i'm proud of you.

Two things I am thankful for on a daily basis are my two biggest fans: my dad and my husband. My dad is my fiercest champion, and when I think of him I think of all the times growing up he took the time to look me in the eyes and say, “I’m proud of you. You can do anything you want to; do you know that?” My husband sometimes looks at me like I’m crazy, but I like to think it’s the cute kind of crazy, and he is always right there cheering me on.

Here’s the thing, though: thousands upon thousands of women don’t have those personal champions, and some are barely scraping by. The most heartbreaking thing I have ever witnessed was a mom dropping her beloved child at an orphanage, unable to stand by and see her child suffering from hunger and illness because of their poverty. The hopelessness on this woman’s face is as clear in my mind as if it happened yesterday. She had no way to support herself, no money, no sort of social system to help her climb out of a life of hardship.

The unique struggles of women in poverty are overwhelming, but their beauty and strength is inspiring.

This is why I was so attracted to Fair Trade Friday when I first heard about it. This monthly box club highlights companies that are employing women around the world. These companies become champions for these women, investing in their mind and spirit. The women begin earning money by making beautiful goods that vary from earrings and necklaces to bags to coffee to soap.

Not only is all of this stuff gorgeous, but it is all high quality, too. There are several ways to buy: a monthly club with a variety of good each month (it’s waitlisted now, so you can still sign up to be notified when it’s open), an Earring of the Month Club (open and a super affordable option!), a single box, or even individual products. By buying these things, you are supporting each artisan as she learns and grows and supports her family.

Here’s the thing: you are going to buy jewelry, and gifts for friends, and coffee, and I truly believe every dollar you spend says something. It can say, “I was running late,” or “I spent too much,” or, “I got a great deal,” or “I couldn’t resist.” And those things are fine, they really are.  But here’s what I want some of mine to say: “You are so strong and inspiring. I am proud of you. You can do anything you want to.”

Sign up for Fair Trade Friday club here.

Buy individual products here.

Check out the organization behind FTF Club, Mercy House Kenya.