Saints, Fashion and Fair Trade: Servi Store

We were fortunate to be interviewed and featured by Cradio.

Servi Store founder Ajesh Abraham speaks to us about how the fashion-brand began, and how it seeks to combat the troubling effects of fast fashion and over-industrialised cotton.

Below is an extract from cradio:

Servi Store wasn’t something that founder Ajesh Abraham thought he would begin, but it has proved to be a fruitful endeavour. Since its launch at the Australian Catholic Youth Festival 2015, Servi Store has sought to combine the wisdom of the saints, ethical manufacturing and good fashion with its range of fair-trade clothing.



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How can organisations help end modern slavery?

Make no mistake, slavery still exists. It continues even this day. Women coerced into prostitution. People compelled to work in farming, domestic job and factories. Women and children are denied their basic human rights, working in factories across the globe producing goods. These are all forms of modern slavery, and they exist in today.

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) predicts that around 21 million people around the world are in slavery. The majority of them are women and children. Forced labour in the private economy generates US$ 150 billion in illegal profits per year.

Unfortunately, fashion and clothing industry is one of the biggest exploiters of workers and polluter of the environment. There are many initiatives like Fashion Revolution and The True Cost movie, that exposes these truths and encourages individuals to be more ethical in their purchases.

Just like people are invited to do so, corporates and organisations have a role to play. Is it time to for them to review the sources from where they procure their goods and resources? An ethical sourcing policy, ensuring the human dignity of everyone affected at the same time protecting the environment is a crucial step or a good starting point.

There are many ways organisations can play their part in ending slavery. They can start with one step. Just like one of our t-shirts quote says "You aspire to great things? Begin with little ones.".


Within our past 18 months of operations, Servi Store has already helped a number of organisations in procuring their custom merchandising including promotional apparels and corporate uniforms. We sourced it using a 100% Fairtrade supply chain and only used products made from organic cotton. We work with them closely to meet their specific needs. We are so proud to partner with them in restoring the dignity of the workers.

Here is what one of our clients had to say about our service.

"Cire Services used Servi Store to supply uniforms for our employees. The items were of excellent quality and the process from design to supply was seamless. Servi Store is highly recommended." Robynne Mauger. Cire Services.

What are the other ways you think organisations can help end modern slavery?

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Hold on to HOPE

First of all, warm wishes of Easter to you and your families from all of us here at Servi. On Easter as we remember and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, it is also an opportunity to contemplate the core message of this day. That is the fact that there is always HOPE.


It's already April and I can't believe how quickly time is flying by and can't help but look ahead to another year filled with plenty of interesting events. The better part of the first few weeks of 2017 was spent making some significant changes to our business structure and a great deal of exciting goodies are in the pipeline. This includes new quotes, new tees, new products and a few new custom merchandising partnerships that we are really thrilled about. However, being Fairtrade and a small business means that we are taking little extra time than big players to get these products out to the public, which is perfectly okay. We also took some time to think about the road ahead, specifically to prioritise our goals for the year and to streamline our focus.

That being said, we have decided the following as one of the main objectives for this year: a focus on Hope.


There is so much going on in the world. All you need to is just switch on the news in the morning or scroll through your newsfeed on Facebook to know what all is wrong with the world. Yet, does this mean that we are living through a bad time in history? I don't think so. There has always been tragedies, problems and worries in the world. Nevertheless, humanity has always discovered ways to overcome it. Unfortunately, today's media fail to cover, to greater extent, stories of progress and overcoming evil. That is why we want to focus on hope for this year. We want to let everyone know that yes, we are hopeful. Everything we are going to do this year will be centered around the theme of Hope. This means that you will see a few new designs with quotes on, you guessed it, Hope! So keep an eye out for these exciting and hopeful designs!


Viktor Frankl, an Austrian neurologist, psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor, wrote accounts of his experiences as a concentration camp inmate in his book Man’s Search for Meaning. He states that his experience in the concentration camp led him to discover the importance of finding meaning in all forms of existence, even the most brutal ones, and thus, a reason to continue living. He points out that people in these horrible circumstances reacted in radically different ways. Some killed themselves, others praised God even as they walked into the arms of death. As Frankl remarked, "He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how" (Man’s Search for Meaning, 121).


Humanity needs hope to keep going. We all need a hope that doesn't depend on results. We all need a very profound ‘why’ to face almost any ‘how’s in our lives. So perhaps this year, we can inspire you to join us in exploring that 'why' this year.

“I plead with you – never, ever give up on hope, never doubt, never tire, and never become discouraged. Be not afraid.” – Pope John Paul II



Hopeful at it,

Ajesh Abraham
Founder, Servi Store.

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A smart, comfortable and ethical new look uniforms for Cire Services

Servi Store recently partnered with Cire Services, a community organisation in the Yarra Valley, Victoria to source their uniforms. Here is the article about the same as featured on their blog.


Cire Services is an organisation with a vision and mission to support community. Our staff are proud and happy to serve our local communities through the different services we provide. Now Cire employees have another reason to be proud. Staff are now supporting families and communities in other parts of the world, especially cotton farmers and garment workers in rural India. We are able to do this through our new and re-branded polo shirt uniforms; which are made with 100% certified organic cotton and are made under a Fairtrade agreement.

Why organic cotton?

Organic cotton, unlike conventional cotton, is produced using methods and materials that have a low impact on the environment. The seeds are not genetically modified and organic cotton is grown without the use of toxic pesticides and fertilisers. It is soft, sturdy and resilient. Organic cotton is better for the environment as it reduces pollution, conserves biodiversity and prevents water contamination. 

What does sourcing Fairtrade certified uniforms involve?

Fairtrade certification ensures better working conditions and ethical terms of trade for farmers and workers in developing countries. The standards include protection of workers’ rights, the protection of children and also the preservation of the environment.

In some developing countries, children as young as six years old spend an average of 64 hours a week making clothing for the world’s leading brands and retailers. That’s close to 30 hours more than the weekly working hours of an Australian adult. Adding to these shocking statistics is the fact that these children get paid less than $2 a day. They are children who should be going to school, dreaming about the future and laughing with kids their own age. They should not be working almost 9 hours a day to provide for their families.

Cire made the decision to source a new uniform supplier who matched our values. The new polo shirt uniforms for Cire employees are made ethically. The polo shirts look fresh and feel comfortable; and were sourced locally through a Melbourne based Fairtrade certified custom merchandise company, thank you Servi Store for your help in meeting our environmental goals.

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Who pays the price for your bargain shopping?

Who doesn’t love a good bargain, especially when it comes to clothes? Many people are even willing to compromise quality for a low price. However, what we fail to realise is that the price of our cheap clothing is being paid by the little hands of impoverished children from countries like  Bangladesh.

That's right! Someone as young as 6 could have been the one that made that cute top you got last week for $6.

According to the Overseas Development Institute, approximately one third of the children who live in the slums of the country's capital, Dhaka, spend an average of 64 hours a week making clothing for the world's leading brands and retailers. That's 16 hours more than the weekly working hours of a European adult, who works 48 hours! The Institute also found through a survey of 2,700 families, that 32% of 10 to 14-year-olds had to skip school to work fulltime at garment factories. Adding to these shocking statistics is the fact that these children only get paid less than $2 a day. These are children that should be going to school, dreaming about the future and laughing with kids their age. They should not, under any circumstance, be working almost 9 hours a day to provide for their families. 

In recent years, the Bangladeshi government has put in some effort to remove the worst kinds of child labour, but more than 5 million of the country's children (aged 5-17) remain engaged in some form of employment, according to the International Labour Organisation. The minimum working age in Bangladesh is 14, however, children aged 12 and above can execute 'light work', if it doesn't interfere with their education. Keep in mind that what is considered 'light work' is 42 hours a week. Still, the prohibition carries out its aim of explicitly barring children from pulling all-night shifts or performing any hazardous tasks.

It is said that by the age of 14, more than half the children living in Dhaka's slums are working, with two thirds of the employed girls toiling away their futures for Bangladesh's $19 billion-per-year garment industry.

A vast number of the boys and girls reported extreme fatigue, back pain, fever and superficial injuries.

So how can we, as ordinary consumers, help put a stop to this injustice? The answer is simple: buy fair-trade certified products or at least start asking the question to the brands seeking transparency of their supply chain. Not only are we assisting in keeping these children out of cruel factories, but also helping them get an education and thereby a future.

Servi Store is committed to use a Fairtrade certified supply chain. Fairtrade certified producer organizations and traders are committed to preventing and effectively eliminating all forms of Forced Labour, Child Labour and human trafficking.

So, next time you go clothes shopping or bargain hunting, just remember the tiny hands that work tirelessly to clothe you. Buy Fairtrade.

Featured photo by: GMB Akash 

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