Everyone Wins When You
Buy Fair Trade Gifts

fair trade silver heart

Don't give ordinary gifts. Give fair trade gifts.

When you buy fair trade gifts you get the chance to buy something unusual, something with a story behind it, something that improves lives with each purchase. That's quite a bit from one purchase. But the more you know about fair trade the more you realize what is possible.

Throughout the world artisans and craftspeople with skills and traditions, many of which have been passed down through generations, are creating wonderful and unique items. Many times it is women needing to support their families who create goods to sell but find their market limited to those in their immediate area. Often this is not good enough to bring a family out of poverty.

Companies around the world recognize the skill and beauty in these goods and buy their crafts for sometimes a low minimum payment to the artisan. A desperate woman may take whatever payment is offered and not have the value of her time and effort realized. Fair trade certification offers a solution to this problem. To read more about what fair trade certification means go to Fair Trade Federation.

tree of life

Unique And Exotic Choices

Import items can be found at many stores from expensive department stores to dollar stores. Very easily you can purchase an unusual item at a very cheap price but there are reasons for that cheap price. Sometimes these are items are poorly made and won't last. Sometimes as mentioned above the craftsperson is not paid very much for their products or their labor and most of the time all we know about an item is where it was made.

Unless you purchase a fair trade gift from a company that is a member of the Fair Trade Federation or see a logo from a fair trade certifying organization on it you will not be sure that the artisan who crafted a beautiful piece of pottery, wove an intricate wall hanging or carved that wonderful bamboo bowl was paid a fair price for their work or whether they were treated with the dignity and respect any human being deserves. It's sad but poor working conditions and low wages happen all too often.

Fair trade gifts offer such a vast array of choices from regions all around the world. You are sure to find something for everyone. Handwoven silver wire jewelry from Bali, ceramic tableware from Tunisia, hand stitched quilts from India, a good luck wooden mask from Ghana or gift baskets containing unique fair trade gift items from all over the world.

Wouldn't it be great if more stores that we shop from everyday would make the effort to buy more of their inventory from fair trade or sweatshop free producers. It would be easier to shop for fair trade gifts and we would have the knowledge that our money is being spent well.

Co-op America offers a retailer score card of several different businesses and where they stand on sweatshop free products. Go to Co-op America.

It is encouraging to see more companies and organizations work with people throughout the world by bringing their crafts to market, helping them to succeed by educating them in business practices, helping them create collectives to benefit the community and improve production and teaching them ways to work safely and with care for the environment.

Seven Hopes United

The Internet has helped artisans from around the world have access to a global market. We also benefit by having so many options. If you're like me as you begin a search for fair trade items you'll find yourself spending time on each site not only looking at beautiful handcrafted products but reading about the person who made it, the region they live in and how your purchase will help them and the community. Like I said a simple purchase can do so much.

Where To Shop

eShop Africa
  • eShopAfrica is an e-commerce business located in Africa that works closely with local producers of all kinds of beautiful crafts. Here you will find batik clothing, collectibles, Kente shawls plus a wonderful collection of recycled beads and jewelry. The sculpted candle holder on the right is from eShop Africa.

  • A Greater Gift is a part of SERRV International, a nonprofit alternative trade association. They are one of the first organizations to provide alternative trade solutions to artisans and growers in poor regions so they could find a market for their products and receive payment and treatment that is fair. Also works to provide education and additional resources to improve these communities. Shop A Greater Gift for a great selection of items from jewelry to home decor.

  • Ten Thousand Villages provides wonderfully handcrafted items . They believe we are all connected and through our purchase can improve the lives of people from villages and towns around the world. A cool idea is to register from them for your wedding gifts. Your gifts will reflect your ideals and encourage others too. Go to Ten Thousand Villages.

    Global Exchange
  • Inca Kids offers unique handbags and accessories, home decor and children's clothing and toys among other things all handcrafted in Peru. Woven fabric, embroidery and other crafts are created using intricate designs by various Peruvian artists and cooperatives. Shop with Inca Kids.

  • Global Exchange Fair Trade Store carries a variety of fair trade products from coffee and tea, to clothing, crafts, jewelry and more from countries throughout the world. Shopping is easy. You can search by region or item. Check out Global Exchange. The cup and saucer on the left are from Global Exchange.

  • Seven Hopes United has a wonderful selection of gifts for any occassion. Consider a blown glass vase for a housewarming gift, silk batique scarves for the birthday gal or etched wine glasses for a bridal shower. Their weekender bags pictured above were featured in O Magazine. Check out Seven Hopes United
  • Consider fair trade gifts for holidays, house warming gifts, corporate gifts, teacher gifts and so much more. They offer you the opportunity to be unique and to give something that has a story behind it all the while helping to improve someone's life. Not a bad way to spend a little money.

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