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SHOP TALK (June 16)

FACE FORWARD: International finance, like international anything, can get fairly complicated.
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FACE FORWARD: International finance, like international anything, can get fairly complicated. What with deficits, trade imbalances and political upheaval not to mention the supposedly suspect free-market manipulations of the IMF in favour of the big banks over the citizenry of a given Third-World country big victories are rare and looking for them disheartening. Thats one of the reasons for the popularity of the microloan, in which microfinancing organizations tap into a large First-World pool of individual (usually) internet lenders to help kick-start small businesses in poorer countries. The idea has proven successful in helping improve the lives of ordinary people as well as in establishing a connection between what is an otherwise unbridgeable socioeconomic gulf.

The idea has proved so popular (and celebrity endorsed) that multinational corporations are getting in on the action as well. Witness Dermalogicas FITE (Financial Independence Through Entrepreneurship), a global initiative to extend microloans to some 25,000 women worldwide. Its the pet project of the skincare giants founder, Jane Wurwand, who faced financial hurdles when she found it next to impossible to secure a $10,000 start-up loan for her nascent company in 1986. Partnering with microfinancing website Kiva.org, Dermalogica customers who purchase green-tagged, FITE-themed versions of the companys five top-selling products (Daily Microfoliant, PreCleanse, Skin Hydrating Booster, Total Eye Care and Intensive Eye Repair, pictured above), receive a numeric code in the packaging that allows them to go to JoinFITE.org and direct $1 to a specific, pre-qualified budding female entrepreneur.

To keep the micro-local bent going, Vancouvers Spruce Body Lab (1128 Richards, 604-683-3220, SpruceBodyLab.com) is adding their own promotion to sweeten the results: the Micro-Zone for Micro-Loan. Beginning Tues., June 21 and continuing indefinitely, Spruce is offering six Micro-Zone Treatments, specifically designed to work in conjunction with Dermalogica products, for $294, with a portion of proceeds going directly to FITE. In addition, Spa Boutique (3630 W. 4th, 604-734-7114, SpaBoutique.ca) is also offering Micro-Zone treatments on Thurs, June 23 with 15 per cent of proceeds benefitting FITE. Any Dermalogica products sold that evening will contribute another 15 per cent.

ON THE MOVE: Local design house Jacqueline Conoir will be moving around the corner from its current studio/store to a new location at 164 W. 5th. And, since its not big with the fun to roll hundreds of overflowing racks down the street, designer Rozemerie Cuevas is having a blow out/moving sale at the current location, 46 W. 6th, June 22-25 from 10am-7pm on Wed and Thurs, 10am-6pm on Fri, and 10am-4pm on Sat Info: JacquelineConoir.com.

WATER BABIES: Scout Boutique (152 E. 8th, 604-879-7903, ScoutBoutique.com), purveyor of all your pin-up needs, is presenting the second installment of its Beach Bombshells & Bathing Beauties swimsuit show featuring suits by Bettie Page, Pinup Couture, Soak Swimwear, and TrunkShow by Vancouvers own Misty Greer (pictured below) on Thurs, June 23, 5-8pm. Admission is free.

Send retail tips to shoptalk@wevancouver.com