Moomah the Magazine
The Green Egg and The Haiti Project

The Green Egg and The Haiti Project

The Haiti Projects is a fair trade, non-profit, sewing and knitting cooperative located in Fond des Blancs, Haiti - a poor mountainous area 75 miles south west of Port au Prince.  Most of the residents of Fond des Blancs live with their impoverished children on less than one dollar day. It was founded in 1994 and registered in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The mission of the Haiti Projects is to provide work and a stable income for women to help lift themselves out of poverty. By providing rural Haitian women with an earned income, Haiti Projects has had a tangible impact on raising the quality of life for those in need.

Owner and founder of hand-stitched tee shirt company The Green Egg, Tracey Davidow has been a big supporter of The Haiti Projects from day one. Inspired by her desire to help her global community, while at the same time doing what she can to help her local community, we asked Tracey to share with us a little bit about the different ways she is working to give back.

WHAT IS THE GREEN EGG?

The Green Egg represents a simple, creative and thoughtful way to approach life that is shared through a stylish, fun line of hand-stitched tees for children. All tee-shirts are made by hand so that no two shirts are the same. With countless clever designs to choose from, each tee is 100% cotton, made in the USA. All felt appliqués are made from 100% post-consumer plastic.

WHY DO YOU BELIEVE BEING ECO-FRIENDLY IS SO IMPORTANT WHEN IT COMES TO CLOTHING?

There is no sense in being wasteful in todays world. Everyone can make a difference in this regard, no matter how large or small their contribution. This is certainly true with our line and our everyday life.

The fun felt appliqués on our Green Egg tees are made from 100% post consumer plastic called Eco-fi. For every pound of Eco-fi fiber produced, 10 bottles are saved from landfill. The more tees sold, the more plastic is being re-used and recycled. Not to mention that the Eco-fi felt is completely washable so the tees machine wash and are Earth-friendly.

 

HOW DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THE HAITI PROJECTS?

In 2010 The Green Egg partnered with Haiti Projects. The mission of the Haiti Projects is to empower women in rural Haiti to lift themselves out of poverty, become self-sufficient, and help build their communities. It is the Green Egg’s goal to provide as much work as possible, and bring in an income, to the women artisans. The more tees sold, the bigger the salary the women are able to earn. The Green Egg also donates $1 to the organization for each tee that is stitched in the USA.

I first started supporting the Haiti Projects in our store, selling their products. Later I packaged their hand knit baby hats in The Green Egg gift baskets.

WHAT WAS IT ABOUT THE PROJECTS THAT MADE YOU WANT TO GET INVOLVED?

I believed in the cooperative’s mission from day one. After the devastating earthquake in Haiti in January 2010, I was at an event to bring greater awareness about Haiti Projects rapid expansion in response to the desperate needs of the country. It was then I knew I wanted to do more than just write a check. I wanted to help give them their livelihood back and rebuild their lives and communities. A few weeks later, I received an order from a new retailer, one much larger than we had ever produced; it was then I turned to The Haiti Projects to see if we could work together. A month later, the Green Egg sent a sample run to Haiti and the rest is history. To date we have sent close to 10,000 tees to The Haiti Project.

 

WHAT IS THE TEE SHIRT MAKING PROCESS LIKE, FROM THE U.S. TO HAITI AND BACK?

With so many companies looking for ways to cut costs, this little t-shirt company is making small differences. We have chosen a hard and more expensive road, with each garment being made from quality products in the USA and then stitched with the help of amazing women in Haiti. The Green Egg places their large textile orders for infant wear with a factory in Happauge, New York and toddler sizes with American Apparel in California, helping to create jobs. The Green Egg then has all of their whimsical appliqués laser cut by a company in Haverhill, Massachusetts at one point keeping their machines running in down times. Lastly, before sending the shirts abroad to Haiti, we assemble the pieces in our studio (a converted barn) now in Stowe, Vermont with the help of a small team of dedicated employees including my husband Steve. It is then that the Green Egg sends as much of the sewing they can to the Haiti Projects. There, the women add the decorative stitching to each item.

The Green Egg sends the unfinished tees by ship from Boston Harbor to the main harbor in Port au Prince.  It takes up to 1 month to travel by ship. Then it takes 1-2 weeks for the tees to go through customs. Only then are they taken 75 miles into the mountains of Haiti to the women’s cooperative. Once finished, the tees are then sent back, depending on the timing either by plane or ship. This part of the process is overwhelming at times as working with Customs Officials in Haiti can be challenging, but still we believe it is worth it. When we started our little company in 2008 I never thought we’d be enlisting the help of women 1,800 miles away, but now I really wouldn’t have it any other way.

 
 

HOW MUCH OF AN EFFECT IS THE GREEN EGG HAVING ON THE WOMEN’S LIVES IN HAITI?

I am in a position, not only to make a life for my family doing something I love, but also to give the same opportunity to these other mothers in Haiti. The work that we provide these women 1,100 miles away, dramatically improves the quality of their lives and communities. It is the Green Egg's goal to provide as much work as possible bringing an income to the women artisans. To date, we have sent close to 10,000 tees to the Haiti Projects. The more tees sold, the bigger salary the women are able to earn.  As you can see there is a theme with The Green Egg - the more tees sold, the more good is being done. I am committed to helping these women help themselves.

Haiti Projects is certified Fair Trade and we pay the women per piece well above the Haitian minimum wage, which is 32 gourdes per hour. The average Haitian lives on $1 a day. The Cooperative pays 70 gourdes per hour, which is equivalent to $1.75 per hour. Women report an average income increase of over 250% after working for Haiti Projects. This does not include the 32% of workers who were unemployed prior to working for the Women's Cooperative and who increased their income, on average, from 0 to 2150 gourdes per month. Haiti Projects workers earn, on average, 262% more than the national minimum wage.  All salary paid from the stitching of the Green Egg shirts goes directly to the cooperative.

 

The Haiti Projects established the Artisanat Cooperative to bring the embroidery skills of local women to a global market. Through this Cooperative, Haiti Projects provides economic opportunity to a rural area in dire need of income and employment. Today, the Cooperative employs 100 women and together has built a self-sustaining community which includes a women’s health clinic, a community library and regional learning center with public access to technology. It is pretty amazing what these women have been able to accomplish.  We are very proud to even play a small role in helping these determined and talented women.
Before working, only 17% of women could afford to send their children to school. Now 100% of our employees can and do send their children to school.

WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE HAPPEN IN THE FUTURE FOR THE GREEN EGG AND THE HAITI PROJECT?

As The Green Egg continues to grow and add new fun creative products to its line of tees, onesies and bags, I am committed to continuing to help the women of Fond de Blanc. We are exploring ways to simplify the process in the future, but the goal remains the same: To continue to help empower these talented women, to lift themselves out of poverty, and to help to them help themselves create a better life for their families.

WHERE CAN YOU FIND THE GREEN EGG PRODUCTS?

The Green Egg tees can be found in over 150 select children’s stores including Giggle stores nationwide, ABC Home and Carpet in New York City and www.thegreeneggshop.com.
 

WANT TO MAKE YOUR OWN TEE?

Tracey gave us a little craft to do at home:

I love to sit and make T-shirts with my daughter Penny (who is almost 8 years old). Some days she is a tomboy and others a little fashionista! Whatever mood Penny is in can be expressed on her shirt. She has so many tees that arrive home from school covered in paint, marker or even food which almost tell the story of the fun she had throughout her day. Many of these "oopsies" are permanent, but instead of turning the shirt into a dust rag, we make it new again.
All it takes is a few pieces of construction paper, felt, fabric glue, pen or marker and scissors, which can be found at any local craft store.  You will also need your child to pick out an idea for their new tee shirt - it can be inspired by anything - an animal, truck or even a favorite doll.

The steps are easy:

1. CHOOSE a shirt and gather felt, pen or marker, fabric glue and scissors.
2. COME UP with an image. We chose Penny's favorite doll.
3. CREATE a template by finding a picture of the image and printing or tracing it onto construction paper.
4. CUT the image out.
5. TRACE the image with your maker using your template onto your fabric.
6. CUT the shapes traced on the fabric.
7. ARRANGE felt shapes on the shirt.
8. GLUE your pieces onto the shirt.
9. LET DRY and you are ready to wear!

 
 

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE GREEN EGG >>
CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE HAITI PROJECTS >>

Posted in: Discover & Learn   Make A Difference   

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