For those of you who don't know me, my name is Melissa (Mel) and I am the designer/dressmaker/owner of children's fashion label Mini Mooches. I started my business back in March 2011 and after about 3 months of hard-work, networking and support from some beautiful businesses, it sky-rocketed into quite a successful label. In about October of last year I realised that if I wanted to keep up with demand (which I do with all my heart) I'd have to get some help. After much research and discussions with family and friends I found a unique and rewarding solution...
My cousin had recently been on a trip to Cambodia on a mission with a Sunshine Coast based organisation 'Destiny Rescue'. Destiny Rescue provides rehabilitation and vocational training for young women who have been rescued from sex trafficking and other abusive situations in countries across Asia, Africa and India. While working with Destiny Rescue the women are paid a liveable wage and provided with housing and support, which gives them the opportunity to become independent and earn a living for themselves. After speaking with the organisation I realised that this is often their only alternative to working in the rampant sex trade of Thailand and Cambodia. I also realised my working with Destiny Rescue would give these women the chance to learn valuable sewing skills whilst bringing my designs to life.
Another eye opener for me while researching the possibility of getting my designs made abroad was the horrific amount of exploitation in the clothing industry alone. Now I'm not naive, I did know this existed in the world, but when I learned the statistics it really turned me off getting my designs made in a sweat shop in Thailand or China. There are 100's of 1000's of people working in forced labour for 21 hours each and every day just for a meal for their family. Like most Aussies, I have a good life and the thought that someone could force me into such work conditions is terrifying. And it is only because these people were born in a different country to me that I am not in their situation. Destiny Rescue support 'Free Trade' which means the girls are not exploited, they are not forced into labour, they have fair hours and wages for the lifestyle they lead and they are given support and training to be able to stand on their own two feet.
My passion and excitement for fashion is mirrored by my excitement to be able to help give women an opportunity to work outside of exploitation and the sex industry. All these girls need is an opportunity. I am so excited to be able to design and make beautiful clothes, with high quality materials whilst being able to release these girls from an occupation no one should be forced into.
I have every intention to keep my Mini Mooches Handmade Collections (made by me) but throughout the year I will be releasing special collections made by the Destiny Rescue girls. I personally check every single garment for quality after they have been quality controlled in Thailand. I have my first lot of garments and I am truly proud of what these girls have done as their handiwork is just as good as anything I have made.
I would like to encourage everyone to really think before you purchase goods. Check the label, check where it is made. Ask if it is a Free Trade garment. We can make a difference by supporting labels that actually care about who made them and how they were made.
All Ruffles to the Rescue collections will come with a tag that reads "This unique item was designed in Australia by Mini Mooches. It has been hand crafted by young girls who have been rescued from slavery. Not only are you purchasing a beautiful product, but you are helping to empower these girls as they rebuild their lives. Thankyou for supporting their FREEDOM". To find out more about Destiny Rescue please head over to www.destinyrescue.org
Thank-you so much for taking the time to read my blog. Please share on your pages, with friends, family, colleagues, associates etc. as my mission is to spread the word about buying ethical handmade!
Lots of Love, Mel from Mini Mooches xo