The Holstee Manifesto

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A few months back I was browsing the Internet for inspiring quotes and was delighted to come across this enlightening manifesto. I got it from Brain Pickings, a blog created by Maria Popova, dedicated to offering people an eclectic bank of information on everything from poetry, to science, to art. The purpose is to help arouse people’s passions and help them find what piques their curiosity and interest.

The Holstee Manifesto comes from Holstee, an organization that sells products made of recycled things. The three founders quit their jobs and decided that they wanted to do something different, to be creative and innovative. One day during the company’s infancy they sat on the steps of Union Square and wrote out what was most important to them and what they wanted to get out of life. I hope you find their Manifesto as inspiring as I do, it’s one I often meditate on. Happy Wednesday!

-Brittany

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Read, Remember, Recycle

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The Benefits

Did you know that your Anchal pillows, quilts, and scarves are made from recycled saris? That is because Anchal understands the importance of minimizing our environmental impact. And I can relate. I was raised in a household where recycling was a part of every day life. I didn’t even know it was an option to not recycle. Presumably, I would be arrested and left to rot in prison if I threw out a recyclable object (the same consequence would result from littering, as well). So as I grew up, shattering my sheltered views of the world, I discovered that many of my friends just threw everything into the trash. And apparently, they weren’t alone. Currently, more than 13% of people in the United States don’t recycle AT ALL. That means every cardboard box, every glass bottle, and every aluminum soup can that comes into their household, ends up in a landfill. And to make matters worse, only 50% of Americans actually recycle daily, which means the remaining 37% are only doing it when it’s convenient and quick for them. To their credit, the majority of folks who aren’t recycling just aren’t sure of what they can recycle. Hence, the Ipsos Public Affairs team put together some diagrams explaining why many recycling efforts are hindered.

-Paige

* To learn more about what you can and cannot recycle, check out your local Environmental Protection Agency’s website!

What Every Girl Should Know About Her Paycheck

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Infographics are a cool way to present facts in a visually stimulating way, and these infographics give a crystal clear picture of where we stand and how we are being affected by inequality in the workforce in the United States.

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My take aways:
• We are slowly and gradually moving in the right direction (81 cents compared to 76.9 cents to the dollar in 2010 – alright!)
• In order to stay even or even get ahead of men, women often have to make lifestyle sacrifices – no marriage and no kids, while men don’t. Can we have it all?
• Women are smart enough to use education to get even – and ahead! Go us!
• While 81 cents is an improvement, check out what it means to us long term (2011):

What were your take aways?

– Marina

Give the Gift of Inspiration: Lessons from The Blue Sweater

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A while back I wrote a post about Jacquline Novogratz, the CEO and founder of the Acumen Fund. I just recently read her bestselling memoir, The Blue Sweater and was amazed at the grace, humility and compassion with which she writes. Enter some guilty pleasure reading of the latest In Style magazine, which had an idea to leave a jar full of inspiring things to do that guests can grab one on their way out of a soiree (i.e. Pay for someone’s coffee behind you) in lieu of a traditional party favor and voilà, you have today’s blog post! A week’s worth of inspiring quotes from The Blue Sweater that challenge us to reframe who we see as the Other, live with a deep sense of purpose, humility and happiness on a daily basis, and find what’s truly important in life. Enjoy!

“Why do some people stop growing at age 30, just going from work to the couch to the television, when others stay vibrant, curious, almost childlike, into their eighties and nineties?”

“Give people a way to walk so that eventually they can run, and then you’ll see them dance. Some of them will even fly.”

The following are taken from African women Novogratz met after the Rwandan genocide:

“There is no reason to hold anger against another person…to many of us have died over small conflicts. It is time to heal…why should I bear a grudge?”

“When you have everything you start to think that material things are the most important. When you lose them all at first you think you have lost yourself as well. But with faith, you begin to see that it is only those things that you build inside-things that no one can take away from you, that matter. Now we try to live from a place of love. And we understand that you can only have great joy if you also know great pain.”

“We listen to one another and look into one another’s eyes and we see suffering. It is that suffering that binds us. It is that suffering that reminds us that we are all human.”

“Living in the service of other people I finally felt fully alive….You must radiate and shine despite the difficulties you have on earth…in the end, goodness triumphs over the bad. It is our challenge to do good and to serve others without waiting for the good to be returned. I’m convinced that those people who cultivate universal love will have good fortune on earth. In serving others, I found light in a place of utmost darkness.”

Novogratz on her work:

“Build a vision for the people and recognize that no single source of leadership will make it happen: This is our challenge for creating a future in which every human being can participate. Just imagine the inventors, scholars, teachers, artists, entrepreneurs who will grace the human race once this happens. The first step for each of us is to develop our own moral imagination, the ability to put ourselves in another person’s shoes. It sounds so simple, and yet it is perhaps the most difficult thing we can do. It is so much easier to pretend that others are different, that they are happy in their poverty, that their religion makes them too difficult to engage in real conversation, or that their faith or ethnicity or class makes them a danger to us. Each of us needs to develop the courage to listen with our whole mind heart and mind, to give love without asking for thanks in return, and to meet each person as a chance to know a new individual, not as a way of reaffirming our prejudices. Our work should remind us all that the poor the world over are our brothers and sisters.

-Brittany

Fair Trade Tuesday!

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Fair Trade Tuesday (hashtag #FairTuesday) is a fair trade initiative created in response to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The goal of Fair Trade Tuesday is to inspire conscious consumerism that doesn’t rely on sweatshops and exploitative labor, but on artisans who are paid a living wage.

Its easy to be a part of this giving day by donating or purchasing products from Anchal. Anchal provides alternative careers in textiles to commercial sex workers living in India. By merging the fields of human rights, business, design and retail, Anchal is a revenue-driven social venture that addresses human suffering and offers real economic alternatives.

In honor of #FairTuesday, we would like to offer FREE SHIPPING. Just enter the Coupon Code: fair-trade

And don’t forget, shop smart!

Thankful for the Present, Looking to the Future

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In the spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday, I want pause to acknowledge the people whose efforts keep Anchal going. To our Artisans and NGO partners, we express our deepest gratitude for your hard work. To the organizations whose funds have increased our ability to help commercial sex workers escape the trade, we extend our most heartfelt thanks. To everyone that has bought a Didi Scarf, snuggled up with a pillow or a blanket, helped out with an event, signed up for our newsletter, spread the word about our activities, thank you. To the people who work to keep Anchal moving and growing every day, we celebrate your sweat and discipline. Without you, Anchal would just be an idea.

As we honor all the people who make Anchal what it is at present, we begin to look toward the future. A recent strategic planning session has gleaned a multitude of innovative ideas for Anchal. New products, new organizational strategies, and new ways to reach more Artisans are some of the topics we are thinking about. The planning session has our energy high and our momentum growing. We can’t wait to share these new things with you as we develop them.

-Lizzy