Ethical Fashion ft. Sudara

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Back in September I introduced Sudara to you and I’m excited to bring them back to you today in honor of January, National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month! Today (January 11th) is actually #WearBlueDay for National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. To bring further awareness, I interviewed Shannon Keith, the CEO and founder of Sudara! Read below to learn more about her company and what you can do to help!

Elliot wants to know if her blue eyes count as wearing blue!

  1. What's your biggest tip for others who want to help those who have been sex trafficked/ those who are at risk?

    Educate yourself about human trafficking and sex trafficking issues nationally and globally. Then you can be more knowledgeable and can speak to others about the issues from an informed position.

    Support social good companies -- especially those that are focused on employing women -- by buying their goods and services. At Sudara, we’ve seen the ripple effect of employing at-risk women in India: they are less likely to be forced by family members or feel pressure to join the sex trade, their children are able to attend school (which also reduces the child’s risk of being trafficked), they have greater self-confidence and they report that their family respects them and their opinion more.

    If we expand to think about how to help those who are at risk of human trafficking for forced labor -- we need to think more about the supply chain of the products we purchase.  We need to think about who is making the products we want or buy on a regular basis. We need to consistently ask ourselves if we know (or care!) about how a product was made. And, then we need to demand that retailers or businesses we patronize have a transparent supply chain; demand that they treat their people and our planet well.

  2. What's your favorite piece of Sudara apparel?

    It’s hard to pick a favorite! The ones I wear most often, though, are the Dhana-print pants. I’ve worn them while giving presentations, to get coffee with friends, and to work! I usually pair them with a black sweater in the winter and a denim jacket in the spring and fall.

  3. What has been your favorite part/memory of growing Sudara as a company? What has been your most proud moment?

    When we get to buy more sewing machines for one of our partner sewing centers and empower even more women through living-wage jobs. When we are able to open up a new home for women in India who are seeking safe housing and an escape from sex-slavery.  There are so many things I’m proud of — locking arms with other female team members at Sudara and the women we partner with in India, bringing the female perspective on business and work life to business discussions.  Personally, though, the single best thing is that I have the privilege to model to my two daughters and son that women make fantastic leaders and we can and will have a greater voice within the business and entrepreneurial world in the future.

  4. Anything new/fun coming down the Sudara pipeline?

    We are always working on and dreaming about new products and prints, but I’m excited about our Spring/Summer 2019 launch in March.  We have a few new prints and we are bringing back a vintage print that was so popular that, years later, we still get asked if it’s in stock!

  5. Anything else you want to say?

    I appreciate the opportunity to chat and to have you and your readers support National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month!  As this is the start of the New Year and a lot of people are thinking about how they can make a difference, I’ll just say that the world needs you all! Your unique talents, passions and perspectives are exactly what will change the world.  Even if you are not in a place personally or professionally that you’d like to be right now, nothing in our life needs to be wasted time; all of our experiences can somehow and in some way be used for the greater good, if we allow it.

Shannon Keith is the founder and CEO of Sudara, a thriving B corp and apparel brand.  Sudara's mission is rooted in job creation for women in India who are at a high risk or survivors of sex trafficking. More than a give-back model, Sudara enables women to have freedom-filled choices for themselves and for their families. Shannon is a 2016 Bend Venture Conference Social Impact Winner, TedX Speaker and was selected as a Top 25 SheEO World Venture Finalist. She was the recipient of the 2017 Bend Chamber of Commerce Female Entrepreneur of the Year award and has been featured in The Good Trade, Conscious Magazine, Real Simple, and Forbes.

Another thing you can do is support #RedLightWednesday. Every Wednesday in January (or extend to the whole year if you want!), whenever you see a red light or a stop sign, take a moment to stop and pray for those who are enslaved in red light districts and reflect on what you can do to change this. If you’d like, even take to social media and post a photo of you and stop sign or stop light to spread the message as well. I hope this inspires you and you’ve walked away from the post with a little more knowledge and hope for the future. XOXO

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