Join me in kickstarting Krochet Kids’ World’s Greatest Beanie


One of my absolute favorite clothing brands is Krochet Kids. A few years ago I had the chance to meet one of the founders of this nonprofit apparel brand, Kohl Crecelius, when he was speaking at Ball State.

Kohl and his buddies, Travis and Stewart, were avid snow sports enthusiasts in high school and wanted to have some headwear that was different than anyone’s on the slopes. They learned to crochet beanies and the friends started filling custom orders.

After high school Stewart traveled to Uganda on a trip that had nothing to do with beanies or crocheting and realized how little opportunity existed for the people there.

(This is massive paraphrasing)

They thought if a couple of dudes from Washington state could…

Read More >
 
2 comments

I’m so 2015 that I’m on periscope

I don’t mean to brag, but like 16 people follow me on periscope. We should be periscopians together.

I’ve had several folks ask me what I think of it. Here’s essentially what I told my friend Mark Benson:

I think it’s more intimate since it is more immediate. The thing I like best is what I liked about Instagram early on or any other new social platform–how quiet it is. I follow a few people and a few people follow me. It’s much more manageable to interact and pay attention to what others are doing compared to thousands of folks on Twitter.

But as Mark pointed out: “Call someplace paradise, and kiss it goodbye.”

My first try at Periscope was walking out on stage at UNC-Greensboro in an auditorium before 1,000+. It…

Read More >
 
Add a comment

How Fair Trade Actually Changes the World

(With kids in cocoa region of Ivory Coast)

You’re standing in the aisle. Before you is a bar of normal chocolate and a bar of Fair Trade or ethically sourced chocolate, or a pair of regular underwear and a pair of Fair Trade underwear, or a pair of regular chocolate underwear and a pair of Fair Trade chocolate underwear. (Just kidding about that last one. I don’t think Fair Trade is in the “novelty” market yet. Someday!)

You have a choice to make: Be fair or be normal?

Choose the product that supports millions of farmers around the world, sets certain social and environmental standards, provides producers with a guaranteed minimum price for their product and a social premium, or…

Read More >
 
Add a comment

Take 3 minutes to learn about the storytelling project I co-founded

So far the Facing Project has reached 30 communities and hundreds of writers and storytellers. I co-founded the project with my friend J.R. Jamison in 2013. If you aren’t sure what the project is about, check out this story on the Indianapolis news about Ball State’s Facing Depression project.

Hope you’re having a great Saturday.  We went adventuring today with the family. By adventuring I mean that I got to carry a machete and chop away at thorn bushes while the family followed behind me. I also got to skip a rock. Any day you skip a rock is a good one.

Read More >
 
Add a comment

Austin Peay State student writes song that makes my eyes sweat

I have a new happy song: Sonder by Gina Henderson.

Gina is a student at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, TN, where students who read WHERE AM I WEARING as part of the university’s common reading program were asked to do a creative response. Gina wrote and performed (vocals and ukelele) her song Sonder.

Here’s how she introduces the song in a book highlighting a few of the responses:

According to the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, [Sonder] means, “the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own.” This perfectly encapsulates the emotions I felt while reading Where Am I Wearing. I was a startling awakening to realize that my clothes were made not by faceless robots in some…

Read More >
 
1 comment

When I meet students on the autism spectrum…

Every time I meet a college student with autism, I want to give them a hug.

Of course, for some individuals on the spectrum, the last thing they would want to do is get hugged by someone they barely know. Most of the time I refrain from doing so, but sometimes, as in the picture above, I can’t stop myself.

They give me hope for my son Griffin, a sweet and smart 4-year-old on the spectrum. I see them and I imagine Griffin waiting in line fifteen years from now to get his book signed by a visiting author. I see them and I imagine him getting that book signed and going off to his dorm where…

Read More >
 
Add a comment

Sometimes you gotta shut up and listen

I enjoy sharing my stories. But here’s the thing, I know all of my stories. My stories aren’t going to teach ME anything new.

Recently I spoke at Central College in Iowa. As part of my visit I was interviewed by Dr. Bob Leonard for his local radio show In-depth. You can listen to the interview. It lasted 13 minutes. I say things I’ve heard myself say hundreds of times, but when the interview was over, the real interview began.

I interviewed Bob.

All I said was, “I hear  you have some interesting stories,” and that’s all it took for Bob to get going. Bob is an Anthropology professor, and I had heard that he drove cab for a while as part of his research. He didn’t talk about that much,…

Read More >
 
Add a comment

Where Am I Speaking Fall 2015

This Fall I’ve had the chance to corrupt a lot of students at schools across the country.

I’m in the middle of a stretch of 8 weeks of visiting at least one high school or college per week. I always like to write this post before I start a season of speaking so maybe I can sync up with some friends or readers while on the road. Alas, I’m a bit behind, so this post covers where I’ve been and where I have left to go this fall.

 

8/26 Fashion Institute of Technology

As Hogwarts is to wizards, F.I.T. is to fashion students. First year students read WHERE AM I WEARING.  I love reaching fashion students with the stories of the garment workers I’ve met in Bangladesh, Cambodia, and beyond. Some day…

Read More >
 
Add a comment

Is rural America becoming China’s China for manufacturing?

Many in the Carolinas thought the textile industry was gone for good. That it had moved to China and would never return. But the NY Times reports that a textile mill is opening in Indian Land, SC, and it has an unlikely owner.

The Chinese-owned Keer Group is moving some textile production back from China to South Carolina.

From the Times piece:

Textile production in China is becoming increasingly unprofitable after years of rising wages, higher energy bills and mounting logistical costs, as well as new government quotas on the import of cotton.

At the same time, manufacturing costs in the United States are becoming more competitive. In Lancaster County, where Indian Land is located, Keer has found residents desperate for work, even at depressed…

Read More >
 
Add a comment

Should we mow our lawns?

“Oh, no, daddy! Watch out for the toad!” My six-year-old daughter nearly broke into tears as the tiny toad jumped out of the way of our rumbling riding lawn mower.

This was our first time mowing our new property and Harper was on my lap calling out the crickets and grasshoppers and toads.

Start. Stop. Start. Get off. Sometimes I had to move a life to a safer place.

I’ve always been the type of mower who would stop for an insect when I saw them. I think I was influences by all of those bug cartoons and movies that pitted insects and shrunk kids against the evil lawn mower. But, here’s…

Read More >
 
2 comments