Do you know the stories behind your favorite prints?
I really, really love Sudara's lounge pants. Anyone who spends time with me out of the shop will confirm this <3 because I pretty much live in them the minute I get inside my house. (Truthfully, I also live in them at the beach. And the pool. And sometimes the grocery store. Definitely not this cool - but, still.)
Whenever I'm shopping the Sudara site to bring new patterns in, I see that each of their prints are named in honor of a particular woman who has changed her life. I haven't read the individual stories - until today - and I wanted to share two with you. Like many of the brands we support, I chose to carry Sudara because of their mission to help empower women, and these stories are perfect examples of why it's important to ask "Who Made My Clothes?"
The Bhara print is hands down, the most popular print we sell at Mimosa Goods. I'll carry it as long as Sudara continues to make it. It's wonderful - lightweight, colorful - and elephants! The writers changed Bhara's name for privacy, but please, read her story. This is the story of an actual woman who may have made the pants you are wearing now.
Bhara’s mother, Esther, was sold into the sex trade as a young girl. Esther’s family lived in great poverty and there were not many options for work in her village. So, when a man came to Esther’s father and promised a good job for his daughters if they would come with him to Mumbai, he somewhat hesitantly sent Esther along. He told her that he would see her again soon and to please send money home from the big city. Once she arrived in Mumbai, though, she was sold into a brothel. And, it was in this same brothel that she later gave birth to and began to raise Bhara.
After many years in Mumbai, Esther returned to her home village in search of her father and a safe place for her and Bhara to live. She soon learned that her father had died the previous year of a heart attack and the rest of her family had left in search of work.
Esther, without a place to live or family to help her, felt that she had no other choice but to enter the sex trade again under a pimp. The money she received in her village, though, was far less than she received in Mumbai. And, under pressure from the pimp to bring in more money, she tried repeatedly to force Bhara into the sex trade too.
Bhara chose to change her story - she left home and found shelter at a community center in a nearby village. With the help of an aid organization she enrolled in the Sudara skills training center and expects to graduate soon with plans to become a teacher. If the training center didn't exist, if there wasn't a place of hope for her to make that fresh start, Bhara might have decided she had no choice but to follow her mother's wishes and enter the sex trade.
This print arrived today - a brand new pattern for fall, named Gita. (Zoom on in...those are peacocks, friends!!) This design is so different from what Sudara normally does, I wanted to know about the woman behind it. Gita's story is a beautiful example of what a courageous young woman can do and the strength a network of women can bring when we support each other in times of need.
When Gita’s father became ill due to a long history of alcoholism, her mother searched for work. However, the income that she earned as a tailor was not enough to make up for her husband’s lost income. She struggled to take care of her family and have enough money to treat her husband’s illness as well.
Gita knew her mother was doing all that she could, so Gita decided to search for work as well. She didn’t have any employable skills though and was unable to find work that was safe or allowed her to stay close to home. That’s when a friend told her about the skills-training programs at one of Sudara’s partner sewing centers. Gita immediately asked to enroll.
Soon after enrolling, the staff at the center noticed that she was leaving class during the lunch break rather than eating with everyone else and was often coming to class hungry. The staff became concerned when they noticed that she was losing a lot of weight and asked her if anything was wrong. Gita opened up about her situation at home — how they had very little to eat, that she was working to help her mother provide for their family and that her father’s sickness was only getting worse.
The staff and students immediately rallied around her and offered support. The next day, several of them brought a little extra food in their lunch so that she could stay and have lunch with them rather than go hungry. Gita tells us that they brought a little extra in their lunch every day until her graduation, upon which she was offered a full-time job with a good salary in a local salon. She is thankful for the training and support she received at Sudara’s partner sewing center and, most of all, the friendships she made during her time there.
This is pretty much what it's all about here at Mimosa Goods, right? A shift in thinking and shopping. When we're looking for a gift, we can use that opportunity help someone who might need a little hope...and as you've read, it makes a real difference. Whether you choose some lounge pants to live in outside the office, or a bracelet, or a special toy for one of your littles - there's a chance to do just a tiny bit of good with that purchase. I hope you're moved by the real stories behind Sudara's prints - there are more to browse on their website, and you can see the pieces we carry here. Please share their stories, and thanks as always for your commitment to shop for good!