The world is mostly not a nice place. Route is paving the way to make it a little bit nicer. Started my good friend Margaret Zakarian’s cousin, Christina Weaver, Route is an online shop selling everything from jewelry and clothing to gifts and home goods. But that’s not all. Every single item offered on the site is ethically produced, which means that every maker is provided safe working conditions and fair wages.
Route works with over 25 partners, some not-for-profit and others for-profit, but what they all have in common is that they are each committed to ethical employment, they are run by “caring, thoughtful entrepreneurs who are changing the world by changing production practices.” Many of them go beyond fair wages and safe working conditions to include a variety of other supports as well: outreach in their maker’s communities, providing education, healthcare, using environmentally sustainable production practices such as natural dyes or remnant fabrics or the use of renewable energy sources. Each product on the site is carefully selected to also be high quality, fashionable and have the highest impact. From clothing sourced from zero-waste facilities in Cambodia to micro-jewelry made by refugees in the U.S., the stories are endless.
This small nonprofit believes strongly in the power of purchasing to change the status quo. Child labor, dangerous factories and slavery plague the production industries. Route believes that every purchase of an ethically made product is one significant step away from those atrocities and towards a safer, more equitable world. Purchases from Route, and other ethically sourced retailers, create paths — routes — from maker to customer that are safe and sustainable. In a time when there are more slaves than ever before; when hundreds die every year because of unsafe working conditions; when millions of children are working instead of going to school – the more we are committed to ethical purchasing from Route, and others like them, the more we can help. Check them out at shoproute.org or @knowtheroute. They also have a brick and mortar store in Columbia, Missouri, so if you’re in the hood, please stop in, say hi and tell them we sent you.
If this isn’t the best way to make the world a nicer and better place, then I don’t know what is.