Can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Taylor Smith and I live in Greenville, South Carolina with my husband. I was born & raised in South Carolina and attended the University of South Carolina where I got my bachelor’s degree in Social Work. My husband and I love spending our free time with friends and family and walking around our cute little town! I have a special place in my heart for dark chocolate, vanilla lattes, and a good book on a rainy day.
What exactly is Milk & Honey Market?
Milk & Honey Market is an online fair trade boutique. We partner with brands across the globe and carry goods that fight for fair wages, safe working conditions, sustainable employment, and fight child labor, human trafficking, and cyclical poverty.
What inspired you to start Milk & Honey Market?
I learned about human trafficking in college, when I heard Christine Caine from The A21 Campaign speak. I had very little knowledge of human trafficking at that point, and it hit me that I was completely oblivious to the MAJOR social injustice that was a global problem. I graduated with my degree in social work and began to research, learn, and volunteer as much as possible. Fast forward a few years later to 2016, I learned about fair trade goods and how purchasing them demanded a better world. I knew human trafficking was often linked to cyclical poverty and a lack of dignified, sustainable jobs but I had no idea how much of an impact I could have with how I spent my money. I discovered so many beautiful brands that were providing dignified jobs all over the world, and decided to build a platform to pull them all together. The store was born.
How did you come up with the name?
Once my husband and I had talked through what we wanted the store to look like, I knew I wanted the name to represent & be connected to what we were fighting for: abolishing slavery. At the time, I was doing a study on the book Joshua in the Bible and learning in depth about the Israelites. Joshua tells the story of the fulfillment of a promise made by God to Moses in Exodus. He promised to deliver the Israelites from slavery in Egypt and to bring them to the Promised Land, the land flowing with Milk & Honey.
Our hope is that the name Milk & Honey Market will create conversations about modern day slavery. We hope that it will encourage individuals to fight for those who cannot use their own voice, to reach the Promised Land: freedom. We hope individuals feel the weight of their purchase and the difference they are making. Every purchase directly affects artisans of the brands we partner with, and it empowers them so their tables can overflow with Milk & Honey.
Where are your products sold? Are they sold in stores?
At the moment our products are mostly sold online through our store! We also do private Pop-Up Marketplace events in people’s homes in South Carolina as well as public vendor events.
What is your favorite part about running Milk & Honey Market?
My favorite part of running Milk & Honey Market is the impact that our customers have on individuals around the world. As we grow, we get to place bigger orders with our brand partners and fight for sustainability, empowerment, and opportunity across the globe. I also love the conversations that are a product of customers purchasing fair trade goods; it is so important to spread awareness about human trafficking and the lack of dignified jobs.
What is your least favorite part about running Milk & Honey Market?
I wouldn’t say I have a least favorite part of running Milk & Honey Market! Being an entrepreneur can be an emotional rollercoaster, so having a support system around me to encourage me through the hard times and celebrate the exciting times is crucial to running a business.
Is there a favorite product?
That is so hard to pick, I love every piece and think all the artisans are beyond talented! I am all about simplicity when it comes to jewelry, so my staple pieces that I wear all the time are our Edna Earrings, Diamond in the Rough studs, Honeycomb necklace, and On the Horizon Necklace. But honestly, I rotate through every piece often!
Every purchase creates opportunity across the globe, can you tell us about that?
You fight for the world you want with your money! When you spend your money with big retailers, it very often continues the problem of unsafe factories, low wages, and often times child labor. When you purchase fair trade goods, you are choosing to contribute to dignity, sustainability, and freedom.
How do you spread the word about your company?
Do you have any advice for fellow entrepreneurs?
My biggest piece of advice is to never be the smartest person in the room and to always push yourself outside of your comfort zone. Always surround yourself with people that challenge you, help you grow, and teach you new things. Take every chance you get to buy someone coffee or a meal, to pick their brain and ask for their opinion or knowledge. If you ever start to feel too comfortable, you’re doing something wrong 🙂
Do you have a favorite quote or go to saying? ☺
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” – Wayne Gretzky – Michael Scott (For The Office fans of the world)
But one of my real favorite quotes surrounding fair trade/ethical goods is: “It’s a small miracle that we as consumers can participate in a process that is keeping skills and communities alive and helping them to prosper.” – Emma Watson
Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
We hope that as the fair trade/ethical goods movement grows, more people examine who is making their goods and how they are made.