New Langley shop with fair trade mindset opens

Lilly and Barry van Gerbig are taking a stand and an admittedly exciting and nerve-wracking risk by opening their store, Fair Trade Outfitters.

Barry and Lilly van Gerbig opened Fair Trade Outfitters in early July

Lilly and Barry van Gerbig are taking a stand and an admittedly exciting and nerve-wracking risk by opening their store, Fair Trade Outfitters. 

The Bayview couple opened their new clothing shop on Anthes Avenue during the July 4 weekend and saw a strong first month of sales. Taking advantage of a newly renovated and divided building that formerly housed Joe’s Music, sandwiched between the Good Cheer Thrift Store and the former Mike’s Place, they decided back in February to make a go in clothing retail in the Village by the Sea after living on the South End for the past three years. Their angle is to provide women with form-flattering attire that they can feel confident both in the look and in the knowledge that their outfits helped support a community across the globe.

“The fact that all the people who are making the clothes are making a living wage is an added bonus,” Lilly van Gerbig said inside her shop Thursday morning.

The racks are lined with blouses, shirts and dresses that were made in Nepal, Tibet and Thailand. Many of the offerings are in solid colors with soft, durable fabrics, but a handful of summer dresses are adorned in floral prints that stand in stark contrast to the color-coordinated rows of blue, red, orange, green and white. Some of the clothes start at $12, with basic T-shirts around $20. Everything in their shop, they said, was “comfortable and versatile.”  

“You really want the clothes to be the art,” Barry van Gerbig said.

He would know. He is an artist whose works feature exotic animals such as giraffes, hippos, leopards, lions and zebras like the giant painting behind the counter.

Like many artists, income insecurity exists. But they both believe in what they have to offer as merchants and have already felt supported by customers.

“It’s been fun meeting the community,” said Lilly van Gerbig, who may be a familiar face to Langley shoppers. She previously worked at the Chocolate Flower Farm and the Star Store.

Added Barry van Gerbig: “It’s a blessing to have the support we’ve had.”

 

More in Business

Mother-daughter duo bringing corners of the world to Whidbey

Fiona and Francesca Coenen-Winer sell pieces from near and far

Island Senior Resources aims to raise $10k Aug. 1

Growing demand for essential services strains nonprofit agency

Habitat taking over Saratoga Community Housing

After witnessing Saratoga Community Housing’s declining effectiveness, Habitat for Humanity of Island… Continue reading

Celebrate everything rabbit-related during Bunny Daze, March 26-31

Spring has sprung, and so have the bunnies. Celebrate the furry creatures… Continue reading

Schools foundation holding Dine Out Wednesdays

The South Whidbey Schools Foundation is holding its March Dine Out Wednesdays… Continue reading

Langley chocolatier Mona Newbauer offers a wide variety of gourmet chocolates in her shop, Sweet Mona’s. Some of those chocolates will make their way to Coupeville Saturday for the annual Chocolate Walk. Photo by Megan Hansen/Whidbey News-Times
Chocolate Walk tickets selling quickly

A handful of tickets remain available for Saturday’s Coupeville Chocolate Walk. For… Continue reading

Seed farm grows with online store | CORRECTED

The growth of Deep Harvest Farm has been measured and intentional. Owners… Continue reading

The Braeburn set to expand restaurant space in Langley

An expansion has been “long overdue” at The Braeburn, according to the… Continue reading

Whidbey Island Natural closes Langley storefront

After 17 years on First Street in Langley, Whidbey Island Natural is… Continue reading

Whidbey Coffee gets new facility, director

One of Whidbey Island’s homegrown businesses is getting a double shot of… Continue reading

Island Herb in Freeland donates half of Nov. 28 sales for Giving Tuesday

Island Herb owner Lucas Jushinski is donating green of a different kind… Continue reading

Whidbey Tire Auto set to close its doors after decades of service

After serving South Whidbey since 1980, Whidbey Tire & Auto owner Dana… Continue reading