Hospitality in Consumption
Guest Blogger: Kerri Lehmann, Founder of Savvy Bohème in Cedar Hill, TX
Guest blogger Kerri Lehmann, Founder of Savvy Bohème in Cedar Hill, Texas, sources Fair Trade ingredients for her line of body care products whenever she can. Keri tells the story of how she came to learn about Fair Trade and why she is dedicated to Make Every Purchase Matter.
In the summer of 2006, I attended a sort of meeting-of-minds gathering in Ventura, California. I was invited by a highly intelligent and amply humane friend who always seems to spend his energies wisely, and his actions produce much fruit. So, when he recommended this particular conference, my husband and I wrote our living wills, made a bedtime video for the kids to watch in our absence, and headed west for a half-week of brain and soul-stretching observations on the subject of Hospitality.
It was during this time that I realized that a) I wasn't as smart as I thought I was, and b) I wasn't as hospitable as I claimed to be. Throughout the entire conference, with each perceptive idea presented, all I kept thinking was, "Man, I don't understand a word you just said...but I like it." It was sort of like the Dumb and Dumber movie moment when Lloyd asks the waitress what the "soup du jour" was, and she replies, "it's the soup of the day", to which he says, "ummmm...that sounds good. I'll have that". I knew I was in for a cranial explosion when I walked into a break-out session titled, "Hospitality in Lament".
The gathering was interesting in many ways, but an underlying theme of social injustice pervaded the conversations. The man who headed the gathering was also in the process of gearing up to launch a global initiative for slave labor awareness. His heart was, as he put it, "interrupted" for the cause, and his presentation of the state of human injustices through slavery was compelling.
It was through these conversations that I knew I could not continue on with my current habit of purchasing based on cost or convenience. I learned about more common instances of slave labor, in the coffee and chocolate industry, but it wasn't until I founded Savvy Bohème and began sourcing ingredients for body care products that I realized the need to purchase Fair Trade.
Shea butter, sugar, cocoa butter, honey, beeswax, and olive oil- all are raw ingredients that are purchased from international sources, and often are produced by slave laborers (including children) or unfairly treated farmers. Going into business, I knew I was going to have to make very conscientious sourcing selections, and that I would have to operate under certain limitations. But in my mind, there were no other options. I could never knowingly support slavery or contribute to the continuation of harm toward another.
Today, with every new product that I create, I can freely say that each ingredient has been carefully selected and its origins researched (to the point of soul irritation to my suppliers!) so that my audience can rest assured that each purchase has either contributed to the betterment of a group, or at the least, not contributed to its harm.
At Savvy Bohème, we have made a deliberate decision to participate in the Fair Trade system. We wanted to be a part of the deconstruction of a system that devastates the lives of our global brothers and sisters, knowing that our small business changes will result in huge social changes for millions of people. We also feel honored to be able to have the opportunity, through our profit donations to Fair Trade USA, to be a part of the reconstruction of justice and fair trade among those same brothers and sisters. Every Purchase Matters.
Kerri Lehmann is the founder of Savvy Bohème in Cedar Hill, Texas. Savvy Bohème is a line of body care products made with REAL ingredients that the body recognizes and knows what to do with.