Making a Difference

Set Free supports individuals at risk or rescued from human trafficking

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Imagine having a profound effect on someone’s life, possibly saving them from an unimaginable fate, just by buying a pair of earrings or piece of art?

Set Free, a shop in the Cotton Exchange in downtown Wilmington, can help you support and protect artisans affected by human trafficking.

Providing sustainable, fair-trade products crafted by individuals at risk and rescued from human trafficking, mother-daughter duo, CLAIR (right) and LANE BEAVER (left), invite you to “Fight injustice, abuse, and poverty with us.”

“Lane and I have a heart for women and children, especially all the people being used in the human trafficking industry and we’ve supported them financially as a family in the past, so opening a store seemed like a good next step,” Clair Beaver says.

Having just celebrated the one-year anniversary of Set Free on June 1, the two have faced the struggles of starting a new endeavor dealing with a pandemic. But, their focus on helping others is unwavering. They have expanded their inventory to not just help those impacted by human trafficking, but also protect those around the globe from a range of societal ills.

Their eclectic boutique with its boho vibe offers apparel and jewelry, as well as a variety of home goods ranging from hand-woven duvet covers and shams to one-of-a-kind art creations. But the beauty goes far beyond the products themselves. It is about the people they help.

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“We’ve expanded into more fair-trade goods including metal art out of Haiti and baskets from Uganda. We have 17 different nations represented in the store,” Clair Beaver explains.

One of the newer partnerships that Clair Beaver is excited to share is with Papillon Empowerment in Haiti. Its mission is family preservation through job creation and Set Free proudly sells their metal creations.

In addition to running the store with her mother, Lane is a student at the University of North Carolina Wilmington studying creative writing and Middle Eastern and Islamic studies. She and her mother are both committed to making the world a better place believing home is the best place to start.

“What would these people do if they didn’t make these products to support themselves and their families?” Clair Beaver says she finds herself asking this question regularly.

As a result, Clair Beaver is dedicated to the causes of microloans that help women entrepreneurs in developing companies by providing funds to launch and ideate.

“Eighty percent of the women pay the loans back which enables other women to become successful,” Clair Beaver says. “It’s a great concept.”

Human trafficking is a pervasive problem worldwide, so it is important to stay vigilant and recognize the need for awareness. Passionate about the work she and her daughter are doing, as well as the work left to do around the world, Clair Beaver encourages people to “be educated.”

“Support organizations doing the work in the USA and abroad,” Clair Beaver says. “Speak out, if you see something, say something and engage with others, asking and checking that people are ok.”

Find Set Free at 308 Nutt St. in the Cottage Exchange Mondays-Saturdays 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and online at setfreenc.com


To view more of photographer Michael Cline Spencer’s work, go to michaelclinephoto.com.

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Categories: Culture