It’s Only Fair!
Reegan Hill opened It’s Only Fair! in Newport, raising funds and awareness to combat human trafficking
Starting a business has been a life-long dream for Reegan Hill. She could never pinpoint what kind of business she wanted to start though. That is, until she learned about human trafficking five years ago.
Hill researched and found non-profits working with rescued girls in Thailand and Cambodia who were teaching the girls vocational skills like sewing and jewelry making. A big downfall of the groups, however, was that the products weren’t properly marketed and therefore sold. “My daughter, Marissa and I realized that was something that we could do,” says Hill, and the journey began there.
In order to purchase these items for resale, they needed a Tax ID number and a business license. So, “In His Image Designs LLC” (IHID) was founded in 2008 by Hill. “The name In His Image Designs came from the belief that we are all created in God’s image,” Hill explains.
What just started as home parties, and vendor booths at art shows and music festivals eventually turned into the opening of a brick-and-mortar retail store called “It’s Only Fair!” in Newport where clients could have more frequent and easier access to the products.
“Our shop carries scarves, handmade greeting cards, fair trade chocolate, tea and coffee, clothing and shoes, home décor like wall hangings and pillows, as well as jewelry bags from places like India, Guatemala, Haiti and Uganda,” Hill says. “Each item is hand-crafted and beautiful, but it is the story behind the product, the hands that have touched it and the lives it has changed.”
With the opening of “It’s Only Fair!” and simply spreading awareness about human trafficking, IHID went from having a partnership with two organizations in two countries to having more than 30 partnerships with non-profits and for profit businesses in dozens of countries.
Though IHID carries many made-by-survivor products, created by both men and women, Hill places a strong focus on specifically carrying products made by women because she believes that by promoting fair trade, she will empower women around the world.
“While I will always be passionate about fighting trafficking, I am now equally passionate about promoting Fair Trade, especially as it empowers women. And while we do carry things that are made by men, we specifically look for products that are created by women,” Hill explains, “Poverty, and the hopeless desperation that it causes is what makes women so vulnerable to trafficking and prostitution in the first place and I believe that job creation is one of the solutions.”
IHID’s creators from all over the world use several unique materials when making products, quite a few of them being made from recycled materials. For example, Guatemalan bags made from women’s colorful blouses, necklaces that are made in Kenya made from grass, wall hangings from India made from vintage saris and earrings that are made from bullet shells in Cambodia. Prices for IHID’s products range from about $6, for a beaded friendship bracelet, to $25, for a pair of earrings from Cambodia. IHID is predominantly run like a non-profit channeling all of their profits back into the purchase of more products and continuing to create more jobs and a source of income for those in Third World Countries.
As Hill continues to fight for those experiencing injustices such as human trafficking and modern day slavery, she hopes to continue to grow “It’s Only Fair!” as a successful local business and focus on the Fair Trade movement locally. In the future, she hopes to organize a Fair Trade fashion show. She will also be involved in the local human trafficking conference in January.
“My whole life, I have longed to do something that really mattered! To feel like I was making a difference,” she says. “So this whole adventure has been a dream come true for me. I know what we are doing is changing the world…one purchase at a time.”
To learn more about IHID, go to www.inhisimagedesigns.org. Visit “It’s Only Fair!” on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ItsOnlyFair or at 911 Monmouth Street, Newport, Kentucky.