This post originally appeared on the SugarxndSpice blog here: https://www.sugarxndspice.com/money-mouth/
We’re excited to feature this guest post by SugarxndSpice! We feel blessed to have such an authentic and passionate Latinx ally sharing her thoughts about our business! Enjoy her very entertaining review.
Happy Indigenous Peoples Day!
Cue the plethora of celebratory posts on your social medium of choice. Cue the cute selfies in “F*ck Columbus” tees with rolled up sleeves.
Sometimes that’s all the resistance you can afford, I get it. But you know me, I’m never gonna let you slide with the bare minimum. I implore all of my readers and followers whom I consider extended family, to DO MORE. There’s always just a little more we can do. Just a little louder we can be.
Include celebrating Indigenous peoples in your daily agendas. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture to make a difference. It can really be as simple as NOT purchasing Native/Indigenous inspired products that you know to be fake. I’m looking at you, Forever 21. You and your equally trash competitors CANNOT sit with us at the revolution.
Growing up between two counties put me in the unique position of first hand witness experience of the exploitation the Indigenous communities face. Literally, from start to finish I saw it all with my own eyes.
How a singular and sometimes group of women spent their days painstakingly double checking every detail of a protective amulet before handing it over to my mother, to protect my then infant brother from mal de ojo. Ojos de venado wrapped in leather decorated my wrists for the better part of my early childhood because brujeria and malas vibras ARE A VERY REAL THING.
I remember weavers chatting among themselves, chismeando as the day’s work made progress and Indigenous women handed finished fabrics over to others who could embroider and make them beautiful. We used to have to wait for hours to receive our shirts, blankets, protective amulets because to the producers of the materials, that work was personal and an extension of themselves.
Then, I’d walk to the mall with my parents after dinner, “Pa bajar la comida” and see almost carbon copies of the colorful patterns on the racks of brand name stores for like–$12.95.
Even then, I was like uhh—- This…this isn’t adding up. How come we went to Mexico and waited hours if we could have just walked across the street and pay less?!
But in my youthful naivete, I couldn’t help but wonder how come the women sold their products for so cheap in stores but charged more if you went to them in person??? I had no idea that they were never produced by the same source and that the products, though similar, were of very different quality and were manufactured overseas, further exploiting groups of artists and laborers.
Which leads me to Turquoise Skies.
Turquoise Skies reached out to me offering pieces of their authentically Native designed and produced jewelry pieces for me to style and compare to mass produced copies.
Ya’ll know me. I don’t like to feel like blogging is my job and I don’t accept sponsored posts often but I did my research and T. Skies is it. They’re the real deal from start to finish.
Not only are they transparent about their buying process, they actively highlight their Native artists with biographies and examples of further work on their website. In addition to publishing profiles of the faces behind the jewelry, they offer a wide range of educational resources both about local tribes and also buying authentic jewelry for the beginner level consumers.
Turquoise Skies is based in New Mexico and there, they work to protect the authenticity of their designers and producers. Not only do they pay to obtain original Native work, but they also actively employ a Native majority. Their artists are hooked up with free video and photography marketing to boost awareness.
T.Skies was a perfect match for me. They put their money where their mouth is, paying their artists and offering them promotion as well. Their money goes directly back to their community as well, funding artists and Native employee paychecks.
The earrings themselves are beautiful and while they’re meant to be worn a little shorter, they’re pictured dangling a little more dramatically for the gram. You know how it is, ha!
Each purchase comes with a Certificate of Authenticity and comes with your jewelry packed neatly in a fabric tie-bag with their minimalist logo in the front. Could definitely double as a coin purse because it’s gorgeous! But let me tell you, the real treasure is that Certificate of Authenticity.
Sure, the earrings are real cute, REAL cute. But you genuinely
just FEEL better knowing that you made a responsible purchase. So now you’re not just looking fly as hell, flexing on your friends. Now you can also add socially conscious and responsible consumerism to your bragging. And if you’re curious about exactly who made your jewelry? You can literally just lurk their website to find your artist and put a face to the work!
Ya’ll know authenticity means EVERYTHING to me. Everyone wants to be a blogger but no one wants to be an activist. Everyone wants to be a bad b*tch but no one wants to be the bad guy when it comes time. Ya’ll love wearing Indigenous patterns and symbols but how many of you go out of your way to make sure someone of Native descent is getting your #Coinzzz??
I will say this, they are DEFINITELY pricier than your F21 knockoff. But you get what you pay for and you’re DIRECTLY supporting Native communities. If you can’t afford the steeper price, I can’t fault for you that. I get it. But then don’t buy the knockoffs because if you can’t help the problems facing Native artists then please for the love of God, don’t CONTRIBUTE to them either. I promise you, you will live if you pass them up on your mall run.
Again, let’s celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day every single day! Promote Native art, Native music, Native content! F it! Even giving T. Skies a follow on Instagram is offering support. Engage with their posts, comment, tag your friends etc. Even when you can’t afford to buy, engaging with your favorite accounts (including yours truly) builds a community of support and shows solidarity.
I think back to the women so present in my childhood, responsible for many of the protective amulets in our home and I’m grateful for them. Back then, I had no knowledge of, let alone any ideas of how to help their struggles. But today I know better and now you do too and we’re already just a baby step closer to justice for these artists and their communities.
Seriously, check em out.
Bendiciones como siempre,
Doña Denisse aka Sugarxndspice