Here at SHE Changes Everything, one of our favorite things is to connect with so many talented, crazy inspirational people and companies and hear their unique insights on the world and on sustainable, healthy, ethical (SHE) living.
We recently were able to connect with Jen Biswas, the founder of Paisley + Sparrow.
She is a high-energy, organized, brilliant woman with an enviable focus on PURPOSE and empowering women.
When she created the Paisley + Sparrow shop, Jen committed to making sure every item had a PURPOSE and women and artisans were truly empowered. She has an interesting insight on how our purchases really can make a difference. We think you'll be walking around with inspirational phrases from her interview stuck in your head. Enjoy!
Can you share the mission behind Paisley + Sparrow?
Our mission is to be a marketplace that carries only high quality, beautiful products where you can be confident that your purchases are making a difference in the world. We want you to be confident that with each purchase you make, you are giving a woman in Ethiopia a way to support her family, a marginalized woman in India a hopeful future, a woman recovering from addiction a second-chance, and the opportunity to change a life by your generosity.
The year you spent on the World Race changed your life. Are there any specific moments that mean the most to you?
There are probably two that had the biggest impact on me as a person in addition to starting my boutique. The first was in Uganda where we worked with a school for girls who were formerly abducted by the LRA. They were given an education starting where they left off through vocational training. This school was started because all of the other schools wouldn’t allow these girls to continue their education because they were too old or had babies. It was started by a single woman under a tree and now houses hundreds of girls from all over Uganda who want a chance at a hope-filled future. It gave me hope that a single woman could truly make a huge impact.
The other was in Thailand where we worked with an organization that helped women who were formerly sex trafficked. Once they were rescued they were given a place to live, counseling and vocational training. While they were going through this they would make jewelry, which was then sold to keep the organization running. That is where the idea for my boutique came to be!
How do you choose the products for Paisley + Sparrow?
First and foremost I look at the company – how they do business, who they work with, what kind of materials are used, what impact are they making in the artisans life (just providing a job vs. working with them on medical care, sending their kids to school, etc.). I strive to work with smaller organizations (since I’m one myself!) who use traditional methods for making their products and materials that are native to the country. It’s important that they are as sustainable as possible.
Second and equally as important is the style. Before I launched Paisley + Sparrow I would shop at ethical shops that didn’t have amazing products that I loved. My goal is to have pieces that I would love to wear or have in my home or that I would be excited to give as gifts to my friends and family.
You've said you drink "copious amounts of coffee.” Do you have any coffee tips to share?
Drink as much as possible! Just kidding, of course. Being pregnant has limited my coffee consumption to a cup a day and man, do I savor that cup! I love to mix up how I make my coffee so I’ll switch between my normal automatic coffeemaker (I use this on cold winter mornings before I head out on a run so I have hot coffee ready and waiting when I get back), an Aeropress and a Chemex. I always grind my beans fresh each morning and use a splash of creamer to sweeten it up a bit.
What are your favorite sustainable healthy ethical (SHE) brands you use?
- I love Peace Coffee which is right here in Minneapolis. Amazing coffee that sustains the livelihood of the people who grow, roast and sell it is a win in my book!
- I’ve been using Shea Moisture’s lavender body scrub for years and love it. I love how the founder’s grand-kids are carrying on her legacy with this company.
What's your favorite healthy guilty pleasure when the going gets tough?
If we’re talking food I love bananas with peanut butter or a handful (and only a handful!) of frozen dark chocolate chips. Otherwise cleaning and organizing my house is a major stress relief for me. I’ve always been into cleaning but being in my 3rd trimester of pregnancy has upped it a ton when you combine nesting with a love of a clean and organized home.
What should we keep an eye out for coming up from Paisley + Sparrow?
This spring was our first try at apparel so be on the look out for lots of new apparel coming soon! In the fall we’re adding crocheted hats, headbands, and mittens, which I’m super excited for.
How can our readers best link arms and cheer you on??
Buy our products and share our story, of course! ;) Beyond that I would love it if you joined our community on Facebook or Instagram for product features, style tips, and promo codes.
You can also get our newsletter! We send out a newsletter every Thursday that has one free print every month plus exclusive previews on new products, discounts, and events!
Shop with a PURPOSE,