Local connections

In May this year Toni Selles, once a stay-at-home mom, opened The Soulfull Project in Summerland. Inspired by her mother’s compassion and love of African culture, Toni used her inheritance to combine a personal love of fashion and deep desire to help others in a boutique whose motto is “compassion through fashion.”

Toni not only sells Fair Trade jewelry and clothing, but a portion of each sale is donated to one of her three partners: Free the Children, the Summerland Food Bank or the Global Enrichment Foundation, started by Toni’s friend, Canadian humanitarian and journalist Amanda Lindhout, who was imprisoned in Somalia for 15 months in 2008/2009. The buyer makes the choice.

Toni also hosts two charity fundraising events each year. The next will be a mini We Day, inspired by the annual educational one-day conference extravaganza hosted in Vancouver by activist humanitarians Craig and Marc Kielburger, founders of Free the Children. Toni will market the occasion to middle and high school students in Summerland and Penticton.

Shuswap Coffee also makes a difference on the home front. “As part of our contract with Café Femenino, over the past nine years we have donated more than $12,000 to women’s groups in our community.” Whatever their retail vehicle, Fair Trade or ethical trade, all agree it’s about more than a retail business. “It’s a beautiful circle,” says Brooke. “I feel like I’m giving back while learning about another culture.”

Some local fair or ethical trade businesses:

Soulfull-Project-summerlandThe Body Shop
Orchard Park Shopping Centre
2271 Harvey Ave. N.

Fair Trade Brokers Ltd.
1918 Green Mountain Rd.

Little Shop of Treasures
10 Front St.

Red Bag
309 Main St.
Shuswap Coffee Company
1-5421 Auto Rd. SE
Salmon Arm

The Soulfull Project
10120 Main St.

Sun Country Furniture
160–2463 Hwy 97 N.

Terra Incognita Imports
3216 30 Ave.

Photos by Barry Hodgins