Sunday, January 31, 2010

Te House of Tea partners with Scarlet Threads!

Picture courtesy of The Loop Scoop. THX!

I wanted to share our latest success, with our readers – a partnership with Te House of Tea!

Important Announcement: Te House of Tea in Houston, TX will be selling Scarlet Threads products on consignment!

My brother discovered Te while researching fair trade venues in Houston, in hopes of becoming a fair trade Hero. He invited me to come out to explore the location and discuss both Scarlet Threads and his new project (TheLoopScoop). Being rather meek, it required substantial pumping up to convince me to talk to the owner about carrying our products in the shop. I left my name and number (and the ST website, of course).

Lo and behold, success!

The very next Monday Aaron and I visited Connie, one of the owners of Te, who wanted to know all about our organization, our Founders (the magnificent Jacob and Carrie), our fair trade values, etc. Our new friends seemed excited about our products and prospects, and we were equally excited about joining forces for Mission Fair Trade! During our conversation, we agreed that gone are the days of buying stuff, people nowadays want a story and a connection behind the merchandise!

En route from our distribution center in Perryton, TX are two of each kind of apron and six Tiger Hats to take Houston by storm. The New Year (Chinese) is fast approaching and we need to bring it in with a Roar (of hats)!

We will have the merchandise in place before Te’s CNY celebration, of which we intend to be a part.

PS – In order to prepare myself for Te's CNY celebration, I researched its history and traditions and will tackle the complexities in my next blog post. Pray that I find a way to condense my thoughts.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Fair Trade Fan – Exposé

We have a Scarlet Threads fan of whom we are fans!

Tara is heading to Haiti on Wednesday through the partnership of two organizations: Servlife International and Mission Haiti Midwest. She will be using her nursing skills to alleviate the pain and suffering of the earthquake victims, specifically those in need of post-op care. In this situation, patients who have undergone surgery need to be removed from the hospitals to make way for more critical patients. Post-op care remains the most pressing medical need as patients (both in need of surgery and in need of recovery) have nowhere to go. That is changing thanks to people like Tara.

One of the things that I have admired the most about her, over our seven year friendship, is the fact that she is able to handle sickness, injury, and pain with a calm compassion. One of the things that has disturbed me the most, however, is her fascination with medical cases (one of which was our dear friend’s terrible toenails – gross, don’t ask). That said, I would trust her with my life.

Tara has always been willing to take risks for those in need. Thankfully, her boss allows her to take as much time as she needs for each of her humanitarian missions (yay!). Haiti isn’t her first mission, and it won’t be her last. As this trip draws near, she is nervous about the emotionally draining week she faces. Her heart is touched with every ounce of suffering, even though she is able to place her feelings aside to render desperately-needed care.

We at Scarlet Threads wish her the best, and we can’t wait until she returns safely to give us an update.

Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers. Love you, girl. Get ‘er done.


P.S. This just in, Tara will have company! Another close friend and nurse, Johanna will be accompanying her! Our friends never cease to amaze by their selflessness.

L2R Tara & Johanna

To be continued...

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Ideal Valentine

Now, it is a well known fact that a man with a wife is in want of a unique Valentine’s Day Gift.

Don’t get me started on whether Valentine’s Day is a real celebration of love or a Fabricated Floral Frenzy designed to boost flower and chocolate sales in the slow months between Christmas and Easter. The plain and simple fact of the matter is that wives and girlfriends (and fiancées, in case Aaron is reading) expect a unique gift from the heart. I suppose the question is, does an apron fall into this category? The answer is a resounding yes, just with some minor modifications and quid pro quos.

{The Dos and Don’ts of buying an Apron as a Valentine’s Day gift.}

Purchase a lovely handmade fair trade apron, write a heartfelt note, don the apron and cook dinner.
Don’t:Purchase an apron, put it in a gift box, and tell your significant other to cook dinner.

Do (if you dare):
Purchase an apron, put it in a gift box, write a heartfelt note, and present the lady in your life her gift. Then remind her that this is her night off, and take her to a fancy restaurant.
Don’t: Forget to make reservations ahead of time as she will suspect that you are merely bringing her out to make up for such an insensitive gift.

Purchase the Mother/Daughter matching Apron set, scope out M/D cooking lessons.
Don’t: Inform your Wife/Daughter Team that their previous meals were unsatisfactory, which is why you have given them lessons.

Are there any questions? If anyone asks, in my opinion, select the first Do option. It’s adorable. However one last Don’t…Hamburgers and Fries are not typically an acceptable Valentine’s meal. (Hmm... can someone say bad experience in 2009?)

By: Eileen Viscontini


With Valentine's Day just around the corner, we wanted to offer a little incentive to men (or women) in want of a unique Valentine's gift. Buy any item(s) in the Scarlet Threads shop, enter the coupon code IdealValentine upon checkout, and enjoy 15 percent off your order from now until February 8!

And because we just don't want the fun to end, we want to hear your "Ideal Valentine" stories. Maybe it was less-than-ideal... bordering on disaster. Maybe you, like Eileen, were served a hamburger and fries on the special day. Maybe your story is simply divine? Or perhaps you have stories that are funny or maybe they're painfully awkward. We all have them. Let's share the love and some laughter. Here's what you do...
  1. Write your own "Ideal Valentine" story on your blog and link to this post.
  2. Post the Ideal Valentine picture (up at the top of this post) in your blog post.
  3. And so we can all enjoy your tale, link your blog story to this post using MckLinky down below!

Image Credit: Magazine illustration, 1954 (colour litho) by English School, (20th century) Private Collection/ © The Advertising Archives/ The Bridgeman Art Library

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Ready, Set, GO!

It's official!  We have adorable new adult and children's aprons and tiger hats available in the Scarlet Threads store for immediate purchase and shipment.  Now we just need to sell, sell, sell!

So for those of you who want to help promote Scarlet Threads, now is a great time to make blog posts, put it on Facebook or Twitter, and tell your friends and family.  If you do something, please leave a comment and tell us about it so we can see what you're up to!

What are you waiting for?  Go check it out!

Sunday, January 10, 2010


I'm shameless.  Seriously.  I feel zero guilt about asking massive favors of people around me.  At least, as long as I can tag "It's for a good cause!" on the end of my request.

Take for example the recent request to Jacob's little brother and his fiancee to take 180 aprons and 27 adorable Tiger Hats back to the USA with them.  They put it in their luggage but still had to find a box big enough for them to be mailed...

I love Eileen's story about Boxie... She shared this story with our family, who appreciates "efficiency" like no other family I know, but I thought it was too good not to pass on.  Just a little glimpse into the behind the scenes world of Scarlet Threads.

So, Carrie sent us home with 180 Aprons and 27 Tiger Hats destined for the Scarlet Threads Distribution Center in Perryton, TX. I anticipated having to shop for a box big enough to ship the products all together, but then I had a brilliant idea! I work in a 50 storey office building, surely somewhere there is a big enough box that no one wants. That way, we can save money because we won’t have to buy one AND I can lessen the impact on the environment by re-using a perfectly good box! I persuaded our office assistant (Aggie) to assist me in finding said box (as box hunting does not fit her job description) by explaining that she is helping to empower women in rural Asia through this box acquisition quest. We scoured the halls and offices, and finally found a gigantic box. Eureka! Only to realize that this was only one part of the equation. 

I now had to find a way to bring the box home on the COMMUTER BUS, during 5:00 RUSH HOUR, when there is STANDING ROOM ONLY. Breaking down the box into a somewhat manageable 4 x 5 foot heavy duty cardboard unbendable sheet seemed the only logical option. Sailing down the elevator with my cardboard parachute, I change direction with my cardboard rudder and head out into the beautiful windy afternoon. I face the dangers darting across a busy street to catch my bus. We unsuccessfully attempt to stow my bounty underneath the bus in the cargo bin. And, so I face the stares of the nearly full bus as I try to force my cardboard sheet to turn corners not designed for its turning radius. Only 7 more stops to go before I am home free. At each stop the remaining seats are filled around me and my cardboard box taking up two seats. Finally, the person with the short straw who embarked on his homeward journey either 6 minutes too early or 6 minutes too late to catch the non-wierdo-filled bus was forced to become our travel companion. Luckily, Boxie and my other companion (for by now, the box needed a name) each had a tremendous sense of humor and we had a pleasant journey to the bus stop. 

Boxie and I bid our companion farewell, and I only hope people weren’t watching as I not so gently forced Boxie into my not so mid-sized car. All this for a lovely box that may have cost 2 dollars at the post office. If this isn’t the definition of efficiency, I don’t know what is. I just figured I had to do something to earn admission into the McKean family. Do you think that it worked?

Poor Eileen.  I really should avoid putting my soon-to-be-family in such awkward positions.  However, I admire her confidence, as I'd probably have been too embarrassed myself to attempt such a feat in a Houston rush hour commute.  

The really good news of the story is that these products are very nearly to the Distribution Center (i.e. - my sister-in-law's house... the result of another shameless plea for help), and as soon as they arrive, they'll be up on the web available for sale!  

Do we have an amazing family or what?!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Washing Machine: Sign of Success

It's been a quiet month at Scarlet Threads, but we're still working away!

We have a new shipment of aprons arriving at Jenny's (our distributor in the states and my darling sister-in-law) very soon, and so within the next week there will be brand new Scarlet Threads products on the website available for purchase.

Here's a taste... adorable children's aprons that match our most popular grown-up versions, tiger hats, and a brand-new adult apron .  I think the fabric combo on this new apron might be my favorite yet.  Here's a little pre-launch sneak peak.

I also wanted to share a little story about the difference you are making as you partner with Scarlet Threads to bring work, dignity, and beauty to the women here in our village.  Jacob was at our primary seamstress' home the other afternoon and noticed that she had her family had purchased a brand new washing machine, which was sitting in front of their small courtyard home, humming away as it washed a load of clothes.  We've never noticed a washing machine at their home before, and since their only source of water is in their courtyard, we're pretty sure that they didn't have one since we walked past their faucet on a regular basis. 

So, dear friends, you guys helped our seamstress buy what very well could be her first washing machine.

It makes me feel all bubbly and excited just thinking about it.  I hope you do too.

Thanks for making this possible.  Scarlet Threads wouldn't be anything other than a "good idea" without you guys.  We have a lot of work to do to make Scarlet Threads a success and not just a one-hit-wonder.  So, in the coming weeks, we're going to be working hard to promote the Scarlet Threads vision and our adorable products in any way possible.  If you want to join us, know we need more hands to bring this vision to reality.