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June 2013

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Fair Trade & Eco-Friendly Celia Grace

Written by , Posted in Vendor Spotlight, Wedding Experts, Wedding Fashions

Celia Grace  describes itself as a “…for-profit social enterprise: a triple bottom line business considering people, planet and profit in every decision it makes. [Its] mission is to provide brides with a gorgeous wedding dress that matches their values of human rights, environmental sustainability, and empowering women. Celia Grace wedding dresses are hand made by women’s cooperatives, Fair Trade producers, and refugees rebuilding their lives in the United States. [It provides] women with safe, fair, and empowering work that gives women dignity, respect, skills, and self confidence so that they can better themselves, their families, and their communities.”

We got a chance to ask the founder & CEO of Celia Grace, Marcelia Muehlke, some questions about what it means to be Eco-friendly and be a fair trade company. Read our interview below and then join us for her trunk show June 14-16, 2013.

fair trade|eco-friendly celia grace wedding dress 1. We love your mission.  Can you explain what it means to be a fair trade company?

I love what I do! Not only do I get to connect with the country’s most beautiful brides and top bridal boutiques but I also get to work with the amazing women who weave our silk and sew our dresses.  As a fair trade company Celia Grace ensures that our dresses and accessories are made under safe and fair conditions.  That means that our brides can feel confident about how their dress was made—our seamstresses are paid a living wage, get benefits, work reasonable hours, have upward mobility and are treated like the smart, valuable, talented professionals they are.  Working with these women also means Celia Grace dresses are exquisitely handmade.

2. What is a women’s sewing collective and where are they located?

Celia Grace wedding dresses and accessories are made by a women’s sewing group in Cambodia. Whereas most clothing is made by women working in huge, unhealthy clothing factories overseen by male managers, our dresses are made by a few dozen women in a comfortable workshop overseen by a head seamstress.  The women have regular meetings to plan vacation days, schedule production, improve quality, and exchange ideas.

3. A bride is not only paying you for their dress, they are making a donation as well.  What is the cause?

That is right!  Celia Grace donates a water filter to a family with every dress sold.  The water filter provides safe drinking water in rural Cambodian villages where clean water is expensive and hard to come by.  Clean drinking water means girls go to school, parents can work, better health for babies and improved quality of life for families.

4. Why the name, Celia Grace?

“Grace” has many meanings but beauty and goodness are my two favorites and they get at the heart of what Celia Grace is – stunning wedding dresses that also make the world a better place.  Celia is part of my full name, Marcelia, which was also my grandmother’s name and her grandmother’s name.

Marcelia Muehlke|founder & ceo celia grace

Marcelia Muehlke

5. What are your goals for the new season?

My goal is to help our brides, who are such amazing people, look more beautiful and feel more joyful on their wedding day.  And by doing that we’re also giving back and helping women around the world.

See you during the 3 day Trunk Show June 14-16. Each bride who purchases a Celia Grace gown will receive 10% off! Visit www.soliloquybridal.com to request your appointment!

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