Posted on

Our New Spring Line Will Have You Looking Sustainably Chic!

New clothes, new jewelry, new home décor—I love them. I love the excitement of wearing something new or having a new piece of furniture in the house. Who does not love that? We may be in a world where fashion and style varies from person to person, but I think we can all agree that we all feel some sense of excitement when that new item we worked hard for comes in.

Over this past year, my journey has shifted. I still enjoy new things, but at what cost? I want to know where my items are coming from. Are the items I am purchasing helping the artisan that developed it or are those items aiding to the ever-growing issue of forced labor?

The good news: I am not the only one asking these questions. There are so many wonderful and progressive companies and individuals out there that have also asked these tough questions. These companies and individuals are the trailblazers in a whole new world of how we should shop. This is one of the many reasons why I am so thankful to be a part of the HandUp team.

This past week we launched our new spring line! If you have not checked it out, you can here. An amazing innovator in the world of ethical and sustainable living, Natalie from Sustainably Chic, did a write-up about us and introduced our spring line launch! We are beyond thrilled that she has shared with her audience about HUGG.

Picture by @sustainablychic wearing our new Ombre Pendant, Katelyn and Akolad bracelet

If you do not know about Sustainably Chic, I highly recommend you check her out. With a background in fashion, Natalie decided she did not want to work in the industry unless she could see a change in the way business was done. She has since started a blog to build a community of fair trade and sustainable fashion. You can truly see her heart in all that she promotes and we are in love with the write-up she did about us. If you missed it, you can check that out here.

Picture via @sustainablychic. Did you know that each purchase comes with a picture of one of artisans?

If you are as passionate as we are about fair trade (and I know you are), check out Sustainably Chic. You can follow her on both Facebook and Instagram @sustainablychic. From all of us at HUGG, thank you so much Natalie!

Posted on

These are a Few of My Favorite (Fair Trade) Things

I have had the privilege of blogging with HandUp for over a year. Over a year now! That is crazy! I have loved blogging for everyone and I am thankful for each of you who read my posts each week. Thank you for growing with me through this process. I have learned so much about fair-trade, ethical business practices and American-made products. I love supporting these companies and below I have compiled a list of some of my most favorite products:

1.       Mata Traders

I love clothes. I love patterns. Mata Traders provides both of my loves in one super cute package. What makes this clothing brand even better is how they support those who make their clothes. You can read more about them here or here.


2.       LUSH

LUSH has made me like baths! I know I am a grown up and I am not supposed to care about some of this…but give a girl a bath bomb that makes your water fun colors and has glitter and you have won her heart! This company rocks. 

I have also fallen in love with LUSH make-up. I have talked about this before, but I am a creature of habit when it comes to my make-up. I am pretty low maintenance when it comes to what I put on my face. I just ask one, yes ONE, thing of my make-up: that it STAYS on! Come now, is that too much to ask? Well clearly those at LUSH want the same thing because their make-up does. It stays on! I could go on and on. Just trust me on this. Try it and you will be in love. You can check out more on them here.


3.       Dr. Bronner

This is my most favorite body wash. It smells good, it makes my skin feel awesome. Not only is this product ethically sourced, it is available at just about any grocery store which makes it super convenient to pick up. You can read more about them here.


4.       Coconut Sugar

Yes. It is true. I am totally on the coconut oil/sugar bandwagon. I cannot help it. I love it! My newest obsession is coconut sugar. I have a major sweet tooth and it must be feed daily. If not, I am not responsible for what happens. Now, I am not saying that coconut sugar magically turns into chocolate cake, however it does help curb the sweet I am craving. Put coconut sugar on top of any fruit (my personal favs are strawberry and bananas) and you will be blown away. Promise. Do it! You can read more about this brand of fair-trade coconut sugar here.


5.       Sweet Maria’s

My husband loves to roast his own coffee and I, being the team player that I am, love to drink freshly roasted coffee. So if you are looking for ethically sourced green coffee beans, Sweet Maria’s is a fantastic choice. You can check out more about them here and here.


6.       Texas Sweet Tees

This American-made t-shirt company has become one of my favorites. Their t-shirts are soft and comfortable, they fit great, and they are super fun. They always have the cutest and funniest sayings. I currently own 3, but that will be greatly increasing as I add to my capsule wardrobe. My favorite is pictured below.


7.       TOMS

I have been a huge TOMS fan since before I was even really aware of what fair-trade was. I just loved the concept of this company: that for each pair of shoes I buy, they donate a pair to a kid in need. I loved that missional-mindedness of this company. Now, of course, it has since grown and now encompasses so much more, from eye glasses to safe baby deliveries to coffee. While the fair-trade stamp is not on TOMS, they do adhere to California Transparency in Supply Chains Act and they are committed to fair labor practices within their supply chain (you can read more about that here).

8.       HandUp Global Goods

Saving the best for last: my most favorite fair-trade jewelry company is HandUp Global Goods. I love our story. I love our artisans and how hard they work on their craft. I love each and every person that works and volunteers for HUGG. Our Spring collection is getting ready to debut and you do not want to miss out!


Hope you enjoyed. Try these companies if you have not and message me about any other fair-trade and/or American-made company you love.

Posted on

Giveaway | Shea Yeleen Apple Lip Balm

Want to try this yummy, Shea Butter goodness? Read on…..

Anyone who knows me, or has read my blogs, knows that I am OBSESSED (just a little) with coffee. Don’t worry, it is a healthy obsession and I truly believe it is a beautiful gift from God.

So knowing this, coffee would be my number one thing on my list that I would not want to live without. Coming in at a very close second would be LOTION!!! I know that seems a little strange, but I promise you there is nothing that makes me more crazy than dry skin. I carry lotion everywhere with me. I use it as soon as I wash my hands, get out of the shower, and I use it on my hands if I have been grading too many papers (y’all, paper makes your hands really dry and it freaks me out just thinking about it).

So the last Monday of our beauty product month is dedicated to shea butter. Not just any shea butter, but shea butter that is fair trade! Shea Yeleen International works with women in rural West Africa. The goal is for them to help connect the local market economy with the global economy so they can improve impoverished communities of the world. They specifically work with women that are shea butter producers. They help to provide them with better quality tools, production techniques, and training to help them thrive. They want these women to receive a fair wage and for the consumer to receive a great quality product.


“Shea Yeleen™ natural skin care products exclusively use pure, unrefined shea butter sourced fairly and ethically from women-owned cooperatives in sub-Saharan Africa. Our shea butter is high-quality, grade A, organic shea butter produced using traditional methods, never using chemicals or bleach.”

Their product is excellent too! I got the Lavender Honeysuckle and it smells like a spa; fresh and not overpowering. The texture is smooth and not greasy. It leaves your skin soft and super smooth. Not only do they make amazing shea butter, but they also make lip balm. I have been using their Coconut Peach but I happen to have two more to give away. I have one apple lip balm and one honey lip balm. It can be yours for free. All you have to do is like our Facebook page and comment on the blog’s Facebook post by tagging someone who may be interested in fair trade lip balm or wants to know more about HUGG. I will announce the winners at the end of the day on our Facebook page.


Happy end of the month! Here’s to a great Fall!

Leslie Swiney