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Tomorrow is World Fair Trade Day, a day set aside for a worldwide celebration of fair trade’s contribution to the fight against poverty, exploitation, and climate change. And so this week’s Friday Favorites will focus on some truly remarkable fair trade brands I know you will love. Use them as the perfect gift – or for yourself. Wait until you see the beautiful products these artisans have created!
What Is a Fair Trade Company?
Fair trade is a global movement made up of a diverse network of producers, companies, shoppers, advocates, and organizations putting people and planet first.
According to the World Fair Trade Organization (WTFO), fair trade can be defined by certain guiding principles, including:
Trade as a Force for Positive Change
We value trading relationships that distribute power, risks and rewards equitably. Our belief is that trade should be a tool to eliminate inequality and create self-determination for all people. We are committed to trade that includes fair compensation, safe and healthy working conditions, direct and long-term relationships, transparent business practices, and workplaces free from discrimination and forced child labor.
Fullest Commitment to Fair and Sustainable Practices
We believe that credibility comes through open and transparent interactions. We believe we have a responsibility to maintain the highest standards and expectations of ourselves and we value organizations that aspire to fully embrace fair trade principles, including the application of economic, social, cultural, and environmentally sustainable practices.
We celebrate the contribution and value of all people in the supply chain and recognize the dignity of each person and organization in our interactions and relationships. We believe that people have a right to participate in the decisions that affect their lives based on open sharing of information.
Solidarity in a Global Community
We believe that communities grounded in trust, moral support, cooperation, and a sense of belonging makes us stronger individually and as a whole. We value the impact that comes from empowering consumers with knowledge and believe that our unified voices convey a powerful message.
Fair Trade Artisan Products
I chose these brands because they are so much more than just fair trade businesses. So often, fair trade products are small trinkets, inexpensive decor, or jewelry and other accessories. Without compromising quality, they are designed to be produced quickly and efficiently in large quantities.
The products I’ve listed here are truly artisan, unique, and top of the line in terms of quality and craftsmanship. They serve to demonstrate the infinite possibilities of products within the fair trade movement.
Incidentally, all of these brands and products are available through MadeTrade, as well as their individual websites. MadeTrade sells ethically made and sustainably sourced products; however, not all of the products available are fair trade certified. I encourage you to research each product and brand on that, and every, retail site you utilize.
Fair Trade Artisan Brands and Products
Home & Loft
“Home & Loft is a women-owned and run brand that partners with artisans in developing areas to invest in and support the ancient weaving tradition. We seek out unique fabrics, soft textures, and lasting materials while creating sustainable partnerships that empower both artisan and consumer. With each piece made and sold, we stay true to our core values: ethical, sustainable, and authentic craft.”
“Passion Lilie is a fair trade and sustainable apparel brand with a mission to empower artisans across the world by creating dignified employment opportunities. By offering fair wages, safe and healthy working conditions, and long-term employment to artisans in India, these job opportunities lead to sustainable societies and a better world. We are also committed to using eco-friendly materials throughout the supply chain and preserving the artistic and cultural talents of our craftspeople.”
“Zuahaza means “my sister” in the Muisca language of the people who lived in the Cundiboyacense mountain region of Colombia. As a social enterprise, Zuahaza strives to embody collective sisterhood between women in Colombia, and to create unique products that reflect our diversity, history and dreams as statements of the unity and peace to come from Colombia. This is what sisterhood means to us.”
Middle Kingdom Porcelain
“Minzuu is a social enterprise connecting you to globally curated, ethically made home goods rooted in artisanal craft traditions, including Middle Kingdom Porcelain. We believe the quintessential beauty of a culture embeds in its handicrafts, and the wisdom contained in centuries-old techniques is worth celebrating. Working directly with artisan cooperatives around the world, we ensure heritage craft practices continue in a responsible way, benefiting both the people and the nature.”
Soil to Studio
“The soul of India lives in its villages,” said Mahatma Gandhi. At Soil to Studio, we strive to offer the world a window into India’s rich culture and access to its skilled artisans through our textiles and weaves that are an intrinsic part of India’s heritage. These gifted artisans, who live in India’s numerous little villages, are known to create masterpieces by their hands. We see our approach to production as a direct investment in the lives of the artisans we work with. At Soil to Studio, our mission is to empower the families behind the craft, preserve local craftsmanship and continue to create sustainable livelihoods. The artisans set their own wages and we are committed to following fair trade practices in all aspects of our business.”
“ABBY ALLEY is an independent design brand that creates fashion collections in East Africa with the purpose of giving back to initiatives in the region that provide access to education, basic needs, and employment opportunities.”
“We are a social impact company creating fashion that empowers women and restores the earth. Our goal is to intercept unrecyclable materials before they can pollute the land and oceans and then work with a team of incredible artisan moms to create one-of-a-kind pieces of art. We work with artisan mothers in the Philipines and we pay them fairly for every item. When mothers become financially independent they have the will and the power to lift up the next generation.”
- Understanding Fair Trade Basics
- The Principles of Fair Trade
- How to Identify Fair Trade Products
- Gift Guide: Fair Trade Bath Products
Final Thoughts on Gift Guide for Fair Trade Artisan Products
I hope you have come to realize, much as I have, that Fair Trade products can be found in almost any retail category, and range from small, inexpensive items to true designer creations.
The brands I have highlighted here are just a few of the many organizations that focus on fair and sustainable business practices, respectful partnerships, and solidarity in a global community, all the while providing true artisan craftsmanship in their products.
I encourage you to seek out fair trade products when and where you are able.