Follow the Route

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At Route, we are fascinated by the power of the supply chain.  Who is involved with getting a product from maker to customer?  What is a product made of?  What type of facility?  In what part of the world?  We often say that ethical fashion can end slavery, child labor and so many other problems with current production practices.

How?  In our opinion, you have to KNOW THE ROUTE.

How that connection is made, the link between maker, partner group, Route and our customer, can create lasting solutions to heartbreaking problems like slavery, child labor or dangerous working conditions.  Part of our job is to tell those stories, to show you the Route and how it is protecting and saving and revolutionizing production.

After months of working we have come up with ways to visually represent this exciting relationship.  We are excited to announce the Follow the Route tab attached to each of our products.  We’ve linked maps that show the Route and a quick story of each partner group and their world changing work.

Enjoy!  Keep asking questions and when you know the Route you can purchase to change the world.

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Featuring; Pop-Up Shops!

Pop up shops have been such a fun way for us to interact with the St. Louis community. We’ve done a mix of home parties, as well as pop up shops at festivals and event spaces.

This week, we’ll be at Pure Barre in Ladue on Friday afternoon (we’re talking free/donation based dance class, wine, and beautiful jewelry and clothing from Route!), and then the Tower Grove farmer’s market on Saturday morning. Events are always fun, being able to share the Route story and engage with the world.

Do you have an event you’d like us to be at, or know someone that wants us to do a trunk show in their home? Let us know!


Introducing; Elegantees

We were so excited to discover an incredible organization making well designed basics. Based in Nepal, Elegantees works with talented women, teaching them to sew if they don’t already have the skill, and provide counseling and healing.
Here is a note directly from the Elegantees Team:
“We are happy to share photos of two of our sewers in particular. Gita and Binita have become our “poster artisans” as they’ve been with us the longest and feel fully restored! They also have everything resolved with their traffickers, that we can share their faces and their names. Gita and Binita autograph many of the hang tags as well so customers can connect with them through their purchase.
Both of them were victims of sex trafficking until they were rescued at the Nepali-Indian border where their traffickers had them in route to the Middle East. Once they were rescued, they received counseling and healing from our nonprofit partner. During the process, they learned how to sew. Today they are able to sew with Elegantees for a living and are finding more joy in life. They are forever overcomers.”
We are so excited to be carrying Elegantees basics, including this ruffled peplum tank that looks perfect with the pencil skirts from Synergy. Watch for pieces on sale via instagram in the coming weeks and styled in our Spring Lookbook!

Featuring; Greenola

Greenola Team Route

We have been deeply touched by the authenticity and humility of the Greenola team.  They don’t claim to be perfect and acknowledge that they are on a journey to facilitate ethical production while holistically supporting communities.

Their vision is to empower makers around the world through design training, community building, and health services. In 2009 they started in Bolivia with 12 makers and since then they have grown to Kenya and India with over 75 makers.  In Bolivia, they have sent artisans to local universities for design classes and have been able to train leadership positions within the cooperatives.

Creating systems beyond employment is a priority for the Greenola team.  They provide access to healthcare to all of the makers including free eyeglass.  They also work to help them open businesses in their own communities.  Working alongside the makers, they strive to understand each individual’s potential, personal goals and visions for the community.  With years of invested work they are seeing tremendous and lasting impact, as well as the pleasure of making life long friends and colleagues.

Greenola Earrings

The Next Step On Our Journey….Hello Holidays

The beginning of November is the deep breathe before the parties and the shopping and the family and the crazy. At Route, we know the holiday time of year so well, we work hard to prepare for it and we breathe. We do what we can to create space in our time and our thoughts to remember why we are here, what we are doing and why it is significant. Selling anything can feel like selling your soul, pushing products, encouraging people to spend money on items they may or may not need. Balancing simplicity with social expectations-what we may want and what we may need. Longing to give generously and hoping deeply that the gift will be just right, appreciated and communicate our love.

The holidays are a step for us, a step in the direction of world change – we sell more in the next two months than the rest of the year combined. We work hard to choose what we will offer wisely, to maximize impact and to communicate clearly that giving a gift from Route is also giving hope and sustainable change. We want to have pieces that you want to give. Pieces that are beautiful and well made, that you would be proud to wear and carry. So please, buy more! In doing so, know that we are proud to sell to you, to stand behind each beautiful piece and are confident that the purchase you make will bring happiness, joy and everything that we work so hard to remember during this season.

Breath with us, and remember the change, then celebrate the difference we are making together!

Introducing Route

Hi Friends, Welcome to Route!
Here at Route, we are committed to providing our customers the best in ethically produced jewelry, clothing, accessories, gifts and home goods.  Ethical production means every maker is provided at least safe working conditions and fair wages.
We work with over 25 partner groups.   Some not-for-profit and others for-profit; each company committed to ethically employing our makers.  Many partner groups go beyond fair wages and employment to supporting the communities and providing education and healthcare for their employees and/or use recycled materials and consider environmental impact in production.
By purchasing from us, you start a route that begins with the maker.  Each maker is safely and sustainably employed – your purchase ensures that.
The route continues to our partner group, who is also supported by your purchase.  Every organization we purchase from is run by caring, thoughtful entrepreneurs who are changing the world by changing production practices.
Next stop, Route. We carefully choose products considering the first two stops, the maker and the partner group.  We also work hard to find products that are fashionable. We want you to be able to choose an ethically produced piece over a piece from a major retailer that is not ethically made and love it even more!   We are committed to revealing the path of each product and telling the stories of world change made possible by each purchase.
Lastly, your purchase makes this path possible and supports the movement of conscious purchasing.  As you invest in ethically produced pieces there will be less slavery, more children in school and out of the workforce, and fewer deaths from unsafe working conditions.
A group of committed women started Route in 2008 as Mustard Seed Fair Trade in Downtown Columbia, Missouri. In the beginning of 2015, we began the process of changing our name to something that reflected more of a journey. Maker to Producer, Us to You.
Though the things we sell are important, the people involved are why we are here and the many women who make Route happen, are all brave, determined, and compassionate women, who are changing the path their lives are on.
 Our job is to make those connections and to create Routes for relationships that change lives and change the world.

Route is a nonprofit, 501c3, organization that alleviates poverty by selling ethically produced goods and educates our community on the impact of employment and empowerment.  See our non-profit 990 here.