Local and Fair Trade Combine in These Chicago Products
For those that want to support both fair trade and local organizations, two Chicago social enterprises are proving that we can look good, feel good and do good at the same time.
Bright Endeavors (BrightEndeavors.org), a social enterprise of New Moms, Inc. (NewMomsInc.org), aims to help adolescent parents of ages 17 to 24 transition to economic stability through its on-the-job training program. The young women are actively involved in the manufacturing and marketing of the Bright Endeavors line of eco-friendly home and bath products.
“People are drawn to our Bright Endeavors products because they are natural and eco-friendly, and they often make their purchasing decision because of our social mission,” says Dana Emanuel, manager of social enterprise operations for Bright Endeavors.
As part of their training, the women are taught about fair trade and how Bright Endeavors meets fair trade principles. All of the raw ingredients and containers are sourced as locally as possible. Wax for the candles comes from an Illinois company that uses non-genetically modified soybeans grown across the Midwest; recycled glass wine, soda and beer jars used as candle vessels come from Wisconsin and the phthalate-free scents and fragrances arrive from Indiana. More recently, Bright Endeavors has begun sourcing fair trade Himalayan pink salt for its bath salt line from Skokie-based Solay Wellness.
On the other side of the city in the North Lawndale community, the buzzing sound of bees can be heard as they create the honey used in the Sweet Beginnings (SweetBeginningsLlc.com) line of beelove products, an all-natural line of raw honey and honey-infused body care products.
The nonprofit organization not only creates an extensive line of body care products, it also provides transitional job opportunities. Formerly incarcerated individuals and others with significant barriers to employment are involved in production and sales efforts, including caring for the bees and hives, harvesting honey, making beelove products, tracking inventory, filling product orders and selling at special events.
Bright Endeavors and beelove products can be found at local, independent retailers and Whole Foods Markets.