When I first discovered Pinterest, it happened to coincide with my insomnia-ridden second pregnancy. Shortly followed by my awake-at-all-hours-ready-to-party baby. I'll be honest, in my zombied state (either middle of the night or early riser's club editions), I racked up a LOT of pins over a LOT of hours.
This was during my new mom phase, when I had nothing else to think about than my darling toddler and her imminent sibling. I pinned away the nights, dreaming of someday when I would have the energy and wherewithal to make a layered rainbow cake or sew felt donuts for my girls to pretend to eat.
Pinterest gets a lot of flak these days, and I understand why. Perceived pressure for moms to create "pin-worthy" parties and Valentines is a legit criticism, though, I think this is a wise & loving response. Obviously, it can also be a time suck, like any other social media, with its endless rabbit holes and discoveries. And there is the critique that it fuels our materialism and dissatisfaction with what we have.
For me, it functioned as almost the opposite.
Seasonal consumerism gets a bad rap, and never more than with Valentine’s Day! It’s gaudy, it’s excessive, it’s unnecessary… What can I say? By and large, I agree.
Are gifts altogether bad? Does a tangible, physical item have to fall under the ethically-minded, wannabe-minimalist’s (that’s me, btw) no-no list of “stuff”?
Here’s my problem. I don’t like “stuff” (or “junk”), but I do like gifts. I like giving them, and I like receiving them.
I love donation gifts like a chicken or goat or school supplies; I also think “experience gifts” or other alternatives are also brilliant! But, I also like to wrap a thoughtful gift, place it in someone’s hands, and see them handle it, use it, & enjoy it.
I asked some friends, customers, & followers about meaningful gifts they’ve received in the past from a mate/love-of-their-life/partner-in-crime. Here is a list of some faves:
A few times this past year, I heard the term, “Wrapped in Love,” with regards to our repurposed sari blankets. I've loved SO MUCH hearing from people who have given or received kantha blankets, especially when the gift is really meaningful to them; so, I'll be sharing their stories now & then.
The first instance was a gift from an addiction sponsee to her sponsor.
“I am writing to tell you how elated I am that a dear friend just messaged me this week asking me to pick out a throw as she wants to "wrap me in love" for Christmas."
She had scanned through the blanket images and both she and her daughter gravitated to the colours of one in particular. Then, the name of the throw sealed the deal: Serenity.
I recently received a very direct and honest question: A friend had popped into a well-known fair trade shop and noticed that they were selling the same type of kantha-stitched throws as she had just purchased from dignify…for $24 less. “Of course I support you,” she affirmed, “but it might make someone ask… why are yours $98?”
Of course, I had heard vaguely about this before, and I knew from the start of the project that the cost-to-sale price of our blankets were considered “less than ideal” for importers/sellers like me. But I didn’t know the details, and I didn’t have an answer. Now I was asking, too! Not because I thought $98 was high, but because knowing that it takes at least 4 days of labour to make one throw, how could they sell them for so little?
Well, as Robin, the managing director of BASHA – who make our blankets – said: “There seems to be a wide range of what people in Bangladesh call ‘fair trade’.”
She offered many insights into the industry and how others, including that specific producer, compare to her operation. Read on for a more detailed look (in her own words) at the operation behind our own “fair trade” kantha blankets.