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The Most Popular Alpaca Clothing Styles for Women

Alpaca Clothing for Women

This fall, you can pair alpaca sweaters from Peru with the season’s major trends. From many designers, we’re seeing shocking color combinations, soft fabrics and a resurgence of classic lines. Across New York, Paris and France, autumn styles shine with your favorite wool threads. Keep reading below to see the top ways to work alpaca clothing for women into your wardrobe.

Primaries & Pastels

Last year’s monochromatic looks have morphed to mix primaries with pastels. We’re seeing millennial pink paired with bright reds, yellows and blues. 

According to Vogue, “A few years ago, pale mint and lavender might have felt toothache-sweet in the middle of February. But in 2018, we’re seeing Easter-egg hues everywhere, from powder blue to chiffon yellow and Creamsicle orange.”

alpaca clothing for women
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To create this look, add a bright sweater to pastel jean of the same color family. Pair a hunter green sweater with a mint trouser or a royal blue sweater with a Tiffany blue pant. Take your look one step beyond monochromatic styles by mixing your hues in a single color family.

New Nordic

If you’re still hot for Hygge, you’ll love the New Nordic look. It’s icy and adventurous, with even lighter tones than last winter. “As mystifying as the trend’s (Hygge) arrival may be, what is clear is our cue to shop some deliciously comforting clothing in Scandi shades of oatmeal, greige and mink,” explains Who What Wear.

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For this outfit, start with a white or tan ankle boot that reminds you of stomping through the snow. Layer that with bright white denim and a cream sweater.

What’s cooler than being cool?

This look.

Loose Layers

Channel your inner Stevie Nicks with loose layers. While the boho chic trend cycles each season, this year is distinctly feminine and funky. W Magazine proclaims, “Major outerwear moments…will make you want to bundle up for the next bomb cyclone.”

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This outfit mixes rich materials like alpaca wool, hemp and suede for a distinctly current look. Keep the details lady-like and you’ll steer clear of the early 2000s bag lady style.

Show Us Your Style

We’d love to see how your wear your Alpaca fashions. Follow us on Facebook and tag @spearmanartisanry in your favorite photos. Hope to see your fair trade style soon!

 

Shop more alpaca clothing for women in our online store.

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How to Clean and Store Alpaca Sweaters

Alpaca wool from Peru

If you recently bought an Alpaca sweater, you likely fell in love with the soft, pliable wool and the beautiful, rich color. Like any beloved article of clothing, you’ll want to make it last as long as possible.

Although alpaca wool is a luxurious material, it’s easy to clean and preserve. You just need to understand the wool’s characteristics and follow the tips below. Then, you’ll get to enjoy your beautiful sweater for years to come.

 

Alpaca Wool Characteristics

A natural fiber harvested from alpacas, alpaca wool can be either heavy or light weight. It just depends on how the fibers are spun. Also, the breed of the Alpaca, and the region where they live, creates a variation in wool quality. If you want to know more about the origins of a particular garment, just ask the seller. They can usually tell you more about where the wool was harvested.

Alpaca wool is similar to sheep’s wool but is warmer, softer and has no lanolin. The lack of lanolin makes it naturally hypoallergenic. Other notable characteristics include:

  • Soft
  • Durable
  • Silky
  • Water-repellent
  • Resistant to pilling

Many products are made from alpaca wool using a similar process for other wood. This includes preparing, carding, spinning, weaving and finishing. The end result is a soft, rich knit that most people prefer over “itchy” sheep’s wool.

How to Clean Alpaca Sweaters

After you purchase an Alpaca wool sweater, proper cleaning can extend the wear. In general, this soft wool requires gentle cleaning. So, be careful to use cold water and soft cleaning products. Also, a professional dry cleaner can easily clean your sweater. Just be sure to specify that it’s Alpaca wool when you drop it off.

  1. Fill a clean sink or tub with cold water and a small amount of mild liquid detergent. Avoid products like chlorine bleach or normal detergents.

Pro Tip: Hot water will “shock fibers. They will mat together or start turning into felt.

  1. For 5 minutes, soak the sweater. Gently work the suds through.

Pro Tip: Don’t twist, wring or scrub the sweater.

  1. Rinse the garment in clean, cold water. Run the water two times to remove all of the soap.
  2. Gently squeeze your sweater to remove extra water. Don’t wring it!
  3. Lay the sweater in between two soft, clean towels. Roll them up and set aside for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove the sweater from the towels and place on a dry towel or sweater rack. Carefully shape the sweater.
  5. Allow the sweater to dry while laying flat. Keep away from sunlight and direct heat.

If you have any specific questions about your sweater, talk to the seller. They can give you tips on how to care for your item.

How to Store Alpaca Sweaters

During the off season, you may choose to pack away your Alpaca clothing. Clean it first, using the instructions above. Then, you can carefully store it for the warm weather months.

  1. Identify the most common pests in your area and select repellants. Cedar chips repel most insects. Lavender bunches, or chemical mothballs, discourage moths.
  2. Pack the sweater in a shirt box, pillow case, paper bag or cardboard box. This will keep the air circulating. Avoid plastic bags as this encourages moisture.
  3. Fold your garment carefully to avoid stretching or misshaping.

If you store your sweater carefully, it should last much longer. Then, you’ll get to enjoy an alpaca wool sweater that is as soft as the day you bought it.

Tell Us Your Thoughts!

We’d love to hear what you thought of this article. Do you have any questions or tips? Just let us know in the comments.

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Your Guide to Buying Fair Trade Jewelry

Fair Trade Jewelry from Spearman Artisanry

“I’ve turned my passion for hand-crafted gifts into a globally-minded business, providing an outlet for artists and artisans to share their work with the world.” – Jannett Spearman, Owner Spearman Artisanry

Recently, you may have seen the label Fair Trade attached to some cute jewelry collections. While your love of the unique designs may have sparked your initial interest, it may have also exposed you to a thoughtful movement. Fair Trade extends far beyond coffee and clothing to the jewelry industry. As shoppers have become concerned with stories about international sweatshops, you may have noticed an uptick in advertising that labels jewelry as Fair Trade.

However, it can be confusing. Sometimes, the issue gets cloudy when fair trade items are advertised alongside similar, sweatshop items. Below is our quick guide to buying Fair Trade jewelry.

What Does Fair Trade Mean?

Fair Trade Artisans in Peru
Jannett Spearman, Owner (left) visits artisans in Peru to source new inventory.

If you’re not sure what the term Fair Trade means, you’re not alone. In fact, it was just recently added to the Encyclopedia Britannica. Essentially, it’s a movement with the goal of helping producers in developing countries get a fair price for their products. This helps lower poverty, ensures ethical treatment of workers and encourages environmentally sustainable methods.

Awareness for Fair Trade products is slowly growing. In recent years, Americans have started to consider how goods are produced. This has pressured several Major retailers to examine buying and production practices.

To summarize, Fair Trade focuses on “Three Core Beliefs”:

  • Producers have the power to express unity with consumers.
  • Current world trade practices promote unequal distribution of wealth between nations.
  • Buying products at a fair price is a more efficient way of promoting sustainable development than charity.

Lock Hughes details this in the article “What Fair Trade Actually Means—and 4 Products You Can Feel Good About Buying.”

How Does Fair Trade Benefit Communities?

  1. It helps ensure basic human rights for farmers and workers around the world.
  2. The practice benefits the planet.
  3. The farmers, workers, and fisherman behind each product earn extra money with every sale.

If you hold similar values, then you’ll want to consider buying jewelry from ethical sources.

      

How Do I Find Fair Trade Jewelry?

Finding Fair Trade jewelry is easy. You just need to ask the right questions. Then, you can make an informed purchase. Below are the questions you should ask to find out if jewelry is fair trade.

1.Which countries supply your jewelry?

This question provides insight into the source of the product. For example, some countries have a long history of sweatshops where workers are subjected to unfair wages and unsafe conditions.

The US Department of Labor lists several countries that regularly use child labor or forced labor. Although the organization may not be purchasing from a sweatshop, this question offers insight into their intentions. If they have intentionally set up relationships with responsible groups or directly with makers, they will express that immediately. If they seem unaware or uninterested in the labor conditions of the exporting country, their jewelry may not be Fair Trade.

By asking this question, you can start a conversation about the working conditions of their artisans.

2.How do you select your makers?

Most organizations select providers based on price. While this isn’t a bad thing, the jewelry may not be Fair Trade. Look for companies that have relationships with their artisans or a connection to the local community. Then, they’ll be more interested and engaged with the working conditions and wages of the workers.

3.How do you pay your artists?

This question can be complex. However, the answer should be simple. You just want to make sure the money isn’t going through a middleman that delays payment or takes a large cut. Ideally, workers should be paid quickly and fairly for the jewelry they make. If you get an answer that sounds like money funnels through several channels or groups to reach workers, it might not be Fair Trade. Try to find businesses that buy directly from the makers and pay artists promptly.

4.What is your mission?

Typically, businesses and organizations that focus on Fair Trade build their business around supporting the workers. These companies know the working conditions. Their owners visit makers regularly. They listen to the stories from those communities. Their mission will reflect this focus.

Simply ask about their mission. You should be able to trace their business model back to a desire to help makers in specific communities.

 

 

A Little Research

Often, you can find this information on an organization’s website or by talking to someone at the company. If an organization offers Fair Trade goods, they’ll be more than happy to explain their process and show you more about how they help maker communities around the world. If you want to know more about Fair Trade or how Spearman Artisanry sources our products, feel free to contact us. We’d love to talk to you!

Did you like this article? Help spread the word by sharing it on Facebook.

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Christmas Gift Ideas for Every Lady in Your Life

Spearman Artisanry at Lynchburg Community Market

The quest for the perfect holiday present starts with inspiration, from the personality of the recipient. We’ve collected a list of Christmas gift ideas for every lady in your life that you can shop at Spearman Artisanry, online or in store. Each of these gifts is handmade either by Jannett Spearman or Fair Trade artisans in South America.

For the Maker

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If you are shopping for a woman who likes to work with her hands, consider a soft, slouchy headband. When she gets pulled into a project, she’ll use it to keep her hair out of her face. This Peruvian orange stripe headband is both practical and stylish, complementing all hair colors and styles.

*This is a Fair Trade Gift.

For the Traveler

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Whether your lady prefers to travel by train, plane or running sneakers, she’ll appreciate a new warm winter hat. An essential wardrobe basic, this unisex beanie was handcrafted by artisans in Peru. The band stretches to 24”, so that she can either pull it over her hair or tuck a bun inside.

*This is a Fair Trade Gift.

For the Fashionista

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Encourage your gal’s fashion addiction with trendy ear gear. She’ll love this take on the Southwestern trend with hand crocheted cactus earrings. Made from enameled copper wire, these baubles will inspire her next outfit.

*This is handmade by Jannett Spearman.

For the Foodie

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If you know a woman who can’t eat without taking a photo of her dish, delight her this holiday with a pleasant pineapple earring. Celebrate the most friendly fruit by gifting these hand crocheted pineapple earrings. Made from enameled copper wire, these dangling drops will make her smile.

*This is handmade by Jannett Spearman.

For the Hostess

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After the meal is made and the appetizers are served, the “hostess with the mostess” slips off her apron into something pretty. This year, give her a rabbit blend ruana to wrap those hard-working shoulders. This ruana adds a pop of color to her outfit after she finishes party prep.

*This is a Fair Trade Gift.

For the Homebody

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How about some Hygge for your homebody? Add some global style to her sofa with this red, heart-shaped pillow. The hand-embroidered design is crafted by artisans in Ayacucho, Peru and will pop in any living space.

*This is a Fair Trade Gift.

For the Nature Lover

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Join with your lady as she celebrates the beauty of nature with this handmade “Tree of Life” keychain. The “Tree of Life” has a variety of meanings which includes knowledge, wisdom, and an insight within one’s self. If she are on a quest to find awareness and knowledge, this keychain will refocus her at a glance.

*This is a Fair Trade Gift.

Christmas Gift Ideas

Great Christmas gift ideas start by considering the personality of the recipient. Each of these gifts are ethically sourced, thoughtful and personal. If you don’t see an item to match a special lady in your life, please reach out to us. We’d be happy to help you select or design the perfect piece.

Christmas gift ideas

 

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Everything You Need to Know About Fair Trade

Fair Trade Children's Shoes

At Spearman Artisanry, we primarily offer Fair Trade products both in our store and online. Most of these are from countries in South America and created by artisans that the owner, Jannett Spearman knows personally. So, we describe our shop as “A Fair Trade Boutique.” This means that we purposefully select clothing, jewelry, accessories and homegoods that follow Fair Trade principles.

This matters to us because we have a personal connection with makers and care about the economies of developing nations. If you feel similarly, you might be interested in learning more about Fair Trade. Below is everything you need to know about Fair Trade.

What is “Fair Trade”?

A relatively new social movement, Fair Trade aims to help producers in developing countries through better trading terms, better working conditions, and sustainable production methods. Often, this means that the prices of items are higher than other imported goods because the workers make fair wages and work in safer conditions. In an age where unethical labor practices dominate the international marketplace, Fair Trade companies offer an alternative for thoughtful consumers.

Fair Trade promotes greater equity in international trading partnerships through dialogue, transparency and respect. They want to secure the rights of marginalized producers and workers in developing countries. Fair Trade focuses on “Three Core Beliefs” to help producers in developing countries:

  • Producers have the power to express unity with consumers
  • Current world trade practices promote unequal distribution of wealth between nations
  • Buying products from producers in developing countries at a fair price is a more efficient way of promoting sustainable development than charity or aid.

Which Goods Need Fair Trade?

The U.S. Department of Labor lists some of the worst offenders of forced and child labor by product and country. There are many common items that are typically made with child labor or forced labor. Worse yet, many of these goods are created in unsafe working conditions. If bought from overseas, the following items are often made using unethical labor:

  • Accessories, especially handbags
  • Carpets
  • Chocolate
  • Clothing
  • Cocoa
  • Coffee
  • Coal
  • Cotton
  • Diamonds
  • Gold
  • Electronic Devices
  • Leather
  • Rice
  • Rubber
  • Tobacco
  • Sugarcane

Recently, stories of clothing and accessory factories have made the news with many popular brands accused of operating sweatshops.

How do you shop “Fair Trade”?

While there are certifiers, the movement is somewhat new and still defining its practices. So, the best way to shop “Fair Trade” is to do your own research. Get to know the people behind the companies and the workers that they employ. Instead of falling for slick marketing, you will likely need to communicate with a store owner or importer to understand how they source their goods. Then, you will get a better picture of how those items are produced and imported to America.

Fair Trade Alpaca Scarf
Handmade in Peru

What make Spearman Artisanry “A Fair Trade Boutique”?

Spearman Artisanry brings you handcrafted gifts from artisans both in the US and around the globe. Our goods are primarily fair trade or made locally to ensure that each piece matches our ethical and quality standards. In fact, the owner, Jannett Spearman sources all of the items in our shop directly from the artists.

Jannett started her career in Peru which included learning how to make jewelry by hand. Additionally, she worked alongside her husband and family as a part of various international ministries and nonprofits. Now, her jewelry business has expanded into a fair trade boutique.

Part of the mission of Spearman Artisanry is to support our artists, especially those in South America. By purchasing directly from artisans, and visiting them in person, Jannett can ensure the process by which the goods were produced. Mostly, these are family businesses where relatives work together to handmake homegoods, accessories and clothing.

Everything in Spearman Artisanry is…

  • Ethically Sourced: Jannett knows each of the artisans personally, allowing her to ensure they are treated fairly.
  • Fairly Priced: We want to share our artist’s work with as many people as possible and keeping fair prices allows us to reach more shoppers.
  • High Quality: We only sell items of the highest quality handmade by artists and artisans around the world.
  • Unique to You: All of our gifts bear a bespoke quality and many are one-of-a-kind.

If you want to know more about Fair Trade or how Spearman Artisanry sources our products, feel free to contact us. We’d love to talk to you more about how to be a thoughtful consumer. Stay in touch with us by following our Facebook page.

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Five Ways to Save on Christmas Gifts

Fair Trade Christmas Gifts

“Maybe Christmas, the Grinch thought, doesn’t come from a store.” – Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas

 

When it comes to shopping for Christmas gifts, you can quickly get overwhelmed with the cost of giving. Even if you plan and save for the season, saving a little on gifts is always welcome. At Spearman Artisanry, we love helping our customers find great, valuable gifts. So, we’ve put together a list to help you save on Christmas gifts this year.

Ask the Recipient

Nothing is more disappointing than spending big bucks on a surprise gift that the recipient doesn’t want. Instead of splurging on something unexpected, ask the recipient what they would like for Christmas. Often their choice is more cost-effective than your guess.

Make a List and Compare Prices

The Balance recommends starting with a good list so that you have time to compare prices. They explain, “A List helps you watch for the best price on an item.” Rather than buying on impulse as you browse pricey displays and end caps,  you can thoughtfully choose each item.

Work the Gift Cards and Rewards

Although it takes time and research, you can get rewards and deals by working with your credit card, bank or loyalty programs. Do your research before you shop so that you can plan around these kickbacks. Since you’ve already make a list, per the tip above, you’ll be prepared with a list of gifts and the best places to get them.

Don’t Add Extras for Yourself

According to the National Retail Federation, 59% of your fellow Americans reported buying gifts for themselves during their holiday shopping last year. These little add-ons can blow your budget. Make sure you stick to your list and don’t buy gifts for yourself while you shop. Instead, add them to your own wishlist.

Calculate Shipping for Long Distance Recipients

Although it’s not as exciting, cards and gift cards are less expensive to ship than wrapped presents. Consider the weight and fees before you ship your gifts to avoid unexpected expenses at the post office.

Save on Christmas Gifts

Now, you can enjoy shopping this season knowing you got the most value out of your Christmas Gifts. One final tip: Ask a shopkeeper to help you save on Christmas Gifts. They’d rather help you find something to match your budget than let you leave disappointed. Do you have any tips for Christmas shopping? Let us know on our Facebook page.