Spending Your Money Where it Counts

Screenshot of an Instagram shot that says, "Know a minority or ally-owned quilt, fabric, sewing, fiber, craft or knitting store?  Name it in the comments!"

I think we all noticed and were taken aback by how silent the big sewing, craft, pattern, and fabric brands were on Tuesday when people around the world put a black square on their Instagram feeds to show solidarity with and amplify Black voices and more importantly, Black lives. Bernina. Dritz. McCalls. Hobby Lobby. Clover. Viking. Janome. Simplicity. Joann Fabrics. Brother. Singer. Just a few of the many.

It was an incredible opportunity to show a significant portion of their customer bases that, “We hear you. You matter to us. Your dollars matter to us. Your lives matter to us,” especially since brands do hear us, we do matter, our dollars matter, and so do our lives. Black lives matter. Every time, all the time, since 1619 in the United States, further back in other countries.

The silence has been absolutely deafening. For Black sewers, knitters, and crafters, the silence on Tuesday and into Wednesday was as loud and as punishing as a skyscraper falling down. We have seen this happen before. Moments of national unrest that affect portions of the population in a largely negative way go unnoticed by the big brands these very populations support. Not this time. The silence has reverberated and shaken many in the sewing community, not just Black sewers and fiber artists, but allies and other marginalized communities as well. We are considered the canaries in the mine after all.

Screenshot of an Instagram post that says, "Let’s do this! I’ve built the framework for the google doc and will share access. Let me know in the comments of any ally and minority owned fabric, craft, sewing, fiber, knitting store so we can start creating the community we want to see. This may not be scalable in the future but it’s a start. We can reevaluate as we go along. Make sure you @ them! And don’t forget our international brothers and sisters in EMEA, APAC, Africa, and Antarctica ❤️. Don’t forget size inclusive sewing pattern companies!

6/2 Update: check my link in the bio for access to the sheet! Make sure you share it!"

As a result, I decided on Monday afternoon to put a list together of places where I knew my dollars mattered. I wanted to spend my money where it would count and where I would (and do) feel appreciated. I sent out a simple request, to “Let’s do this!” And “do this” we did. Hundreds of DMs and comments later, I’ve been able to vet and add 233 companies whose ethics align with mine and many in the community. And it is still going. Podcasts, publications, sewing instructors, sheep farms that sell fleece, custom fabric designers, fabric stores, pattern weight designers, and more populate this list. This list is truly a reflection of the community I am seeking to build. I can only change my little corner of the world, and if you seek to change your little corner of the world, soon it will all be different.

Screenshot of an Instagram post calling for companies to add to the vendor list.

If you are interested in adding a minority or ally-owned store to the Shut Up and Sew safe space to shop list, please send a message to @pinkmimosabyjacinta on instagram or comment below.

Jacinta is a vintage fashion lover, prolific sewer, and owner of over 35 plants that she lovingly tends to on an hourly basis. Mariah Carey is the Queen of her life and you can find her sassing her way through life and fabric on Instagram at the @PinkMimosabyJacinta handle or on www.shopjacintagreen.com. She lives in sunny Seattle, Washington.