Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Monday, August 30, 2010

Behind the Scenes: Fall 2010 Collection

This week, we had our Fall 2010 collection photoshoot! We were incredibly excited for the day to come, we packed up everything we needed, and were thrilled to find such a beautiful location. Imagine spontaneous rain spurts (in uganda, it's currently the rainy season so you're never quite sure when to expect a downpour) and chasing away chickens as they attempted to peck at our products.

The models in these photos are two of our awesome women, Concy and Eunice. It's really humbling to see these products come full circle as Concy and Eunice poured their hearts into producing this apparel line. A big thanks to the wonderful Stefanie Bammer (who works locally for Purse of Hope) and Halle, our modest founder, for being such a great sport (isn't she beautiful?!) after we begged her to model.

You'll see the entire shoot when our Fall line launches!

Stefanie goofing around during the first shoot

Keep your eyes peeled - behind the scenes video is on its' way!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Our favorite man...

is here today!

Every so often, we have the delight of seeing Faustino's face. He fixes things. Mainly, sewing machines and although he's not here everyday, he's an important part of keeping One Mango Tree flowing smoothly.

Interview with Sass Brown, author of Eco Fashion

How could you forget a name like Sass Brown?!
With a distinctive resume boasting time as a self-proclaimed fashion designer, a professor at the Fashion Institude of Technology in New York, and a fashion sustainability researcher, Sass knows a thing or two about ethical fashion. It's her desire to see others grasp and support eco fashion. We particularly appreciate her focus on the "range of community and indigenous support cooperatives bridging the gap between traditional craft and high fashion." She'll be releasing this beautiful new book Eco Fashion, published by Laurence King Publishing and it's hitting shelves in September (you can pre-order through Amazon.com now!)

Pierce Mattie PR did a stellar interview with Sass recently discussing her views on eco-fashion, international efforts, and her greatest sustainable finds.

On writing this new book, she noted:
"...despite the standard and success of many eco labels, I felt they still weren’t known by many students entering the industry, or for that matter professionals in the main stream fashion arena and hoped that the book would act as a means of exposing their work to a wider audience."
On the books' content, sustainability myths, and featuring global eco-fashion efforts, her publishing company includes:
"This book shows the range of companies making a difference in the area of sustainable design in fashion, exploding the myth that sustainable design is bad design, or at best basic design, by highlighting the range of companies producing desirable and well-designed apparel and accessories with a conscience. It not only demonstrates the range of products available around the globe, but explains the stories behind them and the communities they support, as well as showing how and where they make a difference."

(Read the FULL INTERVIEW...)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Get ready... World Humanitarian Day + FREE SHIPPING!

Celebrate with us as fair-trade continues to transform the lives of women in northern Uganda and across the globe!

For the first time ever, in celebration of World Humanitarian Day and as a thank you for supporting our women, we're giving FREE SHIPPING to everyone that orders between this Thursday and Sunday (Aug. 19th - Aug. 22nd)!

That's FOUR days to get free shipping with all our *brand new* organic apparel, handbags, sandals, aprons, headbands, and other fair-trade goodness. All to celebrate World Humanitarian Day, which commemorates the work of humanitarian aid workers - first responders who protect life and health and ensure respect for human beings in conflict and post-conflict zones.

In Northern Uganda, this meant years of support from the United Nations, International Organization for Migration, international donors and countless organizations who tirelessly supported the millions of displaced Acholi who lived in displacement camps (like many One Mango Tree staff) during the conflict. While the security situation in Northern Uganda is greatly improved, today we're thinking about others in the region who have been affected by the LRA, and the humanitarian aid workers who are there first to assist and respond.

Celebrate with us in support of the life change we're seeing in northern Uganda and across the world. Be a great friend and share this!

xo Lauranne

Friday, August 13, 2010

FEATURED: Ethical Knitting @ Mayu

Meet Kate Robertson. She began Mayu, a sweet and socially-conscious organization that is empowering artisans in Peru that produce these beautiful scarves and hand-knit hoodies/shawls (pictured below). Mayu is fair-trade certified (bam!) and celebrates ethical production.

Through Mayu, local Artisans are being given the opportunity to earn fair wages and become more independent while doing what they both enjoy and excel in - knitting. It's phenomenal to see the grassroots efforts across the globe - from Uganda to Peru - that aim, with humility and intentionality, to lift up local artisans. Kate, I bet we'd be great friends!

She has a fantastic story behind how she got to Peru and met the artisans she's currently working with. We encourage you to learn more about Mayu, how the products are made, and the ethical cornerstones of the organization!

In fact, as of today Kate is having an awesome giveaway you should know about! You can win a Mayu fair-trade Alpaca Hoodie (worth $180). See all the details here.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

One of our biggest shipments yet.

The ladies have abandoned their sewing machines for the past few hours to pack for our AWESOMELY massive shipment that leaves tomorrow with all our brand new organic handbags and goodies! This teamwork is just beautiful... and sodas for everyone in celebration for it's success!

Get ready because they're coming your way!

xo lauranne

Fall in Love

Our 100% organic {exclusive} Fall 2010 fabrics are here! The ladies are hard at work turning these fun fall fabrics into handbags (and wrap skirts! and cute little blazers!) for your endless enjoyment.

Straight from the inspiration boards - here's where the prints and colors come from:
  • Black & White - always a classic, we thought it would be fun to turn this market print into a simpler version of itself in a timeless combo of black & white
  • Shiva Swirls - East Africa boasts a tremendous number of Indian influences - Shiva Swirls pulls from this contribution to eclectic urban African culture - the light blue swirls are reminiscent of Shiva, the Hindu deity found so many shrines throughout the region
  • Sipi Falls - far to the east of Kampala, Mt. Elgon stands in it's glory, rich with volcanic soil and shaded groves of coffee - Sipi Falls plays on the watery dance of the waterfalls of the same name that cascade down Elgon's slopes
  • Coffee & Cream - thanks to Uganda's natural wealth of good coffee and some excellent entrepreneurial skills, coffee shops are popping up all over the country, and East Africa is developing a cafe culture
Which one do you like the best?

Retailers, you can find our entire fall line available through Global Girlfriend - contact stacey@globalgirlfriend.com to carry One Mango Tree in your shop!

Down Home Fair Trade

Ohio or Bust! I'm originally from Ohio - born in Cleveland, 6 years of university work at Ohio State University in Columbus before heading to DC and Uganda. My family - mom, dad and brother - are all still there. For this fall's One Mango Tree road trip, I'll be spending a lot of time in Ohio. October will kick off with a Starfleet show (that's my dad's band), followed by the Ohio Fair Trade Expo on October 9. I can't think of anything better than a week of rock-n-roll, autumn leaves and kicking off Fair Trade Month in the Buckeye State.

The Ohio Fair Trade Expo is sponsored in part by one of my absolute favorite fair trade advocates - Lisa Dunn, of Revive Fair Trade. Lisa amazes me with her boundless energy and passion for bringing fair trade to Cleveland. The success of her TWO fair trade stores (one on Lee Road and the other at Legacy Village) is astounding - and a true testament to her ability to rally people around social and environmental causes. She has an incredible eye for fashion to boot.

At Ohio Fair Trade Expo, One Mango Tree will also have a table, and we're donating super-cute organic cotton totes (made by our ladies!) with the Expo logo for all the attendees. The Expo will be at John Carroll University - if you're in Ohio on October 9, I hope you'll join us for this great day of promoting fair trade!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Get a load of this fantastic organization: TRAID is a charity working to "make the nations unwanted clothes matter." At One Mango Tree, we appreciate people who are smart and creative in ways that are not only sustainable... but also generous. At TRaid, they set up recycling banks all over the UK and they collect clothing; after sorting, they resell the best in their shops with the goal of giving away the profits. They've funded over 3 million dollars in the past ten years for international projects fighting inequality and exploitation in the global textile supply chain. Their hope is to establish environmental sustainability in some of the world's poorest communities. The creativity and resourcefulness at work here is just phenomenal.

And in case you were wondering, 'TRaid' stands for Textile Recyling for Aid and International Developing. We encourage you to take a look at the specific projects TRaid is supporting. Giving truly changes everything... but we must be intentional and do our research if we want our giving to truly impact lives in a sustainable manner.

Learn more and check out their website here.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Proof: Lucy's dream

My parents' decision to make a trip out to Uganda was a huge one for me. In the four years I've been working here, I dreamed often about them making the trip - but never quite figured it would happen. Their trip was a bit of a whirlwind - filled with lots of new experiences (for my mom, One Mango Tree's US Business Manager, this was her first trip out of the United States). As easily predicted, getting up to Gulu was the most important part. For me, it was building that final piece in the bridge to bring together the disparate pieces of my life since first coming to Uganda. Mom and Dad could finally understand what I am doing here.

The Butvins are project people at heart - we're most happy when we have something to construct or paint. After one night in Gulu, they announced at breakfast that they would be spending the rest of their time turning our large store room into a daycare for the nine {plus} kiddos that come to work with the ladies each day. After hours and hours of painting trees, lions and giraffe, we cleaned up and headed out to dinner at Lucy's in the golden glow of a typical Gulu twilight.

As usual, Mama Lucy was full of surprises. A couple of months ago, when checking on that status of a transfer to Lucy's account, the bank teller dropped her jaw - "and you say this woman is in Gulu? I have never, in all my time with Barclays, seen a checking account with such a continuous high balance!" So, I knew Lucy was saving, but she didn't dare spill the beans... until my parents arrived. While dinner finished up on the cookstove, we took a walk on the windy paths behind her grass-thatched hut - the one she's lived in since her brother died and she took on raising all of her nieces and nephews.

Not five minutes from her little hut, we came upon a large brick home, sheltered on one side by a clump of mango trees, and complete with a front porch. Lucy is building her home.

When I met Lucy in 2007, during the hours we spent talking together about her hopes and dreams, she was always focused. First, the kids must be in school. Second, she must help the boys to build their own huts on her brother's land. Third, she must buy her own land. Fourth and finally, Lucy must build her own house. Not three years later, she is fully realizing her dream.

With my parents there to see the house, those final pieces came together - the big reminder of why One Mango Tree exists at all, and the proof that the work we do is really making big changes. One woman's dream is now accomplished, and many more are on the way.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

EATS: The Classic 'Rolex'

And no, we don't mean the watch! One of the easiest and most delicious street foods you can find in Uganda is the classic 'Rolex.' There's something so appealing about a quick food with so many delicious surprises inside. For about .50 cents, you can pick up one of these babies and an entertaining conversation at most street corners.

Say hello to JOFFREY, my rolex-maker and bud.

"Madam, you take my photo"

These are the delicious pre-made bits of heaven that will soon be fried into chapati goodness. Here's a quick how-to on making chapati

Here's the goodness in action: warm chapati

Joffrey combines 2 eggs, slices of tomato, onion, green pepper, cabbage, and a pinch of salt and...

pours it, along with a bit of cooking oil, atop the metal fryer. (in jinja, I tried the most phenomenal and jazzed up alternative to the traditional rolex which substituted nutella and banana for eggs/vegetables)

Once the eggs and veggies are cooked properly, you toss it inside the fried chapati and rolled together into a hand-held treat.

Stephen enjoying the final product.



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