When stress or boredom starts to take its toll on me, I ask my fella to “tell me something good”. More often than not, he rolls his eyes and carries on with what he’s doing. I don’t take it personally, though; who can be expected to think up “good stuff” on demand? This week, however, he surprised me with something good – an email containing a link to Hello Rewind’s t-shirt upcycling program. It was the first that I had heard of the fledgling organization and I was immediately impressed. Not only is it something good for the earth, it’s something good for survivors of sex trafficking in New York City.
Here’s how it works: you have a favourite t-shirt that you no longer wear, but can’t bear to part with. Rather than let it langish at the bottom of a drawer, you contact Hello Rewind and tell them that you want it made into a sleeve for your 13“, 15“ or 17“ laptop. You pay them 49 bucks and in a few days you’ll receive a prepaid envelope, which you fill with the aformentioned shirt and drop back into the mail. They stitch it up into a custom, padded sleeve and before you can say “upcycle”, it is back in your hands. Not only will your laptop be cozy and happy, you’ll be happy knowing that you’ve helped women get off the street and back on their feet. How cool is that?
Hello Rewind got its start as a simple idea – take an old t-shirt and make it into something new and usable like, say, a laptop sleeve. The social/rehabilitation aspect of the business came into the picture when the company formed an alliance with the founder of Restore, NYC; an organization which provides support and housing to women victimized by the international sex trade. Soon, the ball was rolling and the company is becoming a source of support, training and income for women trying to break free from prostitution rings. The young women, mostly in their 20s and 30s, are taught to make the custom laptop sleeves, paid a fair wage and given a safe and viable option to a dangerous and marginalizing lifestyle.
The $49 that Hello Rewind charges for the sleeves is, in their words, a “break-even” price. The money that they receive is spent on training and wages for the women in the program, materials, shipping and operational costs. If there is anything left after that, it is used to sustain the business itself. From the sounds of it, no one is getting rich over at Hello Rewind. Not financially, that is.
Check out the Hello Rewind blog for more info on their background and what they do. To read more about what Restore, NYC are doing to help integrate ex-sex trade workers back into society, visit their site.