We had the good fortune of connecting with Christy Asper and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Christy, how has your background shaped the person you are today?
I was born in Jersey City, NJ, but grew up mostly in the south. Texas specifically. I didn’t have the easiest of childhoods. We were a poor immigrant family and my parents worked very had to give us everything that we needed. I have never shared this part of my story..so bare with me. Because both of my parents had to work and the cost of childcare was very expensive, they had me cared for by an older woman who had a teenage son. My parents were unaware, but this teenager molested me until he left for college. Thankfully, those years are a blur to me, but I suspect that I was abused for over 6 years. I was very artistic as a child, but once the abuse began I stopped painting and drawing. It was not until my 30’s that I started getting creative again. I had gone through a lot of healing that had gotten my mind back to place were I could create. We started our company with the hope of fostering kids like me and giving back 10% of our profits to fight sex trafficking. Our company has expanded to fight all types of modern slavery and our goal is educate consumers about how their purchases affect slavery in the 21st century. Today, I see how my past did not leave me a victim, but helped shape me to become a person that speaks up for those who are unable to defend themselves. I love using art as a form of fighting back. Beauty for ashes-I think.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Our products are built around the fair trade coffee concept. We want to ensure that there is no forced, bonded or child labor in our supply chain. We go through great lengths to source ethically and sustainably. This was difficult at first because the supply chain can be so many layers that are hidden. Overtime we learned that many products are made overseas due to the lower margins they produce. However, those margins are often low due to unfair labor practices with limited regulations. So we went on a quest to really know our supply chain. Most of our products are made in the USA so that we can assure workers are paid fairly. If anything is produced overseas, we require certifications that ensure workers are paid and treated with respect. We also conduct quarterly audits to ensure that the companies are abiding by our standards of labor practices. Two of the products we are most excited about are our planners and our handmade letterpress paper cards. Most planners are made at half the cost we pay for our planners, yet we love to say that we are supporting an American Veteran owned company in making our planners. We also learned about how much child labor is used to make wood pulp for paper so we switched to use cotton rag handmade paper. The paper is eco-friendly by using tossed out fibers from the garment industry and recycling them as pulp for our deckled edge paper. They are beautiful, soft and free of any child labor! We have had to learn how to letterpress print to keep the cost down, but so very worth it!
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
Well, I love coffee so I would definitely try to hit up a coffee shop we have never tried out before. I like new experiences! Then I would do a tour of all of the stationery shops in town. I’m a nerd! I love to cook, so maybe back to my place for wine and homecooked meal.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would love to give a shoutout to the A21 campaign and the International Justice Mission. We donate to both of these organizations from our profits. These two organizations are combating human trafficking, slavery in the supply chain, forced labor and bonded labor. Their work is making an incredible impact in the human rights of children, women and men from around the world. They are the reason why we create and why we continue to champion the fight against modern day slavery.
Deisy Mendoza of Water and Grace Photography (coffee picture)
Nominate someone: ShoutoutAtlanta is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.