Wardrobe Update

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Last year, I shared two posts about my wardrobe. Click to read part 1 and part 2. Over the past year, I haven’t done a lot of shopping but the things I have bought, I love. Here they are:

Coral dress prAna is one of my favourite brands for everyday and workout wear – they offer certified fair trade clothing, organic cotton, recycled wool and polyester, earth-friendly clothing dyes, and more. And, their clothes are really cute and comfortable. I bought this dress at Mountain Equipment Coop to avoid shipping.

Black and white floral dress – This dress was purchased at Out of the Blue, in Winnipeg (they offer online shopping). I don’t know what company makes it, but I do know that it was made in the USA. It originally had cap sleeves but I brought it to a tailor to have the sleeves removed.

Black long-sleeved shirtMountain Equipment Co-op carries shirts these super comfortable shirts that are fair-trade certified. They are also $20. When I was there, short-sleeved t-shirts were on sale for $12.

Black leggings – I have wanted to own these Pact Apparel leggings for a long time, but shipping to Canada is very expensive (and the website doesn’t recognize my Canadian postal code to pay for my order). Luckily, Mountain Equipment Co-op is now carrying Pact Apparel items! Their clothing is fair trade certified and made from organic cotton.

Black shoes (top right) – Last year I shared about my Nisolo sandals and purse.  I received the two pairs in the picture above with credits that were earned when people used the link on this blog to make a purchase at Nisolo. Customers receive a 10% discount and I receive $10 off, so it is a win-win! I thought the black shoes were a bit trendy for me, but once they arrived I quickly changed my mind. They are so very comfortable, and work well in many situations – I wear them to the Children’s Museum, to work, and with dresses and jeans. The other day I wore them with sweatpants and a raincoat and someone said I looked chic. Nisolo makes their shoes in Peru and provides wages above fair trade, job training, consistent employment and a dignified working environment.

Brown sandals – I ended up wearing these sandals, also from Nisolo, far more than I thought I would. They look great with shorts, skirts or pants.

Black bootsTimberland is above average in their social and environmental responsibility. They are transparent about carbon footprints, factory initiatives, materials used, etc. These boots are an example of something I needed, but couldn’t fit into my budget to purchase top of the line in terms of environmental and social standards. This particular style is made with at least 50%  recycled materials, and the leather is from a silver-rated tannery.

And that’s it! Cheers to a simple wardrobe, full of well-loved pieces.

Welcome Back.

Hello! Thanks for checking in.  Over the 7 years that I’ve been blogging, most posts have been published in Fall. My interest in writing seems to begin with the academic year, and so for this year, I’m embracing the flow. Instead of being paralyzed by thoughts of whether or not I can sustain a long-term blog, I’m calling this what it is: a pop-up blog that will be written very regularly until Christmas.  After that, we’ll see.

This single season blog comes with a slightly different focus.  Specifically, I’ll focus on the changes we can make as busy Canadians. Instead of posting about fantastic companies that are very expensive or impossible to ship to Canada, I’ll post about how we can make more ethical choices here, sometimes just by making small changes. I’m also going to be exploring some of the intersecting movements in the fair trade/sustainable living world, including zero waste, low impact, tiny house living, and capsule wardrobes. I’m really excited, and hope you enjoy reading!

See you Monday. And for the next 11 Mondays.



Interview with Pure Anada: Part 2

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If you missed Part 1 of my interview with Candace, owner of Pure Anada cosmetics, check it out here.  I have been using their makeup for 5 or 6 years, and love everything I’ve tried.  Sherry at Generation Green at the Forks is great at picking colours and very knowledgeable (if you’re in the Morden area, you can also stop by Pure Anada’s shop), Kristen from Pure Anada posts wonderful tutorials online (link in article), and the makeup lasts a long time and looks great.  Thanks very much for sharing, Candace!

What is your favourite product in your line?

The loose mineral foundation is my favorite. I made it to suit my own skin years ago. I need a lot of coverage because I naturally have an uneven skin tone. The loose foundation allows me to layer the product so it provides full coverage without feeling heavy.

What are the benefits of mineral makeup?

The benefits of mineral makeup is that the ingredients are simple. There is less chance for irritation because there are less ingredients!

The application can be adjusted to suit your needs and desires when it comes to makeup. You can apply it lightly for less coverage, or in layers (misting our Marine Mineral Hydrating Toner between each application) to achieve full coverage.

How do you come up with ideas for new products?

New ideas and products come from customer requests or requests from our private label clients. We may not make it immediately, but every time someone requests something new, I file it away in my mind and ponder on how I can make it happen “naturally”. I research formulation ideas and then start producing samples.

Do you have any makeup advice?

If people aren’t sure about how to apply makeup properly, the first tip I would advise is to keep it simple. Less is often more! Once you get comfortable with a simple application, feel free to venture out into new, fun ideas! Youtube is a great place these days to find advice for your skin type or to replicate seasonal trends. Our on-staff makeup artist, named Kristen does a fabulous job on our youtube channel.

Some of our retailers offer personal consultations to assist people with choosing makeup best suited for their skin tone. If you are ever visiting Morden, Manitoba, you are welcome to book a consultation with Kristen in our boutique!

What advice do you have for someone looking to choose more natural makeup?

Be aware of “green washing” which has become so common in the past few years. Commercial brands attempt to appease consumers with natural-looking packaging. Many times, these brands are not much different than any others, aside from the green leafy graphics on their boxes.

Where should they start and what is important to look for?

I feel a good place to start looking for more natural makeup is at a retailer you can trust. Most independent eco-friendly retailers put a lot of care into offering products that are healthy and safe for their clients. It’s like they’ve done the research for you!

Educating yourself is also beneficial if you have the time. Two books we feel are great resources:

There is Lead in your Lipstick by Gillian Deacon

Ecoholic Body by Adria Vasil

Both books are loaded with information regarding how to choose products that are healthy and clean, including which ingredients to avoid.

A common standard of ingredients to avoid in cosmetics is called the “Dirty Dozen”. A description of these ingredients as well as a shopper’s guide can be downloaded here.

Where can we find your products?

Our products can be found in natural product retail locations across Canada. The full list is on our website.

We prefer that consumers support the retail locations that stock our product since makeup is best seen in person! However if there isn’t a location near you, we also have some online options listed on our site as well.

Interview with Pure Anada: Part 1

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Today I’m excited to share part 1 of my interview with Candace of Pure Anada.  Most of my makeup is from this Manitoba company, and I love it.  Read on for some background information on the company, and check back tomorrow for Part 2 and some fantastic makeup tips!

How did Pure Anada get started?

My first career was hairstyling. I enjoyed the creative aspect of working in a salon, as well as the relationships I built with my clients. However over the years, I developed sensitivities to some of the products and chemicals we were using on a daily basis. Eventually, I was using prescription creams on my hands, and couldn’t make it through the day without respiratory allergy medication.

That’s when I began to research some of the ingredients that were in the products I was using as a hairstylist. I was surprised to know that the cosmetic industry is not highly regulated and that many ingredients are NOT tested for their long-term safety. By using a plethora of ingredients in our personal care products, we are simply participating in a giant experiment! I was not interested in being a part of it any longer.

That was in 2003. I had two small children and decided that it was time to live a more holistic lifestyle. I changed many household and personal care items to healthier, more environmentally friendly alternatives. The last products to go were my color cosmetics. I was accustomed to using high-quality, salon brands and could not find “natural” makeup on the market that met my expectations. I have always had an insatiable desire to “make it myself”. As child, I learned to sew, bake bread, and craft just about anything and everything. Surely I could make my own makeup!? I researched the prospect and jumped in with both feet! I remember the days when I would tuck the kids into bed, and bring out my stash of ingredients. I was hooked!

I made colors for myself, friends and family. I was surprised to learn how many ladies were sensitive to traditional cosmetics. It seems as if our bodies are just saying…”enough already with the chemicals”! Even more fascinating was that the products I was creating from organic botanicals, and food-grade minerals didn’t irritate their skin at all! I started to see there was a demand for a more natural alternative to traditional cosmetics. As the years have past, consumers have become more educated and aware of what they are putting on their bodies. This is a good thing, and we are pleased to offer consumers a line of products that can make them feel fabulous, without compromising on the safety of the ingredients.

Tell us about the progression of your company since it began.

Pure Anada started out as a little hobby; something I did when my kids went to bed, and my husband watched sports highlights!

One year, I brought my excess creations to a local craft sale and it was there that I realized there was a demand for cleaner, healthier cosmetics.

Over the past 10 years, the business has slowly grown. Exposure from being mentioned as a “Best Brand” in the Canadian best-selling book, There is Lead in Your Lipstick by Gillian Deacon, helped to propel our brand to the next level it seemed.

Just from word-of-mouth advertising, our products are now in almost 300 retail locations across Canada! We appreciate Canadians who are dedicated to supporting locally made brands. Without their support, we wouldn’t be in existence to this day.

What are you most proud of?

I’m most proud of the people who work with me! Among them are family and friends. Employees with extreme talent and positive attitudes are rare to find, and I’m proud to have them on our team!

What challenges have you faced?

The biggest challenge we have faced as a manufacturer is the consistency of our ingredients. When using more natural ingredients such as minerals, opposed to dyes, and plant oils/waxes as opposed to silicones, the consistency of the products we produce can vary from batch to batch, depending on the supply of our raw materials.

What has been the most surprising thing in starting this business?

To me there have been quite a few surprises along the way. I never intended to start a business in the first place, and so to see how far reaching Pure Anada has become is surprising, and humbling to say the least.

I’m also surprised at how much work there is to do “behind the scenes”. Returning emails and phone calls is a lot more involved than I ever expected! Unfortunately I don’t get to play in the lab, or apply makeup all day as I once thought would be the case. 😉


Interview with Mama Pacha: Part 2


mama-pacha-19-300x300.jpgToday I’m pleased to share part 2 of my interview with Tara of Mama Pacha.  If you missed it, be sure to check out part 1 from yesterday.

What does a typical day look like for you?

Being a mom of two kids and also having another part time job besides mom and wife and owner of Mama Pacha, I would say that there is no “typical” day ha ha. I try to get full days in the kitchen I use to make my products whenever possible and am very efficient at getting lots done when I am there. Sometimes that means I have the kids with me, or one of them, and sometimes I am on my own. Once product is made and packaged the labeling usually happens with the help of friends or family. My son has even learned to put on the lip balm labels. Other than kitchen/production time, I spend a lot of time answering emails, answering questions on social media, researching new products and sending out the orders via Natural Cycle, my bicycle couriers to local customers.

What would you tell someone who is looking to buy more natural skincare products – what should they start with? What is most important to look for and stay away from while choosing skincare products?

I often tell people that if they are looking at making the switch to more natural skin care products, AWESOME! You are making a great choice! If you can’t the jump and switch all of your products over at once (and really, most of us can’t) I would say start with the things you use most often. Remember that everything you put on your skin is being absorbed into your body so start with what you use the most. It will most likely be lotion, deodorant, lip balm. From there, as your current products run out, replace them with locally made all natural ones.

Do you have any skincare routine advice?

My skin care advice is the less you put on your skin, the less you have to take off. Let your natural beauty shine through, use gentle cleansers, and completely eliminate petroleum from your skin care routine.

What has been the most surprising thing in starting this business?

I think that a big surprise with my business is that things have just kept falling into place. When I think I need to make a change, things just seem to fall into place to let it happen. If I need help, a friend or family member will offer out of the blue. It’s pretty amazing.

What challenges have you faced?

I would say the biggest challenge I have faced so far is related to time. As I mentioned, being a mom, a practitioner of German auricular acupuncture and reflexology, an administrator and then also making all of the Mama Pacha products and doing all the business side of things, time, or lack there of, has been the biggest challenge. The great thing however is as the business grows, it allows me to find some help.

Where can we find your products?

My products can be found online at Mama Pacha and  Greenwood Naturals.

In Winnipeg you can find products at:

Generation Green at the Forks

most Vita Health stores

The Exchange Uporium and FLASH boutique which are 2 pop up shops that are open until Christmas.

You can find me at The Scattered Seeds craft sale in October, and the Vineyard Christmas Craft Sale in November.

Outside Winnipeg you can find me at:

Metamorphosis Spa in Killarney MB

Our Best to You Art & Craft Sale Nov 14-16 in Saskatoon


Thank you so much, Tara!  

Interview with Mama Pacha


Today, I’m pleased to share the first half of my interview with Mama Pacha.  I’ve been using her products for almost a year with great results, and I was thrilled when she agreed to share more information.  Here it is!

How did Mama Pacha get started?

Mama Pacha started in January of 2012. That being said, I have been making most of these recipes and products for over eight years. I have been very interested in plants and herbs, especially ones that grow around here, for as long as I can remember. I know which plant to pick if you have poison ivy, I know which leaf will help heal a cut etc. Eight or nine years ago my dad was really suffering with arthritis and he asked if there was anything I could make to help him out. I started experimenting and researching and came up with a salve that worked really well on his arthritis. He then started passing it around to friends and family who also suffered and they loved it as well. From there the product line grew.

When it came to picking a name for my company, Mama Pacha came naturally. My husband is from Argentina and we have spent a lot of time there since we got married. My first child was born there as well. It is like a second home to me. Mama Pacha or Pacha Mama in Argentina (and most of South and Central America) means Mother Earth. Since all my products come from the earth it was a good fit for a name.

Tell us about the progression of your company since it began.

From that first product, I moved onto some of the products that we use every day, lip balms, body butters etc. I wanted to make products that were safe for families to use that didn’t contain petroleum or harmful chemicals but also were affordable. It seemed that every time I was vending at a craft sale or farmers market, people would ask me to make something for them because they had problems with this or that. Most of my products come from specific requests from clients and then work so well they get added to the line.

What are you most proud of?

I am passionate about helping people reduce and/or eliminate chemicals from their lives. A big part of that is in health and beauty products. Everything I make is chemical, petroleum, paraben free. I am proud of being able to offer local products that are also affordable. I try to keep costs down while still making a quality product. I do this by using a lot of the same size packaging, labels etc. and working with some local producers. I am a mom on a budget so I know what it’s like trying to do the best and safest for my family all while making it work financially.

I am also proud of being able to give back. I am a small company but I think that we all have something to give, no matter the size. Starting end of September, Mama Pacha is excited to be able to provide North End Women’s Centre with our natural skin care products to help with their mission of serving women on their path of change. They are an amazing organization that I am so proud to be a small part of.

What is your favourite product in your line?

This is a tough question. I really love all my products. The products that I love to use are the healing salve and lip balm. I use the deodorant and body butters as well. I really love the men’s line as well, which I do not use myself, and have had so many people tell me how much they love it.

Tell us about the process of sourcing ingredients.

When sourcing ingredients I take a lot of things into consideration. I try to find the highest quality ingredients while still keeping an eye on my costs so that I can keep the retail price down. When I can, I purchase local ingredients like my beeswax, and I have a local grower who is going to be growing the majority of my herbs come next year. When I do have to purchase non local items I try to purchase from Canadian companies whenever possible.

Walk us through the process – what happens between you thinking of an idea for a product and it being available to purchase?

The process from conception to it being ready to sell is a fun one. When someone asks me for a specific product it usually starts with research. From there I will start to test out products myself, then send them out to a test group. Once I have made any adjustments, then it goes into production.

Thanks for sharing, Tara!  You can find Mama Pacha at her website, facebook, and twitter.  Check back tomorrow for part 2!

Interview with Just the Goods – Part 2


Today we have a treat: part 2 of my interview with Milena of Just the Goods.  Grab a cup of coffee and join us for this great read, and if you haven’t had a chance to read it, check out part 1!  You can find Just the Goods on their website, facebook, twitter, and blog.  Here we go:

What is your favourite product in your line?

I think my answer to this question changes each time I’m asked, but I’d have to say my exfoliating face wash for acne prone skin is quite high up on my list… especially after such a humid summer season 😉 I’ll switch back to lightly foaming face wash for oily/combination skin when the weather becomes cooler and the air is more dry.

You must wear a lot of hats – what does a typical day look like for you?

Ooh, I’m pretty sure typing this out is going to make people laugh, but here goes:

The first thing I do when I wake up is check my email because it can potentially alter my day. For example, if someone tells me they had a problem with the website, I’ll naturally want to address this as fast as I can so others are not similarly inconvenienced. Apart from that, I try to respond to as many questions as I can concerning product recommendations, ingredients, shipping, etc., and I try to do this as fast as possible, so customer service always comes first, even if it takes several hours, which it sometimes can.

When I get into the lab, I input the orders that arrived overnight into my accounting and order management software, then I start to pack as many orders as I can using products that are already in stock to ensure I’m always shipping out as fast as possible. During this time, I’m often answering the door to receive deliveries, meeting with local clients picking up their orders, and/or handing off parcels to couriers or Canada Post. If I have multiple appointments in a single day, I use the in-between time to place orders for raw materials, follow up on correspondence with suppliers/retailers, and/or maintain my website and/or financials as required.

It isn’t really until about 5 or 6 p.m. that I can start making products because I really do need large and consistent blocks of quiet time to concentrate thus ensuring the smooth production of a batch from set up to labeling. I tend to work quite late, especially on the eve of a shipping day. So parcel packing and shipping can continue until 3 or 4 a.m. And then it starts all over again <=-). Social media, new product R&D, product photography/editing, and the design of graphic support materials is something I fit in when I need a break from the more fast paced nature of things =-).

What are you most proud of?

This is a good question, and not something I’ve actually given myself an opportunity to think about before. But, thinking about it now, I’m glad I’ve cultivated an opportunity to address the many intersections between healthy body products, environmental protection, handmade and cruelty-free production practices, and media representations of the body, gender, aging etc. I know that sounds like a lot, but having conversations with people about, for example, the way conventional “beauty industry” marketing makes us feel bad about ourselves in order to sell us toxic chemicals that hurt animals and the environment while offering possible alternatives is pretty cool =-).

What do you wish people knew about choosing skincare products?

Great question. I wish more people knew that vegan doesn’t necessarily mean healthier as there are far too many vegan skin care products that contain a troubling quantity of synthetic ingredients that are bad for the environment, especially with respect to the extraction and disposal of petrochemicals as mentioned earlier. Animals need clean drinking water, too! The more chemicals we use, the more we hurt their bodies and homes in the wild.

Do you have any skincare routine advice?

Actually, I do! And, since this is a question I’m asked quite often, I created a FAQ at my website, which I’d love to link, if you don’t mind!
Thanks, Milena!


Interview with Just the Goods – Part 1

For the next two weeks, I will be re-posting interviews with 3 wonderful Winnipeg skin care companies. They were widely read last year and as we enter dry skin season, many of the tips are useful!

about-facesmaller-400x380I’m so excited to share my first interview on this blog, with Milena of Just the Goods.  Just the Goods is a Winnipeg-based skincare company, specializing in natural, vegan skincare. I first bought a sample pack like the one in the picture above from Sew Dandee back in 2010, and loved knowing I was putting only good ingredients on my face (and got great results).  I only know Milena via the internet, but her love of her job is evident in email and in the interview.  She really thoroughly answered all my questions, so I’ve split this interview into two parts (the second part will show up on Tuesday).  Thanks very much, Milena!

How did Just the Goods get started?  Tell us about the progression of the company since it began.

Thanks for asking, Jess!

In Autumn 2007, my partner developed a painful rash after shaving, which we came to realize was an allergic reaction to the various chemicals present in the conventional canned shaving cream he had been using for years. Referring to various online resources, we tried all sorts of alternatives ranging from oil based formulas to ones containing dairy, weird as that was. Some worked, but none were genuinely suitable. I eventually figured out that he needed a good, pure soap offering antibacterial support, so I consolidated various ideas into a single recipe and it worked on the very first try.

Through this process of self-education—which was in fact a renewal of thoughts initially planted by my Naturopath in the late 1990s—I discovered that our favorite “natural” toothpaste and lip balm brands had been purchased by multinational conglomerates that produce toxins and lobby governments to continue producing doing so. I decided, at that moment, to reduce our reliance on all chemical-based skin care and grooming products.

I started experimenting with the creation of other items and shared the results with friends. They enthusiastically offered their positive feedback and encouraged me to make my creations more widely available, so I opened an Etsy shop in May 2009, and started posting items for sale in October. I participated in my first local craft show in November of that same year, then hosted an open-house in December. Response from the wider community was incredible in all cases, and since then a great deal of enthusiasm for Just the Goods has spread word of mouth around Winnipeg, and now around the world.

I became an approved member of the Compact for Safe Cosmetics in 2009 and, as one of only 321 cosmetics and skin care companies worldwide, was granted Champion status November 2011. Just the Goods was certified cruelty-free by the Leaping Bunny program in 2013.


You use natural ingredients. Why is this important?

If I may refer back to my thoughts above concerning the way various issues intersect, I believe natural ingredients offer a number of benefits for plants and animals, soil and water and our bodies. I realize there are still considerations around the methods of farming used to grow the plants that make essential oils, or the types of processing that synthesize them, but they leave a smaller footprint than, for example, the extraction of petroleum then turned into a petrochemical that has numerous ill effects on our health from causing cancer to disrupting hormones to triggering debilitating allergic reactions. And while its one thing to expose our bodies to these chemicals on an individual basis, it is worth remembering that these things also go down the drain and adversely affect water, soil and the plants and animals sharing our habitat. The less toxins we use, the fewer need to be produced, and the fewer need to be disposed.


Walk us through the process – what happens between you thinking of an idea for a product and it being available to purchase?

When I first started making products for myself and those closet to me, I opened my bathroom cabinet and examined each of my daily products, one by one, asking “what is in this?” and “which of these ingredients are reasonable?” In the case of the face wash I was using at the time, the only ingredients I thought were reasonable, were shea butter and water from a list of approximately 20 items. I started with those and built around them. I wanted the face wash to be soapy, I wanted it to draw impurities away from my skin, and I wanted light antibacterial support, so—drawing on knowledge accumulated through research—I added organic liquid castile soap, kaolin clay, and selected essential oils. I tweaked the ratios until I liked the results, and voilà! Just the Goods moisturizing face wash for oily/combination skin was born! That process was repeated for any of the items I myself use. In the case of other products (i.e. face wash for dry skin), I established the process in consultation with friends, and they tried the results, providing feedback as required.

Some products turn out right the first time, but others need a great deal of reformulation through trial and error, such as my deodorant roll-on—that took two years of research and testing under as many different circumstances, and with as many different people, as possible.

I often get requests for new products and have many prototypes on the go at various stages. The biggest challenge here can be getting people to return their feedback so I can find out exactly what they didn’t like about a particular trial. I think people are afraid to hurt my feelings! So ultimately product ideas are tested by friends that will be brutally honest – they know I need need complete information in order to proceed.


What has been the most surprising thing in starting this business?

The most surprising thing has been learning that I can run my project the way I want to, even when it contradicts normalized practices.

For example, I insist on offering public wholesale pricing even in the face of retailers from around the world telling me they won’t work with me until I raise my prices for my direct clients. I realize growth is the focus of mainstream society, but facilitating access to healthier options by offering the lowest prices I can manage is simply more important to me. I won’t pursue growth at the expense of my values, or on the backs of my clients.

There are other less expected things that apply to this, as well. For example, I refuse to editorialize the lives of my diverse clients by gendering my products, or creating ageist categories, and despite conventional branding practices, it has worked!

I also won’t hide shipping costs in my product pricing to create the illusion of cheap or free shipping because I value the work of Canada Post employees and think their contribution should be visible. Some people don’t like this and decide not to order because (as they tell me) they would rather pay for a more expensive product with invisible shipping, but others find it refreshing.

All in all, I like doing things differently and I’m thrilled that it works =-)


What challenges have you faced?

I would definitely have to say finding enough time to pursue all the ideas I have for new products and partnerships. Maybe one day I’ll be able to hire an assistant, but given my commitment of offering the lowest product prices possible, Just the Goods is currently sustainable for one person only. This is a challenge as Just the Goods becomes increasingly popular, but I have a few ideas of how to manage without raising prices rumbling around in mind brain 😉


Where can we find your products?

Just the Goods is currently available at six bricks and mortar shops in Winnipeg, all of which provide the full convenience of retail shops. I also currently work with two online retailers (click here for the complete list). Since I make over 150 types of items (considering all size, scent and flavour variations), the widest selection of items can be acquired through me directly – justthegoods.net is my primary website and will re-direct to the new Shopify site as soon as I’m finished beta testing =-)


Thanks, Milena!  Join us here on Tuesday to hear what a typical day looks like, what Milena is most proud of, and some skincare routine advice!  You can also follow Just the Goods on twitter and facebook, and check out her shop on Etsy.

Fair Trade Challenge

Each year, Fair Trade Manitoba hosts a Fair Trade Challenge.  The core challenge is to purchase only fair trade coffee, tea, and chocolate from February 14th – March 14th.  Every year, I adapt to make it a little harder.  We already have our favourite fair trade coffee, tea and chocolate brands (and I’m not really a tea or chocolate person, so it’s really just coffee – lots of coffee) that we buy for at home.  The more difficult part for me is keeping the challenge in mind when I’m out with friends that want to grab a coffee or dessert.  For this year, I’m also going to add only purchasing ethically made clothes, which might be difficult – the hole in my last pair of jeans doesn’t seem very fixable.  The Fair Trade Manitoba website has more information on the challenge, a list of stores in Manitoba to purchase fair trade foods, and some additional challenges if the core challenge is already part of your lifestyle.  If you take on the challenge let me know, and I’ll let you know how I do!

9 Small Brands Purchased by Large Companies

Throughout my 6 years of wedding planning, I’ve seen several small brands get purchased by larger companies.  And although it’s really exciting to see someone receive a big payout for something they have worked so hard on, it’s always a bit disappointing when this waters down the quality of the product (not that this always happens).  Of course, this is a common practice throughout all industries, including food & skincare.  There are compelling arguments for and against, and although I stand pretty firmly on the side of independent businesses, I can understand why someone would want to or have to sell their business.  Here are a few small food & skincare brands that have been acquired by larger companies:

Burt’s Bees was purchased by Clorox in 2007

Tom’s of Maine was purchased by Colgate-Palmolive in 2006

Kashi was purchased by Kellogg in 2000, and is now dropping their “all-natural” label

Ben & Jerry’s was purchased by Unilever in 2000

Aveda was purchased by Estee Lauder in 1997

Bolthouse Farms was purchased by Campbells in 2007

Larabar was purchased by General Mills in 2008

Annie’s Organics was purchased by General Mills in 2014

Silk was purchased by Dean Foods in 2002