According to the United Nation Office of Drugs and Crimes 2018 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, 65 percent of trafficked persons in North America are women over the age of 18, and 20 percent are girls under 18. But, one woman is trying to help survivors get out of the vicious cycle of modern-day slavery. Frances Shortt-Carattini founded her company Anther Accessories in New York in 2018. Shortt-Carattini uses the profits from the jewelry, loungewear and candles sold on her company's website to help survivors of human trafficking in various ways. From donating the money to organizations that will further investigations into human trafficking cases, or by providing survivors jobs in her company. We chat with this Qween about her inspiration for making a change in the world through her entrepreneurship, and what that could mean for combatting social injustices.
What inspired you to start Anther Accessories?
What ultimately inspired me to begin Anther Accessories was my desire to give back. Before starting up this company, I was working in digital marketing and project management for multiple athletic footwear companies, and I was always given a graceful budget to work with and test my theories. These numbers always made me wonder how much money was really circulating in the world and could be put to use to solve some of America’s most sensitive and least talked about problems.
Why did you want to start with jewelry pieces?
I started with jewelry pieces because, at the time of introducing a product, I wasn’t dead set on what I wanted to provide in turn for monies to distribute to different causes. I was simply obsessed with the simplicity of jewelry, and after months of retail research, I wanted to not only serve a purpose with my profits but also provide the ultimate value to customers at an affordable rate. The current profit margins on a simple 24k gold necklace is huge right now, but I wanted to also show people that you didn’t have to pay $200+ for one piece to complete an outfit.
What inspired you to start creating loungewear?
The benefits of self-care go further than clear skin from an avocado face mask. Why not provide a tool that can help you feel and look amazing after a hard time of work. Millennials in 2019 are stressed if not depressed and dealing with anxiety. I learned very early not to give a customer what you want but to instead giving them something they’ll need.
How did you come up with the name Anther Accessories?
I played around with this name for a while. Funny enough, my husband helped me pick out this name two years ago when we were just dating. The anther is an essential reproductive organ within a flower. I thought the name was nice and fitting for my idea to “plant seeds into the cracks of America.”
You sell candles that all profits are used towards helping victims of human trafficking, why candles?
All of my products benefit the fight against human trafficking. The candles more specifically contribute 100% of funds to savings girls.
Why were you inspired to donate a percentage of your profits to help eliminate trafficking?
I was thinking about all of the women and children alike who have lost their lives to being trafficked both for labour and sex. Lighting a fire in their honour while saving the life of another was the idea there.
In which capacity do you work with survivors?
When you purchase an item, the profits are distributed between 3 different nonprofits who actually send individuals out first hand to either negotiate with “johns” who are essentially pimps who manage their workers into returning, or these individuals will loop in the Department of Homeland Security and fund the entire investigation.
On our side, whatever money is left, we use for marketing and advertising purposes to educate people in highly impacted areas how to identify traffickers, how to communicate with victims if found or they suspect someone is being trafficked, what to do. Once victims are mentally safe to return back to the world, I provide them with jobs. Some remote, some physical. All of the apparel for Anther Accessories are hand made by survivors.
Why choose fashion as a means to make a change in the world?
I have not become an expert in any other field for me to take part in it. I am already familiar with the retail world and how to sell through it.
If you were stranded on a desert island what are three things you would need to have with you?
If I were stranded on a desert island, I would have my glasses, an unlimited supply of water, and my husband.
How do you stay motivated as an entrepreneur?
I stay motivated as an entrepreneur by waking up and telling myself that I’m broke. It’s a fear of mine to hit rock bottom, so it pushes me to be more social, get into more projects, close more sales.
What made you decided you were the person to help in the fight?
I wish there was more to be done for human trafficking. The closest thing you see to the epidemic is kidnapping. If not me, then who?
What’s next for Anther?
What’s next for Anther is a weekly self-care email newsletter. No specifics here yet but I am currently working on opening all-female co-working spaces for entrepreneurs on army bases, and that new project has been taking up a lot of my time.
What is one piece of advice you would give other black fashion philanthropic entrepreneurs?
One piece of advice I would give is: If you’re broke, there are at least 10 things you can be doing for your business that requires no money.
You can find more resources on how you can help the fight against human trafficking in all Canadian provinces here.