My Thistle Farms Story

Thistle Farms Candles

Ten years ago, when I set out to change the world with a small, neighborhood business, I heard about a company called Thistle Farms.

Based in my hometown of Nashville, Thistle Farms was a small offshoot of Magdalene House, a rehabilitation program for women recovering from life on the streets. I don’t remember how I first heard of the lotions, lip balms, and candles crafted by the women of Thistle Farms, but I knew I wanted to carry them in my store.

The folks at Thistle Farms worked with me and my tiny budget to help me place my first ever wholesale order. Come pick it up on a Friday, they said. And be sure to come for the circle.

I drove to an older ranch house in West Nashville to witness their operations first hand. I arrived just a few minutes before their morning meditation circle. At first I felt self-conscious, as these brave and vulnerable women shared their stories and struggles. But I realized that I, too, had a story. The details were different, but we all shared common themes of acceptance, grace, and redemption.

Months later, when I had one of my first pop-up events, a miracle: a woman who had been through the Magdalene House and Thistle Farms program found my booth and shared a bit of her story. She introduced me to her daughter and granddaughter, and her pride for the products she had made was contagious.

Thistle Farms is personal to me. It’s part of my story and the story of my city. And now, as Thistle Farms has grown into a national network of recovery, it’s bringing healing, empowerment, and employment to even more women in need. That’s why I’m honored this month to be raising money to help Thistle Farms continue their mission.

I’m walking 50,000 steps each week in October in partnership with Songs Against Slavery to raise money for Thistle Farms. Can you donate $1, $5, or $10 to help create change? Thank you!

Step into Their Shoes

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Let’s Walk for Freedom

Who’s ready to help fight human trafficking? It’s everywhere. It can feel unstoppable.

So what do we do?

I need you to walk with me next month. I’m joining Step Into Their Shoes, a campaign to raise $50,000 for Thistle Farms by walking 50,000 steps each week in October.

Here are the details:

1. How much does it cost? Nothing! Just sign up here. You can use your phone, a fitness tracker, or a simple pedometer to track your steps.

2. Do I need to be in Nashville? Not at all! You can walk anywhere in the world! We complete our steps individually, even as we work together to end trafficking.

3. Why walking? For most people, walking doesn’t require special equipment. It’s open to any gender and can be done almost any place. (If you are in a wheelchair and want to join as a rolling member of the team, or have other limitations and want to set an adapted goal, I would LOVE to have you join us!) Walking also serves as a reminder of how many trafficking victims once walked the streets to survive.

4. Why should I do this? Because you can make a difference! Because it’s healthy! And because teams are cool.

Join the Beyond the Fried team and walk with us next month, or cheer us on and share the story with your friends.


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Good Things to Read

This post includes affiliate links to support this site. 

Photo by Paul Nicholson

Hey, gang! Hope you all are having a good week with no hurricanes, traffic, or unexpected bills. Here’s some good stuff I found to share with you today:

You guys know I’m all about imperfection. No matter how much I seek to live an ethical lifestyle, I can never check all the boxes. Leah from StyleWise shares the quandary of the ethical consumer and examines whether more flexible standards can make a bigger difference in the world in “Why I Quit Being an Ethical Purist.

One of my favorite fair trade brands, PACT Apparel, has expanded their range to include more apparel for men, women, and children. Their kids’ clothing is now available in sizes up to 5T and includes pajamas, undies, and leggings. New arrivals for adults include Henley t-shirts, cardigans, and jogging pants.

I recently learned about The Lighthouse for the Blind from the newsletter for the  Social Enterprise Alliance. The Lighthouse operates manufacturing facilities for aerospace parts, office supplies, and plastic injection molding, providing employment, training, and support for blind and DeafBlind members of the community. I love finding social enterprises that go beyond handcrafted gifts and provide essential products for industrial and everyday use.

Have you guys been following Walk Sew Good? These adventurers walked across Asia to find positive stories in the fashion industry. You can see their research and videos at the Walk Sew Good site and follow their current activities on Instagram.

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