More and more these days you are hearing about the importance of American made products and building our economy. There are great reasons to buy American made. I know, sometimes it can be easier and/or cheaper to buy over seas or heck, we don't even inquire about where our purchases are made. Guilty! I too can be easily persuaded by convenience and price. But, I'm not asking for perfection here. Just think, if you looked to see where your purchases are made from, how often would you see made in the U.S.A.? I think you know how often you would see China, Japan, Guam, and the list goes on. For a moment though, what if you were a mindful consumer, your next purchase was from the USA and you sought it out. Would you be disappointed ? No, and here is why.
Buying locally can make you feel like the #1 customer. It allows for special attention and knowing who is making your product and from what. Would you want your child's throw made from yarn dyed with harmful chemicals? or wouldn't it be nice being able to inquire on the safety of the materials that a loved one will be snuggling up with every night?
Saving money. Who ever said they didn't like doing that? If given the opportunity to buy five crappy shoes or one really nice pair that will last me for years to come, I chose quality! Let's be real, my gal friends can totally spot a knock off. But why waste money on an item that you know will not last you more than a season. Remember Indian Jones on his last crusade, "Choose wisely."
A story to go along. It's all in the details. Adding to your quality purchase, is a story about an American dream and a woman's aspirations for her start up company. You will know that Unity Alley's throws are made in good ol' Lyndhurst, NJ? Also home to Medieval Times. Ok- maybe that's not your thing. But would't it be cool to know that two, yes, just two men are responsible for each stitch in your throw instead of a dozen or tens of dozens of people that have their hands on your product.
Here is an article from CNN.com that provides a list of websites and Facebook groups to help consumers find products made in the United States, along with a few brands known to manufacture most or a substantial portion of their goods stateside.
So, the next time you make a purchase, start here: turn that item upside down, look at the tag, locate that label. Where is it made?
Who knows, maybe the next time you purchase a product, you will think twice about where it came from and what's the story behind it. And that is one step closer to be a mindful consumer.
So, are you a mindful consumer?
A couple of months ago, I featured a blog about what my throws were made from and why it matters. Here I want to talk more about the benefits of COTTON. It's time to start appreciating the many benefits of cotton. Cotton is a versatile, durable and easy to care for material. These aspects and more add to its beauty.
WHAT IS COTTON?
Cotton is a plant fiber which produces an organic compound called cellulose; cellulose fibers pull heat away from the body, which is an important component in selecting yarn for warmer climates.
WHY USE COTTON?
- Durability! This is why you will see cotton being used as a material in kitchen and bath products such as towels and wash clothes.
-Cotton yarns blended with synthetic fibers creates greater breathability in warmer months. The synthetic fibers allow cotton to stretch, lessens the weight, and allows it to dry faster.
- Cotton is incredibly soft.
-Check out http://cottonpromotion.org/benefits-of-cotton/ for a list of the many benefits of using cotton such as being hypoallergenic, long lasting, a good conductor of heat (it can draw heat away from your skin to keep you cool, making it comfortable to wear) and cotton is a renewable resource and biodegradable.
Textile designers that create high ethical values and standards for themselves are concerned with sustainability and creating better practices for their business and in turn the world. Consumers can demand quality products today with eco- friendly and cutting edge technology. Cotton is sustainable, renewable, and biodegradable! It is an excellent choice as an environmentally-friendly fiber compared to most other chemical fibers that are petroleum based, which means they come from nonrenewable resources.
Cotton is comfortable, safe and around for the long haul. It is an investment worth investing in.
Click here for Unity Alley throws made with recycled cotton blends.
We have heard all the sayings before. Life is too short. Live life to the fullest. Have no regrets. Do what you love. I can keep going, but I am sure you get it. We all try our hardest, maybe harder on some days than others. It’s not always easy to live out these precepts. But when the importance of doing so comes to us in a whisper, or sometimes with a swift kick in the rear, we need to listen. When I know my heart is in the right place, that my friend, brings me comfort.
My Short List of Daily Precepts
1- Smile more often. I just hate it when someone asks me whats wrong and its just because I have resting angry face.
2- Breathe! Exhaling is quite under rated.
3- Sing out loud. As a Virgo, I tend to be on the serious side. When ever I catch myself belting out at song in the car I can not help but smile. #bringingitbacktonumber1.
4- Be mindful. Especially when with others. I have tried to be more mindful when hugging. It just feels so good!
5- Nothing is forever. So embrace it or don’t sweat it.
6- Don’t wait. If you want to call someone. Do it. If you want to mend fences. Do it. When you want to let go. Do it. JUST DO IT.
We all have one. It was given to us with hope, aspirations and yes, maybe some expectations. There was a time, long ago, where discussions were had and dreams were dreamt about how that name would reflect who we are.
When names are chosen, instantly an identity is created; it is how others will see us and how we see ourselves. Names are first impressions, the first stroke of a paintbrush on a blank canvas.
So when I am asked how I came about the name, Unity Alley Boutique Comforts for the business, I am elated to share.
The name may not be obvious to my business. Jessica’s Throws just did not have the same ring. I wanted the business to have its own identity, not mine. I initially sat down and wrote down a list of words that I wanted to convey what the business would strive to be. I wanted the words to cradle my vision and embrace my product.
After days of saying a final list of names aloud, writing them on paper, and sharing them with my husband, we were able to agree that the name should be one that was meaningful already, not just one that one day would be meaningful.
Unity Alley is a quite, quaint, cobblestone and brick alley in the charming town of Charleston. If you are not looking for it, you might miss it. But if stumbled upon, you must walk down it. When you walk off the main street, you are instantly hugged by the idea that on Unity Alley there was a past and intrigued by what the future could hold. At the right time of day, the sun will peak into this secluded alley and stretch its rays as far as it can go. It is not a long alley, maybe a 2 minute walk, but in that two minutes, I dare you not to hold the hand of the one you are with. I did, when I married my husband.
We married at McCrady’s on Unity Alley. Still the best day of my life.
There is a photo from our wedding, where our guests lined this alley with sparklers in hand. My new husband and I walked out of McCrady’s embraced by that same warmth and love we had felt there once before. For a moment, he picked me up and kissed me. That moment, on Unity Alley, is more than just a memory. It transcended into hope, possibility and love.
One of those possibilities is Unity Alley Boutique Comforts. A business that can bring comfort and warmth to others with our throws, as that moment brought us comfort then and still today.
If you have ever wondered what the difference is between a throw and a blanket you are not alone. It is one of the questions I get asked most often. Or maybe you're one of those people in which the question just never crossed your mind. Well, for curious minds, at the very least, here is your answer.
Before starting Unity Alley, I must admit, I think I used these terms interchangeable. But there are distinctions. A throw is generally smaller than a blanket, sized at about 50 by 60 inches. In addition to keeping one cozy and warm, a throw can be used decoratively as an accessory for a room. Throws can brighten, calm, accent or provide depth. More on that in the next blog. Throws can be simply be thrown over a couch arm or back, or placed decoratively on an ottoman or couch. They look great on top of a bedspread, rolled up with other throws and placed in a large basket on the floor or they can even be placed in a baby’s crib.
A blanket on the other hand is larger than a throw, is typically the size of the sheets on a bed and is intended to be used on a bed. Therefore, it can be sized as a twin, queen or king. The uses for a blanket are more practical than decorative.
A throw and a blanket do have some things in common though. Both have the fabulous responsibility of keeping one cozy and warm, especially in the chillier of months. It’s up to you how you want to snuggle up and with whom ; ).
This past weekend, my husband and I traveled to exit zero otherwise known as Cape May, New Jersey. Aside from getting some r&r and enjoying the enchanting Christmas displays of decorations and lights among the Victorian houses and small shops, there was another theme that kept reappearing.
Our throw are not only manufactured in the USA, but the yarn used for knitting the throws are spun here as well. The yarn used goes through a recycling process allowing a line of colored yarns using a no wet processing. Wet processing engineering refers to textile chemical processing engineering. A large amount of water is required in this process. Almost 100 liter of water is used to process only 1 kg of textile goods. Water can be of various quality and attributes. Not all water can be used in the textile process, it must have some certain properties, quality, color & attributes for being used in textile processes.
All of the yarns are produced with post-industrial textile waste from cut-and-sew operations. The fiber is already dyed before it reaches the yarn facility, so there are no additional costs to dye the yarn, which in turn helps eliminate wet processing and in turn, is good for the environment.
Environmental benefits to using recycled cotton are:
Yarns are an environmentally friendly, sustainable textile product, certified by OEKO-TEX standard 100.
Certified by what??!!
OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 is an independent testing and certification system for textiles. Testing for harmful substances includes: