How Noonday Helps Build an Equitable World
This month I’m celebrating one year since becoming an Ambassador for Noonday Collection. When I joined, I had never been to a Trunk Show or even owned a piece of Noonday jewelry. How did I end up here, you ask? Well, in true Enneagram 8 fashion, it’s because I was mad (if you’re unfamiliar with the Enneagram – people who identify as 8s have a reputation for being angry).
I had watched a documentary that talked about corporations in the U.S. that profited from prison labor, and I was furious. I went on an internet research spiral that left me determined to remove myself from that system of oppression. The problem with that was, though, that the mistreatment of American citizens in the prison system was not where the problem ended. In reality, most corporations are not paying workers in the developing world fairly, and their working conditions are often unsafe.
We were in the middle of the pandemic lockdown, so I had plenty of time to think, call companies, and sign petitions. Then one day I felt like I needed to do more than tell companies what they were doing wrong–I needed to contribute to the solutions. Something in my brain clicked, and I remembered a writer who mentioned a fair-trade company in her “socially responsible Christmas gifts” newsletter, and a friend from college talking about Noonday something on social media.
I searched for Noonday on the internet, read the entire website, then messaged my friend Indiana Adams and quizzed her all about it. She shared what she’d observed as a long-time customer turned Ambassador, and I got my credit card and signed up that night. I wasn’t sure what the future held for me and Noonday, but I was excited to learn and work together toward a more equitable world.
I’ve worked in the non-profit world my entire career, and while I’m proud of the work I do, I also believe the problems of injustice have to be addressed from all different angles. One of the many tools Ambassadors are given is an “Artisans and Fair Trade” course which is very helpful in understanding how Noonday does business. I soaked up all the information in that course, and it helped me begin to think through aspects of equity building that I hadn’t considered before.
Noonday is a member of the Fair Trade Federation and a certified B Corporation – both of which involve next-level transparency (they don’t just pass those stickers out, y’all). I am continually impressed with the intentionality and accountability required to build a business with a vision to change the world.
The four pillars of Noonday’s fair trade business model are collaboration, responsible financing, long-term partnerships, and capacity building. Here’s a quick summary of these pillars:
The design team and Artisans work together to create pieces that use local materials and traditional skills that are beautifully timeless or stylishly on-trend.
Artisans have been paid in full by the time ambassadors are selling the pieces. Purchases today create opportunities for more Artisan Businesses.
These business partnerships create stability for the Artisans, but also, the relationships built between Home Office, Artisans, and Ambassadors inform the way business is done. There is genuine care for one another and the best interests of all involved.
Instead of profits going to make shareholders more wealthy, profits are invested in the flourishing of all stakeholders: the Artisan Business Partners, Ambassadors, Home Office Team, and future Artisan Business Partners.
What I am most impressed by as a Noonday Ambassador is the commitment to listen and trust people to know what they need. Noonday does not employ Artisans, send orders, and abandon them if they can’t produce fast enough or find cheaper labor elsewhere. Noonday partners with entrepreneurs across the world who know what their communities need. As Noonday Ambassadors, we don’t save anyone–we simply create a bigger marketplace for these talented Artisans through Trunk Shows.
And, because the best partnerships are the ones that are beneficial to all involved, Noonday Ambassadors also have the opportunity to build the kind of life they want for themselves and their families. Whether it’s the ability to work from home, enroll kids in sports, go on vacations, or donate to organizations we’re passionate about, we get to flourish too!
I do not consider myself a salesperson, but I am wholeheartedly committed to telling people about Noonday because I believe in what we’re doing (and the power of statement earrings). No single business or organization or person can solve all the injustice in the world, but they can contribute to the solutions.
There are lots of choices we can make to create a better world for one another. Perhaps it’s looking at the companies you purchase from, writing your representatives and telling them you care about certain issues, or maybe it’s joining us as an Ambassador and seeing where that leads. We would love to partner with you and create a flourishing world together!
Meet MJ Thach
MJ lives in Long Beach, CA with her husband and their two children. She is a self-described "gooey" Enneagram 8 who loves sharing a good charcuterie board and a bottle of wine with friends. Her favorite things include drinking coffee in the dark before anyone else is awake, giraffes, live music, and theater. You can follow her on Instagram (@MJThach).