The Golden Rule BoutiqueFor the first time in San Diego, we have a store dedicated to fair trade clothing! The Golden Rule Boutique opened in April 2016 and has debuted at farmers markets, 3 Strands Global Run, and fair trade gifts fairs and at fair trade university campus events. Owner, Jackie Bilancia brings to us the opportunity to shop ethically and still dress trendy!
We asked Jackie to share her journey with us on why she became involved with fair trade, became an advocate and now opening a boutique.
I am here to introduce myself, Jackie Bilancia, owner of The Golden Rule Boutique. We sell fair trade clothing and accessories based in San Diego, California. The company is working towards decreasing poverty through dignified work. Fair trade is not a charity based model- it is provides fair wages, safe and healthy working conditions and no child abuses throughout the supply chain.
As a business, I want to show people that you can shop ethically and still dress trendy. I do the marketing, planning, budgeting, and buying and have been working hard to learn about the business world. As a full time occupational therapist I help people get better. With the fair trade movement, I help people have better lives all over the world. My goal is to "slow down" fashion and educate others about fair trade clothing.
At 12 years old, I began volunteering and eventually becoming involved in my church. I went on several service trips traveling the country and the world. During some of these trips, I witnessed extreme poverty. It was heartbreaking returning home to my four bedroom house in New Jersey with constant blessings. Most of the people I met were living on 1$ or less a day. I felt like I was helping these orphanages, schools, building homes, but then it came the time to leave. Sometimes our group would make trips back to the same location the next year, but that didn’t seem like enough. Nothing I could do was ever enough to change the opportunities for these people and I also realized that charity was not the answer.
Fast forward, a few years. I officially became an occupational therapist. Moved across the country. Still enjoyed volunteering and traveling for mission trips. About two years ago, I realized that the key to lift people out of poverty was opportunity. I began to learn about fair trade. Fair trade gives artisans, growers, producers the opportunity to get out of poverty without a hand out but a hand up. I loved hearing the success stories about the differences of before and after fair trade for the individuals and communities. As I continued on my “fair trade journey”, I began looking at how clothes were made and started researching who was making clothing that I often buy. What truly changed my perspective on clothing and why I began The Golden Rule Boutique was the documentary “The True Cost” (Netflix). The movie discusses "fast fashion". Companies around the world are making clothing cheaply so that more people will buy them, and quickly and then dispose of them to purchase the newest fashion trend. However, when this happens someone is paying for that 3$ shirt. The true cost boils down to: increase productivity, decrease price, decrease safety, increase child labor, decrease pay. Without a company being fair trade certified there is no way to know if there is child labor, safe working conditions, or fair wages. Anna Lappe stated, “Every time you spend money, you're casting a vote for the kind of world you want.” This is when I decided to give people the opportunity to shop better locally and to continue spreading the word about the difference fair trade makes.
The Golden Rule Boutique is not YET, a brick and mortar. We are at farmer’s markets, pop up events, and festivals and online. I hope you consider giving your clothing a "trendy" lift and make this a better world for those who make our clothes. You can always reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit: www.thegoldenruleboutique.com.