Today we’re sharing part two of our interview with Calli – founder of the ethical lifestyle shop, Storyweaver Mercantile. If you missed it, you can catch part one here. We think it’s a must read for any mom, business owner and especially for anyone who falls into both categories. The tips she shared are so motivational and extremely helpful. Now we’ll get to hear more about where she finds her inspiration and see a few of her favorite pieces. To me, this is the part of the interview that’s equivalent to coffee shop talk with your best girlfriends. Which I kinda love. So here we go…
What do you love MOST about what you do?
Oh, goodness! Well, it’s a tie, I think.
First, spending my days with my kids and having the freedom to order our lives according to our values. For example, we took a road trip/field trip last week where we visited some good friends in Tulsa but also explored two fabulous museums and a nature preserve, and we listened to an amazing audio book while on the road. It was a week of freedom, education, togetherness, adventure, and friendship—these are our family values. And we were even able to fit in a Storyweaver photo shoot on the Tallgrass Prairie of Oklahoma!
Second, the joy and deep satisfaction I get in knowing that Storyweaver truly is making an impact, even if in a small way. Every order I place with our partner organizations is supporting their artisans + their mission to give back, and every purchase a sweet customer makes through my shop is allowing me to continue supporting the artisans. It’s really so cool!
Do you have any favorite items from your shop? We would love to see a photo!
I honestly love every single item I stock. It’s a prerequisite. I want to feel confident and excited about every beautiful handmade item in my shop. With that being said, the new All Leather Tote from JOYN is definitely my new favorite (I might have kept one for myself). The leather is gorgeous, and the block-printed interior makes it super unique. The Indigo Weekender and our new collection of Haitian jewelry would be close runners up. And of course, you know I love the Joybound Sucre Clutch!
What tip can you share with anyone who is making the switch to purchasing and wearing ethical?
First of all, give yourself grace—like everything meaningful in life, it’s a journey. We’re all learning along the way.
Secondly, watch The True Cost on Netflix. It is a fabulous documentary about the realities of fast fashion. It provides the perfect starting point, in my opinion.
I like to compare the journey into ethical buying habits to the journey into clean living. Just like I once learned about “the dirty dozen and the clean fifteen” for when buying organic food, or the top 5 most dangerous chemicals in most cosmetics, there are a few big rules of thumb to live by when wanting to avoid companies that are perpetuating the unethical standards in the garment industry. Start by knowing the top “fast fashion” retail chains and avoiding them. Then, learn to identify the countries with little to no workers rights (Bangladesh + Cambodia being the worst, from the last I checked). If a garment is cheap and made in one of these countries, it’s likely the reason the factory was moved to this country was to avoid human rights laws and to pay bottom dollar.
Next (and I think the most fun): try shopping second hand. There are so many benefits to it! You are extending the life of a garment, preventing it from ending up in a landfill, and being a wise steward of your resources. Plus, you don’t have to worry about where the garment was made when buying second hand. I LOVE “treasure hunting” at consignment shops and even thrift stores. When I lived in Dallas, I knew the best spots, but since moving to a small town, online options have become more appealing. I recently placed my first Thredup order, and I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the experience and of the garments I received. If you sign up for their email list, they often run one-day sales, and that can be a great time to give it a try. One small caveat I’ve found with secondhand shopping is that it can require self control, because it often becomes tempting to overbuy when it’s so cheap.
Which brings me to: buy less! I don’t technically “capsule” but my sis-in-law Caroline of Un-fancy has been a huge influence on my shopping habits, particularly in having an intentional, minimal closet and only purchasing items that fit your “curated collection.” I honestly don’t shop much, but when I do, I have in mind a short list of our current family wardrobe needs.
Another important point is that when possible, try to buy items “Made in the USA” and from independent designers, makers, and shops. I do this as much as possible.
Finally, buy items that are from companies and organizations that are actively trying to “do good” in the world through their sourcing: providing dignified employment for marginalized people, educating and training their artisans, and (like many of my partner organizations) social business that were truly created with a purpose and mission for making a difference in the world. You can find a list of such businesses at The Good Trade and a database where you can research your favorite brands at Project Just.
Can you share your favorite blog /website for inspiration?
Well, as you know, my sis-in-law, Caroline Rector of Un-fancy has been such a partner, friend, inspiration, and cheerleader for me during this journey! She and my other awesome sister-in-law, both being younger and super-stylish, serve as constant inspiration for me. They entered our family when I was deep into my teaching career, working crazy hours, having and nursing babies—and during that season, I had completely lost my sense of style. It just wasn’t a priority. But then they spiced things up in our family and reminded me that true style is more about individuality and personality than about following the new trends and wearing designer labels.
Some other bloggers + Instagrammers who inspire me are Lisa Ensor of Lizzy Loves Health (who is my good friend & website model), Jaana of This Mom’s Gonna Snap, Natalie Borden, Andrea Hartman of Seasons and Salt, Ali Peterson of All Things Ali J, and of course, YOU. Although I enjoy looking cute, I’ve never considered myself a fashionista (by any stretch of the imagination)! But over the last few years, I’ve grown to enjoy defining my own style.
And of course, we can’t let you go without asking one of our favorite questions… how does your work bring you joy?
Oh, it brings me so much JOY to know that—even in my small way—I’m actively pursuing Justice, Mercy, and Hope. But more intimately, I’m finding deep joy in the community that is growing around Storyweaver. Sharing stories of HOPE with other women who, like yourself, have chosen an intentional life full of purpose—now, that brings me JOY! Thank you for the opportunity to share my story here. I love what you are doing and am honored to contribute.
Thank you for taking time out of your schedule to chat with us Calli! The JOYBOUND promo code for 15% off your order is still good until the end of the month. That gives you two days to snatch up an amazing, ethically made piece.