Today I am so excited to share my interview and collaboration with Fair Anita for the next installment in my Creators series. Fair Anita is a group of women empowering women by investing in their talents and giving them a chance to create a fresh start. Fair Anita works with over 8,000 women around the world to create beautiful ethically made goods at affordable prices. Their collections range from jewelry, I’m wearing their Travellers Tassel Necklace in these photos, to clothing and home goods. Each collection reflects the culture of its country while still remaining trendy and fresh.
HOW DO YOU FIND THE ARTISTS YOU WORK WITH?
I started Fair Anita in large part due to my own history of sexual violence. I wanted to better understand what violence against women looks like around the world so that we could come up with a creative solution. After meeting with women from nearly every continent, a clear theme arose: a need for economic opportunity to free oneself from abusive relationships and create a better life. I spent years traveling and meeting with women with histories of sexual or domestic violence, and many of those women are our artisan partners today. We’ve also met with women’s rights organizations, artisan cooperatives, and now fair trade certified groups. While I used to specifically seek out with women with histories of violence, the sad truth is that when we’re working with women living in poverty from the lowest castes around the world, the large majority of these women are experiencing violence. Now, we seek out women-focused groups that have established skills making jewelry or accessories. By working with groups we see potential in, we can hone in on their skill sets, help with some of the design and create products that our customers here in the U.S. love.
WHAT IS ONE OF YOUR MAIN GOALS FOR FAIR ANITA?
We have two main goals:
1. Helping to create a world where all women feel safe, valued, and respected, no matter their geography. We do this through providing economic opportunity to women around the world, as well as through advocacy and local events.
2. We seek to change consumer habits, proving that you can purchase trendy, affordable options that are also ethically-sourced. We create great products and empower women around the world rather than exploit them.
OF ALL OF YOUR MILESTONES WHICH ONE ARE YOU THE MOST PROUD OF?
I am most proud of the community we have built. About 3 years ago, this was just an idea in my head that I cared about, but I honestly wasn’t sure that anyone else would feel the same passion. Now, we have customers across the country that have proven they care about ethically-sourced products, and having this incredible community of supporters (most of which I’ve never met), is truly phenomenal. An integral part of this community is also our super talented artisans, who we’ve grown very close to and we feel very comfortable working with to create new, fun designs. The other critical piece has been the ability to hire team members to help push our mission forward. Because of these people, Fair Anita is able to impact the lives of women around the world, and it has been so humbling to watch this community grow.
IF YOU HAD TO DESCRIBE FAIR ANITA IN THREE WORDS WHAT WOULD THEY BE?
Amazing, feminist, community
I LOVE HOW YOUR COMPANY IS ALL ABOUT EMPOWERING AND SUPPORTING WOMEN. WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR YOUNG WOMEN WHO MIGHT BE ENTERING THE JOB MARKET OR STARTING THEIR OWN BUSINESS?
My #1 piece of advice for young women is always “DO IT.” It’s terrifying, odds are set up against you, and you’re certainly creating your own path, but what you learn from the experience is so, so worth it. For me, I’ve also found the most satisfaction when I follow my instinct, my passion, and my gut. I graduated from business school as one of the few in my class who didn’t go on to work at a Fortune 500 company, and everyone thought I was crazy. They were making ridiculous salaries right out of college, and it was an easy game to get caught up in. While everyone was pressuring me to snag one of these sought-after positions, they just didn’t appeal to me. My heart was with working with women, especially creating opportunities for marginalized women and girls. It was a risk and a tremendous pay cut, but ultimately, it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Every day, I’m so lucky to wake up to work on things I truly care about and that I can’t wait to get started on. While I’m not suggesting the entrepreneur lifestyle is for everyone, I definitely recommend to stay true to your passions and instincts. There are so many people out there telling women what they should or shouldn’t do, and it’s easy to let those voices overtake your own. Stay true to who you are—even if there are sacrifices, overall, you’ll be better off for it.
I’M SURE WORKING WITH WOMEN FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD IS A WONDERFUL AND VERY EYE OPENING EXPERIENCE. WHAT IS ONE THING YOU’VE LEARNED FROM THESE EXPERIENCES?
Women are the most powerful force in the world. They care, they work hard, and they know how to get things done. The world would be a better place with more women in positions of leadership. Ladies—be one of those leaders! We’ve got your back 🙂
outfit: elizabeth suzann wool trench coat (from sample sale, similar cotton version) / jamie + the jones t sweater (size: small) / elizabeth suzann florence pants in linen (size: small, regular) / no6 clogs (found secondhand similar here) / fair anita travellers tassel necklace / round market bag
Thank you again to Fair Anita for partnering on this post! Your story and what you do is truly inspiring and needed in this world.