In this season of BUY, BUY, BUY, it’s nice to put a little thought into where those gifts come from, don’t you think? It’s way too easy to ignore the fact that many (if not most) of the products out there come from factories in remote parts of the world with working conditions that we would rather not think about. When you buy fair trade gifts you know that the artisans who made them were paid fair wages and provided meaningful support for their lives and their communities. Fair trade is an economic model that benefits everyone – workers, business owners, consumers (that’s us!) and the earth. Learn more about fair trade at the Fair Trade Federation.
Here are 3 of my favorite places to purchase fair trade products:
The folks behind Faire Collection (formerly known as Andean Collection), have been partnering with artisans in Ecuador, Peru and other countries around the world since 2008. Through training programs and fair trade workshops, artisans learn to make a living from their craft and communities are supported and stabilized. Most famous for their brightly colored tagua nut jewelry from Ecuador (top photo), Faire Collection also carries gorgeous scarves and hats as well as jewelry from Vietnam and Swaziland. Fair Trade Tuesday Deal: 25% off holiday favorites through 12/3/13.
My pick: Arco Cowl Scarf – hand crocheted out of ultra soft alpaca fiber by artisans in Peru.
The mission of the non-profit organization SERRV, is to eradicate poverty through partnerships with low-income artisans and farmers. They do this by providing meaningful support through education and training, grants and financial support as well as paying fair wages. SERRV is a founding member of the Fair Trade Federation and they work with artisans in over 70 community-based organizations in 36 countries around the world. Products range from batik table linens from India to hammocks woven in Ecuador to hand-thrown ceramics from the Cameroon in West Africa.
My pick: Bolga Bicycle Basket – hand-woven from durable elephant grass by artisans in Ghana.
The Fair Indigo website provides a thoughtfully curated collection of stylish, sustainable, fair trade jewelry, clothing and accessories. They work directly with artisans in Peru to create their Fair Indigo line of apparel and accessories and also sell a range of other fair trade products including hand-crafted metal ornaments from Thailand, texting gloves from Scotland and cozy, alpaca and wool hats from Peru.
My pick: Joobles Stuffed Raccoon – hand knit out of organic tanguis cotton in a small fair trade cooperative in Peru.
Where do you shop for fair trade gifts?
(Disclosure: I was sent a scarf from Faire Collection in exchange for my honest opinion.)