisation that provides interest-free micro loans to help women start or expand their small businesses. They are also working on a broad range of other programs – from education to financial literacy to environmental support.

En Vía was born out of a need to solve two basic problems people living in poverty face in Oaxaca: the interest rates on credit and the challenge of getting tourist money to the people who need it most.

En Via runs tours from the city of Oaxaca out to Teotitán del Valle, a small town close to the city where they are currently running their programs. 100% of all donations and tour fees are given to their borrowers as an interest-free loan. Once the loan is paid back, it will is used to support the rest of their work in the community.

The main church in Teotitlán.

I recently had the pleasure to go on one of their tours and I would highly recommend it to anyone heading to Mexico. The pictures are from the tour and hopefully gives you a glimpse into the area they work. Below is a story sent to me about one of their new borrowers from this summer - a woman named Minerva Sanchez Sosa who just received her second loan. I hope this gives you an insight into the good work they are doing.

One of the women in the village working on a traditional weaving machine.

Minerva's Project
Minerva is a single mother, raising her 3-year old daughter. She is from Teotitlán, but lived for a few years in Sonora – the place they call the Cradle of Flour Tortillas. In Oaxaca, all of the hand-made tortillas are corn tortillas. While she was there, she fell in love with the flour tortillas, and asked a tortilla-maker to teach her so that she could make them for her family when she got back home. The tortillera agreed to teach her, but only on the condition that she open a business in Oaxaca to sell them so that she could support herself and her daughter.

Minerva agreed, and came back to Oaxaca with the idea of starting this business. She started with just one kilo of flour, making a batch of tortillas and giving free samples to her family and neighbors, then taking their orders for more.

Her First Loan
Minerva found out about En Via's loan program through a friend, and applied for her first loan this summer. She formed a borrower group with her mother, Miroslava, and friend, Maria. Miroslava uses her loans to buy wool for the beautiful rugs she weaves, and Maria uses hers to buy more of the pottery she sells to supplement the small income she makes as a curandera - a healer - in the town.  

With her first loan, Minerva was able to really launch her tortilla business, using the 1300 pesos to buy flour and other raw materials. Now she makes 2 kilos every day (about 80 tortillas), and sells them to family and neighbors from her home, in the Teotitlán market every morning, and to a handful of small restaurants.

Her Vision
Minerva has a great opportunity right now – she is able to sell all of the tortillas she can make, and knows that there is an even bigger market to which she could be selling far more. Many Oaxacans who have been to Northern Mexico or to the US loved the flour tortillas there and are very happy to be able to buy them in Teotitlán and those who hadn't tried flour tortillas before love them once they try Minerva's.

What she needs to take advantage of this is just the cash to invest in her business, to buy the raw materials to make as many tortillas as she can sell. Minerva has a vision that in the future, she will start a small cooperative to make more tortillas, specifically to help other single mothers and poor women in Teotitlán. She knows that by sharing the work, and selling to everyone who wants to buy them, she can help not only her own family, but many other families in the community.

Her Second Loan
With her second loan, which she received three days ago, Minerva is taking another step towards this vision. She will use this loan to buy more raw materials, a parilla (a small stove) and a bigger comal (the clay dish used to cook tortillas). With these, she will be able to make up to 8 kilos of tortillas each day – including the bigger tortillas that she will sell to a burrito maker. 

Hopefully this gives you more information about the projects we are supporting from the sales of the Mamacita range. If you would like any further information about En Via you can visit their website or their recently created facebook page.

Monday, November 1, 2010

We have winner!

Congratulations to Lisa Roberts from Bendigo who has one three dresses from the Mamacita summer collection.