Fashion That Feeds
Shop styles for social good via Half United, a brand passionate about fighting global hunger and making the world a better place.
Want to feel good about what you’re wearing? Look no further than the sustainable and socially impactful styles found at Wilmington’s Half United, a company with a mission to fight hunger and empower lives with every purchase. A social commerce brand, Half United fights hunger by donating seven meals per product sold to children and families in need and through gainful employment opportunities. Its reach extends from North Carolina to countries such as Uganda, Haiti, Mexico, India and others … and likely sending help to Turkey in the wake of its massive earthquake.
After a trip to Haiti a few years ago, the staff at Half United discovered that creating jobs through developing a line of leather handbags and boosting employment did more to alleviate hunger than any of the brand’s prior efforts solely supplying meals.
Now you’ll find the brand multiplying jobs in about seven other countries by employing skilled artisans to make all types of creative and quality goods such as jewelry, hand-blown glass, clothing, home products and more.
“When you create a consistent, fair-paying job for someone who lives in an adverse economy or situation that does not otherwise have access to employment, the issue of hunger virtually vanishes,” says Carmin Black, one of the brand’s founders.
The organization’s philosophy is reminiscent of the old saying, “If you give a man a fish he will eat for a day. If you teach a man to fish, he will eat for a lifetime.”
Half United offers both fish and fishing lessons. With short-term solutions in place such as working with community gardens, food banks and donating food in addition to its long-term job creation plan, the brand is steeled for success.
In 2009 Black’s brother began their business by borrowing $200 from their mother. The organization’s first office space existed in the room over their grandparents’ garage. From there, the siblings honed their skills in product development via homemade shirts and necklaces made from recycled bullet casings — affectionately dubbed “fighting hunger necklaces.” They would bring their supplies to the community at youth groups, local craft fairs, friends’ homes or anywhere they could find support for the cause.
At the start of the business, Half United donated 10% of its sales to people in need and has since grown to its seven meals per product sold strategy.
To boot, the small social commerce brand has grown from its humble beginnings to stronger partnerships at home and abroad. You might even find their goods in retailers such as Nordstrom, Target or Whole Foods.
“We just fell in love with the joy that came from creating products and seeing people feel blessed and happy through having enough to eat and a sustainable food source,” Black says. “Our north star is always our mission, and we realize that it is our privilege and honor to be working on behalf of people in need.”
Looking ahead, Black shares that Half United is implementing a boots-on-the-ground approach and is bringing the mission back home to Wilmington.
Half United has plans to acquire and help run a local nonprofit program in the area that operates an urban farm, 10 community gardens, a farm-to-school program and a $500,000 community kitchen starting in fall 2023.
All in all, there’s nothing more stylish than a good social cause.
Ready to fight hunger and flaunt some new fashion?
Visit halfunited.com or visit the shop at 1607 Queen Street, Suite 101 in Wilmington.