It is with full hearts and big dreams that we welcome in the start of 2020… not just a new year, but a new decade! It is crazy for us to think that it was at the start of the last decade that we started on the journey that has led to The Intersection: Fair Trade and all that it is today. Here’s a quick re-cap of our last decade:
2010- Trip to Africa where we started to dream about selling on behalf of those in need
2011- Exploration of Fair Trade and continued dreaming for business
2012- The Intersection: Fair Trade is officially registered as a business
2013-2017- Attended hundreds of fairs, festivals, and markets to tell stories and sell products
2017-2018- Moved to Albania to start a working cooperative for women and explore anti-trafficking
November 2018- Open our physical store- The Intersection: Fair Trade
2019- Operation of the store, as well as two trips to India and Nepal to connect to anti-trafficking groups
2020- Still to be written!
We are so grateful to everyone who has walked with us through the last 10 years as the dream for our business and our heart for the world has grown. We have met so many people who have inspired us, who have dreamed with us, and who have challenged us to think fair and ethically at every turn.
2019 was an incredible year for us as the store really came to life and we were able to meet and interact with so many wonderful people. We are thankful to each and every one of you who have come into the store, who have talked with us, who have encouraged us, and who have used your hard earned dollars to help us try and fight for good.
It is such a blessing to us to be able to use our store as a place of education, as a meeting place, and as a place to start conversations about issues that matter in our world. We hope that the addition of coffee in 2020 will continue that process. We’re thankful to those who have used our space this year for classes and training and awareness nights. We’re also looking forward to more opportunities like that in 2020.
Most of all, we are so thankful for our partners overseas. We are thankful for all those who have given up their lives and comforts to rescue the trafficked, to employ the poor, and to restore dignity to those who have been trampled and exploited. They are our inspiration, the reason we keep going, and the sole reason why The Intersection: Fair Trade exists.
So as this year and decade come to a close we are bursting with thankfulness and anticipation of what is to come. By 2030 we hope and pray the world will be a safer, freer, and fairer place for everyone.
Blessings to you and yours,
Dane and Meghann
Owners of The Intersection
Back at the beginning, The Intersection was our dream, our vision, our tiny way of using what we had to impact the world. We hoped that one day we could have a store, we hoped that we could have products from all over the world, and we hoped that what we were doing wasn't full on bananas. What we didn't ever think about was that one day people would want to join us. That people would want to be a part of our crazy dream, or participate with us in the things that were on our hearts. We hoped people would see the value in the products and buy them. But as we've grown we've discovered many people want more. They want to be involved in writing the story with us.
We are blessed. Blessed to have great friends and family and people around us who encourage us and help us and believe in us, and even tweet, tag, and share about us. For all those who have participated in the journey with us... thank you so much! For everyone who has visited us at our store or at an event and purchased goods from us... thank you so much for being a part of offering hope to those who need it in the world! For those who have modelled for us, taken photos for us, sat at bad events for us, and lent us things... thanks heaps! For those who have flown across seas to participate with us... you're the best! We have truly been blessed on the journey.
That being said, we are still constantly being asked how people can help or get more involved. Well, one great way is through partying, and who isn't into that? We have chosen through The Intersection to participate in aid and anti-trafficking through business and through buying goods from those producers who need financial support to see their way of life improved. The more that is sold, the more the producers benefit, and the more groups we can buy from. So one great way that our friends can get involved is through hosting a party, either in their homes or in our store. This means that the host invites their friends to come over, and they host them. Then either the host or staff from The Intersection share with the guests about some of the products and stories of the products and the people who benefit from the sale of the products. Then the guests have a chance to shop for those products. The host gets to hang out with their mates and have a good time, and gets to participate in the stories of hope at the same time. Everyone wins!
Here are a few other non-selling or buying ways to help us:
So for all who have helped us or who have asked how they can help us or have thought about asking how they can help us, thank you. We couldn't do it without you! We believe that together we'll make a difference!
When we started The Intersection we were wide eyed dreamers. We had travelled the world and met a lot of people and our hearts burned to do something... anything to help those we had met. We weren't trained in business or savvy about taxes or payroll or incorporation. We knew people. And we knew there were a lot of people who were making great products that they needed to find a market for. It started with paper bead jewellery in a backpack and an idea in our minds.
We have learned a lot over the 8 years that The Intersection has been in
existence. About business, about fair trade, about stories and their power
to connect people on opposite sides of the globe. What we've also learned
a lot about is human trafficking and forced labour and modern day slavery
and the way it is affecting our world.
When we started researching fair trade expressions and goods available one of the first groups we found out about was a group called Freeset. They are based in Calcutta, India, and they are involved with the rescue, rehabilitation, and work training of women who are part of the sex industry there. Their products were beautiful, but we were more caught up in their story. Women from all over India and even Nepal are sold and bought in order to be forced to "work" in one of the largest red light districts in the world. At that point we knew two things. First, we needed to buy from this group and others like it to support the work that they were doing. Second, we needed to be informed about human trafficking so that we could do all we could to be a part of getting rid of it.
We are far from being experts on the matter, but we have spent a lot of time trying to learn, to discover, to connect with anti-trafficking groups, to participate where we can, and to fill our store with as many "survivor-made" products as we can. As we've gone about this we've realized that lots of people around us are hungry for information, and to find out ways that they can be involved in stopping the sale of humans in our world. So we want to make a commitment to anyone who reads this that through our blog, our website, our social media, and our store we will do everything we can to be a source of information, a champion of groups doing great work, and a place to buy products that directly affect those groups and their ability to free slaves. We want to do all that we can to be a part of the solution. And we believe that if you will join us and will tell someone else as well... maybe we can see the tides shift on this awful practice.
This is a bag made by the ladies at Freeset that carries the message "Act Justly." We believe joining the fight against trafficking is an act of standing for justice in our world.