A few years later I moved to Florida, and then back to Hawaii where I began working in archaeology. After an accident at work I was left with no job, not much food, barely a place to live, a dog, and a car that my workers compensation just couldn’t pay for. I felt stuck, which was not okay with me. I wasn’t entirely sure how I was going to make a difference just that I wanted to, and I realized I also had to support my daughter, so I took a business class.
The vision I had for my project was something I couldn’t let go of. I imagined selling artwork from various countries and then paying the artists for their work. After some more digging I learned my dream had a name: fair trade! I dove into the market headfirst, but I had another goal in mind – environmental sustainability.
Creating jobs for indigenous people is also part of what motivates me, so I decided to take both ideas and combine them. As a result, Rootzy Fair Trade was born. We recruit villages around the world to clean out landfills, one piece of trash at a time. The artisans then use the items collected to make various artwork, which includes fashion, such as purses and clothing, as well as aesthetic pieces. Our products are unique, and handmade by people that used to depend on charity, and suffered poor working conditions. All of our pieces come with information about the artist, which makes each product more personal. Because of fair trade values we are able to pay fair wages and to establish good working conditions, for the people in these villages, while we also do our part to clean up the environment.