One on One April 2011

People. Talking.

Photos by Beau Gustafson

For this month’s One on One, we brought together two women who are active, and activist, to say the least.

Melissa Kendrick Owner, Sojourns

Melissa Kendrick owns Sojourns, a unique store on Third Avenue North downtown that carries art, accessories, baskets, home décor, kitchen items, linens and textiles, pottery, vases, children’s toys, books and stationary, as well as food items such as coffee, tea and chocolate. The store’s goods come from more than 40 different countries including Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Guatemala, India, Peru, Niger, Uganda and Vietnam.

Most items are obtained through a network of fair trade importers. Some items are acquired from artisan groups with whom Sojourns has a direct relationship and other items are discovered on trips of exploration.

Fair trade empowers low-income, disadvantaged artisans, laborers and farmers around the globe, and promotes understanding between them and industrialized nations.

Sojourns owner, Melissa Kendrick, has traveled to 38 countries (as of Feb. 2011) and continues to explore new countries to discover unique folk art items and bring them home to customers in Birmingham.

Camille Spratling has been active as a young professional in the business community and just as busy in the community. Fair trade advocate and store owner Melissa Kendrick has built a retail outpost for goods from all over the world to find a home in the city.

Birmingham native and former Railroad Park board member Camille Spratling is the park’s new executive director. Her day to day duties include everything from fund-raising to bookkeeping to tour guiding. Her favorite part about the park is the wide array of people who enjoy it. The many people, companies, and organizations who continue to support the park are a daily source of inspiration, she says.

Camille Spratling, Executive Director Railroad Park

Spratling has a broad background with Birmingham-area entities, having worked for the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce, Children’s Hospital and most recently as the assistant to the president of Birmingham-Southern College, from which she received both an under grad degree and a Master of Arts in Public and Private Management.

Working in volunteer positions with Operation New Birmingham and the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama (PARCA) Roundtable, Spratling lives in downtown Birmingham and served three years as president of the Central City Neighborhood Association and two years as vice president of the Northside Community.

Their conversation was very Birmingham-centric as you might suspect, ranging from favorite places to eat to people the really admire.

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