Set Free, a retail store with a focus on products made by individuals at risk or rescued from human trafficking, has opened at The Cotton Exchange at 308 Nutt St.
Owner Clair Beaver said in an email that she decided to open the store at The Cotton Exchange at the recommendation of other small business owners who said they had a successful start in the location.
The store, which opened June 1 and is located on The Cotton Exchange's lower level, carries women’s clothing, accessories and home goods such as blankets, baskets and metal art, all sourced from India, Cambodia, Thailand and Uganda.
Beaver was motivated to start the store after supporting organizations that fight human trafficking.
“During a recent training, the facilitator said that if you just hear the stories and don't do something about it you can feel very hopeless,” she said. “As a longtime small business owner, it just seemed to be a natural fit to start a business that would benefit victims and those at risk.”
The store’s products include brands Rahab’s Rope, Basha Boutique and the Mighty River Project.
“There are many organizations and brands committed to ending human trafficking by providing job skills and employment opportunities. We want to support this effort and create greater awareness,” Beaver said. “The majority of our products are crafted by individuals in high-risk areas or rescued from human trafficking, specifically to help eradicate poverty, and restore families and dignity.”
The family-owned business is currently being run by Beaver and her daughter, she said.
Beaver moved to Wilmington a year ago.
“I was raised in the South, and I'm thankful to return after 23 years in the Northwest,” Beaver said.
With the new store, Beaver hopes to create an opportunity for local victims to sell their products as well as work more directly with international organizations to develop new products, she said.
“I have been supporting organizations that fight human trafficking for some time and because of that have been exposed to many tragic stories,” Beaver said. “As much as we love beautiful fabrics and interesting international finds, we were not going to do this unless it benefited others."