Over the last decade of working with people in the commercial sex industry, one common frustration has continued to rise to the surface: jobs. 89% of those within the sex trade say they want out but have no other means of survival. JSL is aiming to change that through Lovely Enterprises, a retail storefront at 1500 Columbus Ave.Lovely is aimed at reducing recidivism into the sex trade through providing living wage jobs and launching micro businesses. One thing is certain: we work with some of the most resourceful, strategic, driven people we have ever encountered. Following in the footsteps of our friend and over-comer, Summer Shine - owner and operator of Luna Juice Bar, Lovely will empower survivors through job creation and small business start ups. Just like Luna, we believe in people with a past. Women are still predominantly the most at risk for sex work and also some of the most vulnerable to sexual violence in the workplace. Most of the women JSL serves are mothers, so when we dream about giving jobs with dignity and purpose, we dream with the children in mind. Lovely has the ability to change generational poverty! Do you want to change lives?
Some of our first products within the store will be handmade items like leather jewelry taught to us by local artist Aaron Konzelman, and a signature cinnamon bun taught to us by our founders Aunt Mammy. Future products will be created by those JSL serves and/or employs in collaboration with other local artisans. We will also be selling fair trade and ethically sourced T-shirts as well as candles, and bath and body products. Every item will empower women and those vulnerable to exploitation.
Lovely Enterprises will only sell fair trade, socially responsible, and ethically sourced products.
Why is this so important to us? Take a look at the label inside your clothes. Where were they made? Can you say with certainty that they were made fairly and responsibly?
Every day the fashion industry continues to expand. Consumerism tells us to keep up with trends even if it means having excess or exploiting others.
We are a culture of instant gratification.
The documentary, The True Cost (which can be found on Netflix), reveals just how fast we have built and continue to fuel the global fashion industry. But, with it comes the question: at what cost?
- 1 in 6 people are in some way involved in the global fashion industry
- 80,000,000 pieces of clothing are sold every year, a 400% increase from just 20 years ago
- The average American generates 82 pounds of textile waste each year which is 11,000,000 tons of textile waste produced by just the United States
- In the mid-1960s, 95% of our clothes were made in the USA. Now, 97% of our clothes are made abroad.
Our society of fast fashion is at the cost of exploiting people.
“Each year across the world, 1.5 billion garments are sewn by an estimated 40 million people, working in 250,000 factories.These are predominantly made in countries described by the UN as the world’s least developed.”(from http://truecostmovie.com/interview-livia-firth/)
Many of these companies can’t ensure the safety of these factories for the workers or the environment. Emily Mills, our founder, asked a pointed question in the Share the Love video: “How do we give a T-shirt to a victim of sex exploitation that was made on the back of another victim of exploitation? Are we not then supporting the very industry we are fighting against?”
With the launch of Lovely Enterprises, we hope to curb the appetite for fast fashion, and instead, create products that awaken hope and empower change. With every product, we are asking the hard questions about sourcing and production.
We want you to love what you buy, and buy to love. We can wait to change lives with you!
Jersey Schmidt │JSL Director of Social Enterprise