Friday I had the day off work. It was needed after conference night. That's always a long night. I had decided earlier in the week that lil man would be dropped off at the sitter around 10 or so and I'd pick him up at 3. I needed some mommy time. Can anyone relate?
A friend had found a great infinity scarf/cowl at GAP on clearance. I wanted to pick one up and the closest GAP was in Hudson along Main Street at the infamous (in our area) First and Main shopping center.
I love this area and drive by every morning and evening on my commute. I've always wanted to stop in, but the joy of getting to my lil man after work prevents me from doing so. This was my opportunity to stop in and walk along the sidewalk to peer in all the wonderful quaint shops who's displays I stare at longingly daily. Especially the Grey Colt, which I could never afford, but who doesn't like to pretend.
I headed up and hit GAP first. I knew what I wanted and didn't plan on an extensive stay there. As I was ambulating toward GAP, I saw a truly adorable quirky store display. I couldn't tell you then what the store's name was- simply that I loved some of what I saw. Refocusing on my purpose (the scarf), I scuttled over to GAP grabbed up my goods and headed to search for that quaint place again.
I must admit that I was a little intimidated about going in. Something about small shops that makes me feel like I must purchase something. I know I don't have to but I just feel that way at times- especially when you walk in to see the beautiful things I saw. All handmade. All glorious. Then this fantastic woman appears to greet me. She is radiant and sweet. She was so eager to share with me what her store was about. This store: Janet Rhodes, is a fair trade store. How cool!
Don't know about fair trade stores? Essentially, they sell goods made by people in a variety of countries. All items in the stores are "created and sold through a trading system that is fair and equitable for all- the producer, the vendor, the store owner and the consumer." Fair trade helps ensure that there is a fair wage for the designer/creator, safe working conditions, no child workers (all workers are a proper age for work), and the products are eco-friendly.
I spent about 45 minutes in here just looking around and hearing the stories behind some of the pieces. Yes, the pieces have stories! Who doesn't love a good story? Obviously, most of you know that I love reading and I love stories, so imagine how much time I would spend in here just asking to hear about something I found interesting. Yep, that was my Friday!
I went to the back of the store where all these little origami cranes were hanging from the ceiling (cool, huh?). It was truly beautiful as all were colored differently and with different patterns. I asked what was going on back there. Janet informed me of the great opportunities for children to come to her shop on certain days of the month to learn about a culture, find it on the map, and then make something from there or color something from that culture. Could this be any better???
Janet is one of the nicest, cheeriest people I've met. Definitely a kindred spirit. She had products from Guatemala, Uganda, South Africa, etc. There were also local artists. Oh, how I loved hearing about the little boy (11 years old) whose family is struggling with medical bills. He told his mom he was going to start his own business. He is now selling truly unique bracelets in Janet's shop and doing well! Another woman is selling adorable button jewelry and feels she doesn't have much talent. If you saw what she's making, you'd think otherwise. The stories are amazing. The store is amazing. Janet is amazing.
Because of time, I forced myself to leave Janet's store. I walked away with a cute bracelet made in Guatemala (a favorite culture of mine is the Mayan/Latin American culture). More than that, I walked out feeling good about my small purchase, my time spent, and this treasure of a store. I will visit again. I actually want to go back NOW. It was a great use of my time in my opinion. I just loved this place and had to share with you.
I am in no way being compensated for this write up. I simply told Janet I loved her shop so much I had to share with people. She was excited. For a glimpse of Janet's store online (in person is better, but if you can't make it and want to support this great cause), visit: http://www.janetrhodesonline.com. You'll be glad you took the time.