SLATE + SALT is an online marketplace that works closely with small-scale social enterprises to facilitate dignified working opportunities in areas of extreme poverty.
SLATE + SALT was launched in 2016 after founder, Lyndsay Hugues, was moved by the people she met while traveling throughout Southeast Asia. She saw a gap in the market for the hand-crafted products created in the local villages. After seeing the uniqueness of these places and their residents firsthand, she was inspired to help bring their artistic creations to more than just passing tourists.
SLATE + SALT makes frequent trips to their partners in India, Nepal, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Turkey, Kenya and Guatemala in order to foster relationships and provide new and exciting goods to their customers. Each country has traditional and unique methods to create their products. Most have been passed down through generations and are exclusive to that particular region. This is vastly different from Western society, in which almost everything purchased is made unsustainably in a factory. That is one of the reasons why SLATE + SALT is passionate about their work; they believe there is something so special about the stories and traditions behind each piece.
Consumers also play an important role in keeping these traditions alive. When consumers purchase ethically produced goods, they are helping to break the cycle of poverty by empowering women entrepreneurs and educating children. Fair Trade practices restore dignity to the artisans and positions women as leaders and role models in their communities. It gives them the opportunity to stay in their villages instead of being forced to migrate to urban areas or pushed into unfair working conditions.
For example, one of SLATE + SALT’s most popular collections is a line of Nepalese cashmere scarves and throw blankets. While traveling to Nepal, Lyndsay connected with a local NGO that trains blind, deaf and disabled artisans to weave these beautiful textiles. With few opportunities for work, people with disabilities are discriminated against in Nepalese society. Weaving empowers them by increasing their financial independence and self-esteem, while improving the way they are viewed by society. SLATE + SALT prides themselves on their modern designs that reflect current trends. One of the best ways to educate consumers on Fair Trade practices is to provide products that are alternatives to styles they would already be purchasing. Most consumers won’t purchase products simply because they are sustainable. But if you are already purchasing a scarf, why not purchase one that tells a story you can feel good about?
To learn more about SLATE + SALT, check out their member directory profile.