Wednesday, November 15, 2017

interview with slate & salt

Hands-down the best scarf I own is from Slate + Salt. It is the kind of scarf I have been searching for for years. The first time I wore it, I got at least 5 compliments. 

However, the scarf isn’t just a great scarf, its made by a company that actually cares about its production line, and they want their customers to care as well.

All of their cashmere scarves and throws are hand loomed in Nepal by disabled weavers. They provide the necessary tools to help these weavers become independent. The hands that made my scarf are being paid fairly and treated ethically, and that makes me want to buy about 10 more of these scarves! I reached out to Slate + Salt to share a little more detail about their brand and mission ---

What is the story behind starting Slate + Salt? 

SLATE + SALT came about from a travel addiction to Southeast Asia. I became obsessed with the craftsmanship that goes into hand making products. Each country has unique, traditional methods to create their products. Many have been passed down through generations and are exclusive to that particular place. As a society, almost everything we purchase now is made in a factory and these traditional techniques are being lost. There is something so special about the story behind each piece and being able to help keep these traditions alive.

Seeing how special these places and people are makes you want to help them. We have many more opportunities than people born in other countries often do and helping them sell their products to an international market is very rewarding. We only carry products from developing countries that don’t have access to the customer base that a US based company does.

Where did the name come from?

The name is simply a play on land and sea. It came from starting the company based on a travel addiction and products from around the world. 

How are Slate + Salt’s products different and unique from what is currently available in the marketplace?

SLATE + SALT differs from many Fair Trade companies by focusing on modern designs that a slightly younger demographic would be more likely to purchase. In reality, younger consumers are more likely to support ethical brands if they align with current trends and styles. We particularly choose pieces that are traditionally made but have a modern aesthetic to show customers that there are products out there that are not only socially good but also on trend with styles they already like.

If you had to wear the one item everyday for a year from the current collection, what would you wear and why?

I actually do. The gold studs we carry from Edge of Ember. I almost never take them off. I love the simplicity and quality and they go with everything.

Some are hesitant to purchase from ethical manufacturers because it is perceived as “too expensive.” What advice or experience would you share with those individuals? 

Yes, some people are hesitant to purchase from ethical manufactures because they tend to be a little more expensive.  Everyone wants a deal but I guess you have to weigh the “cost” of what you are purchasing. When you buy something Fair Trade or sustainable you feel good about wearing it. You know the actual story, where it was made, the quality is better, and you are helping workers in disadvantaged situations to support their families and work with dignity.

If you could choose any current celebrity to be an advocate and ambassador for your brand, who would it be?

We're big fans of Emma Watson. She is obviously a huge advocate for Fair Trade and sustainable living. It's still an industry that people aren't typically very educated on. They don't know that the majority of what they buy is made in sweatshops and that by supporting Fair Trade companies they are actually breaking the cycle by helping to employ workers who can support themselves. It is important that people with influence support these causes, especially young people who influence the next generation. With so many issues in the world today we are bombarded with problems. It’s hard to know how you can make a difference.  In reality consumers drive business trends. As more people support ethical companies and put pressure on unethical companies to change, the industry grows for the better. Consumers have power to change the world for the better by choosing where they spend their money.

Does the company have anything exciting coming up that you would like to share with our readers?

Right now we’re really excited to introduce some new artisan groups we’ve been working with. It typically takes a few months to have new pieces made so it’s always exciting to share new products and stories. 
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