What is Fair Trade?
October is Fair Trade month. It’s a time to bring attention to Fair Trade for those who aren’t familiar with it and get support for people to buy Fair Trade, especially going into the holiday season.
What is Fair Trade?
Fair trade is an approach to business and to development based on dialogue, transparency and respect that seeks to create greater equality in the international trading system. There are some principles of Fair Trade that organizations and companies must adhere to and those who choose to get certified and verified must go through a stringent review process.
Fair trade supports farmers and craftspeople in developing countries who are socially and economically marginalized. These producers often face steep hurdles in finding markets and customers for their goods.
The word “fair” can mean a lot of different things to different people. Fair trade is about more than just paying a fair wage. It means that trading partnerships are based on reciprocal benefits and mutual respect; that prices paid to producers reflect the work they do; that producers share decision making power’ that national health, safety and wage laws are enforced; and that products are environmentally sustainable and conserve natural resources.
Here are some common myths about Fair Trade:
- Fair trade is not about paying developed world wages in the developing world
- Not siphoning American jobs to other countries
- Not anti-globalization
- Not a form of charity
- Not more expensive goods for the consumer
- Not low quality products for the consumer
- Not only about coffee and chocolate
There are many organizations involved in Fair Trade that will be discussed in a future blog post such as the Fair Trade Federation, World Fair Trade Organization, Fair Trade USA and Fair Trade Los Angeles to name a few. Baskets and Beads is a verified member of the Fair Trade Federation which means our business practices went through a stringent review process to ensure we adhere to Fair Trade principles.
There are many shops and stores across the US that carry Fair Trade products. Some are a collection of stores with the same name such as Ten Thousand Villages. Some are individual stores that buy wholesale and carry various Fair Trade artisan products such as Kindred Fair Trade in Santa Rosa CA and some are a retail collective of spaces where individual Fair Trade vendors rent space to display their products such as Fair Trade Long Beach in Long Beach CA.
Baskets and Beads has a retail space in a collective called Fair Trade Long Beach. The purpose of the store located at 4105 N Bellflower in Long Beach is to promote fair trade and give opportunities to fair trade partners. We have over 20 partners that carry both local and international Fair Trade that rent a space in the store.
I enjoy shopping the other partners in the store myself and since getting involved in Fair Trade am more cognizant of the things I buy from chocolate and tea to clothing and home goods. While you can't buy every single product you use from a Fair Trade vendor, being aware of where your items are made, who makes them and if they are paid a fair wage in many of your products will help.
Here are 3 of the partners I have recently shopped from at Fair Trade Long Beach:
Tribu features beautiful clothing and jewelry from Ecuador. They travel to Ecuador to work with and purchase from the artisans there. Pictured below is a recent purchase of one of their newest items. A beautiful poncho made from Alpaca.
Splurge Ria has beautiful jewelry, clothing and other items from India. Ria ChPictured here in my space at Fair Trade Long Beach I’m wearing a culotte skirt which I love.
Zaric Fair Trade is another Fair Trade partner in the store. Jacita Keys created her Fair Trade business out of a love for Fair Trade products. She has traveled to Bangladesh and works with Artisans in Kenya, Ghana and carries numerous products from around the world.
Here’s one of my favorites from Katmandu Imports that she carries. It’s comfortable and colorful.
You can find these products and more at Fair Trade Long Beach. If you are local to So Cal, stop by for a visit. The store is open Tues-Sat 11-7 and Sun 12-4 at 4105 N Bellflower Unit B Long Beach CA.Small business needs your support going into the holiday season, Amazon does not. Consider shopping small and shopping Fair Trade for all your gift giving needs. You will be supporting small businesses and other artisans around the world.