It has been a long time since new words sunned themselves upon the rock of this blog. There are reasons and excuses like “how do you follow up on the stories of the Albanian women?” and “we’ve been busy.” Both positions are true, and have contributed to the lapse. But what is also true is that we owe it to you as our friends, readers, and pilgrims on the journey together with us to take you along as we walk the road of seeking justice and lifting oppression through the fair buying and selling of goods. We have declared ourselves to be “at the corner of their story and yours,” and there we should be.
Since our voyage to Albania many things have happened for us as The Intersection. Last fall and winter were wild and woolly with fairs, festivals, home parties, and events galore. Some weekends we had up to 5 events at which we endeavoured to tell the stories, connect people with a sense of value in their purchases, and sell some product for our friends overseas.
As we transitioned into 2016 we began to pick up some new products including dresses, journals, headbands and more. Their stories are for other blogs. We continued to do some fairs and events, but as we went along we felt the need for two things that would propel us forward and create sustainability for us. First, we needed to finally launch our website. After a year and a half of tweaking it, discarding it, starting over, and being scared about what it would mean to launch it, we decided it was time.
The big news is, as I sit and write this blog on Friday night we are in the midst of preparing to launch our site tomorrow morning. It is the fruition of a great number of hours of labour and we feel like it represents who we are and what we are about very well.
The second thing we felt we needed was a more permanent place to have our products for sale. We had our eye on a vacant store near to our house for about a year, and we flipped back and forth about whether jumping into our own retail space was a good idea. We had always had an idea for a cooperative store which we could start with other fair trade vendors, and finally we decided that this was the time and place to take the plunge. Unfortunately, after stating that we were just the kind of business they were looking for in the space, the landlords then changed their mind and the door slammed in our faces.
We were disgruntled, but at almost the same time as this was happening, we also entered into talks with two other fair trade companies (EcoFair and Kassandy) about the possibility of joining forces to have a retail space together. Where one door closed, another was opening. We have since secured a spot in the Bentall Centre in downtown Vancouver for the Christmas season where the goods of all 3 companies (and a couple more) will be available for sale. This is amazing, and will be another great adventure.
On top of that, we were invited by the Arts Council of New Westminster to have a display up in the Anvil Centre in downtown New West for the next several months as well. The display was just set up tonight, and it looks great! These two opportunities have meant that we have our products available full-time in several locations over the next season, as well as the fairs and events we will still do. Our dreams are coming together.
Lastly, and perhaps most excitingly, we have forged a partnership with a lady from our church named Kathi who has a heart for reaching out to women in Albania. We are still connected with Dawn in Durres, and now we will also have a location in Sauk (where our church has been working for many years) where we can also be involved in training women and offering them employment. Kathi will be moving to Albania next year to start finding and training women, and will be teaching them sewing skills in order to create some amazing products (like bow ties for little people!). In the meantime, she is going to be starting by teaching a local refugee lady in order to offer her employment, allow Kathi to hone her teaching, allow us to advise on product specs, and to create a market for the product Kathi’s Albanian women will be producing once she is up and running. We are VERY excited about this, so stay tuned!
Now that you’re all caught up, what is next? Well… check out our website at theintersection.ca, come to one of our upcoming events, check out the Bentall Centre downtown, and watch this space! We will be much more faithful in the coming months to make sure there is fresh stories and updates on this page.