The two women behind Lavinia Trade and the Toockies Fairtrade Project are Yvonne and Phenia, mother and daughter from Denmark.
We have always cared a lot about our planet and all living creatures on it. Striving to minimize our impact on Earth, always prioritizing organic food, natural products and animal welfare above all.
When Yvonne back in 2015 opened a Nordic interior shop, she searched the Internet for an effective and natural alternative to plastic sponges/scourers. She found that this little cleaning product was incredibly hard to find quality replacements for, but understood how important it was to minimize the microplastics flooding into our oceans.
After a lot of research, she stumbled upon Toockies.
An American brand that through a Fairtrade project in India, produced scrubbers: hand-knit cloths made of jute and cotton.
Not only did the scrubbers look amazing (much prettier than the ugly, colourful sponges) but they were also Fairtrade, the result of a project meant to empower very poor women in rural areas outside Kolkata, India.
Yvonne immediately contacted Anna Marie, the woman behind the brand, and got the exclusive distribution rights in Europe. After that, it went quick. Many companies contacted us to become distributors all across Europe, and the interest and love for Toockies has exploded since then.
Anna Marie spent a decade developing the Toockies Project with her business partner Jaya Basu, who is also the mastermind behind the local NGO running the project. Please visit https://www.promiseworldwide.org/ to see the amazing work they do for people in need in India.
In 2018 Anna Marie gave Lavinia Trade the unique opportunity to take over and continue the Toockies Project in North Eastern India.
And it was a dream come true!
Neither of us are educated in any kind of business studies, but Yvonne, having the experience of being an entrepreneur for almost 30 years, successfully establishing and running a business with her husband, and Phenia – newly graduate with a BA in Intercultural Education and Arabic and full of ideas, we took on this massive responsibility of securing work for all these women.
We have expanded from one village to five villages already. All the women who participate in our project have hopes and dreams, that can finally come true with the money they earn through knitting. See them all here and read about their wishes.
None of this would be possible without all of the wonderful shops, initiatives and kind people who love all Toockies products as much as we do, and believe in a greener world without plastic waste.
We also want to thank Anna Marie for seeing our dedication and love for this project and believing in us.