Molly Acord is the founder of Fair + Simple, a company created around the act of gift-giving. Desiring to give people a simpler way of gifting products that are fair trade and that have a humanitarian impact, Molly created a gift card that can be redeemed for any item in an ethically sourced collection. “Gift giving is my love language, handmade is close to me, and serving others is a privilege. This is where I fit.”
What inspired you to start Fair and Simple?
There was a point when I realized that my buying practices were likely having a negative impact on the world, and I began to educate myself on how to change. It is so overwhelming, and almost paralyzing, at first. I was inspired to start Fair+Simple from a desire to make it simple to give a cause-based, socially-conscious gift.
Where does the name Fair + Simple come from, and what does it represent?
The idea for a simple gift card fell from the sky, and I knew immediately it was a calling. I called my husband, a school-teacher, and right away pitched the idea. He also received an equally excited call a few minutes later with the idea for our brand name. Fair means that every gift in our collection is fairly-traded and cause-based. Simple represents this idea that a recipient of a F+S card can redeem it for any single item in the collection. When you don’t know what to get someone but you want to shop ethically, you can give a card and let them choose their own gift.
Fair trading | Simple giving.
What values do you want your company to represent?
We desire to offer a meaningful gift that simplifies our customer’s life, while positively impacting the person behind the product. We value sustainability which involves both ethical manufacturing and intentional design.
What do you hope to change in the way we as a society consume products?
Gift giving is a unique time to make a difference. Instead of defaulting to a Starbucks gift card (no offense to Starbucks!) every time someone isn’t sure what to give, I want customers to use that opportunity to support fair-trade artisans around the world who have need. Instead of careless and easy, it’s careful and simple.
What is the humanitarian impact of the companies F+S supports?
We seek to benefit those in high need. The gifts in our collection support a series of impact including clean water initiatives, a recovery house for women, fair paying jobs for impoverished people, vocational training, micro-loans, and educational sponsorships. While I love culturally rich and highly skilled artisan products, my heart is more geared for the marginalized people who have nothing: no skills, no startup money, no market access.
Does Fair + Simple look into eco-friendly products as well, or do you focus more on the social impact primarily?
To me, environmental and social responsibility are inextricably linked. I believe social impact starts at the supply chain. If you are using natural fabric, that means it starts at the seed and the farmers who grow it. This extends to how a product is made, how it is used by customers, and how it ends its life cycle. People and planet are all over these steps. We have also noticed that the fair trade world is a bit inundated with items like jewelry, scarves, and leather goods. We will always have these items in our collection where impact is the greatest, but we are currently making strides for some products that support our values for simple living and high impact sourcing.
How do you go about choosing which companies to partner with?
We look for companies that have both a beautiful mission and product. I believe women and education are the main catalyst for change in a community, so we primarily work with companies that support these two initiatives. We also need to have a well-rounded collection, so this plays a factor in which companies are in the collection. No matter what, the cause of the company must be the main reason why they exist and they need to align with our developed standards of production. I have a deepening desire to connect customers with the person behind the product, so I have started to work directly with groups where there is a high need. This includes single moms weaving coop in Peru and a sewing coop in the Philippines! These products are scheduled to launch in the Spring. I only have so much buying power, so I make it count.
In a perfect dream world, what is your ideal future in terms of the way consumers and makers interact and trade and purchase goods?
In my dream world, consumers are intentional about purchases. Over-consumption is obsolete, and people buy what they need and take care of what they have and give where there is need. Less disposable, less carelessness, less disconnect. More reuse, more intention, and much more connection.
To help with your gift-giving endeavors, Fair + Simple is offering TheDebtist readers 15% off with the coupon code “debtist15“. As always, every item in the collection gives back to a partner company’s mission. Offer valid until March 31, 2018.