2nd Story has been working on the ground with artisans in Gonaives, Haiti for 10 years, creating recycled, handcrafted goods for a livable wage. Last year their impact enabled over 108 children to stay in school, not because of hand-outs, but through the dignity of their parents’ work with 2nd Story Goods.
Aid Through Trade
Aid Through Trade has been empowering the lives of women artisans in Nepal through ethical, fair, and sustainable employment for over 25 years and currently employ over 200 artisans. Aid Through Trade is a proud founding member of the Fair Trade Federation and the creator of the iconic Original Roll-On® Bracelet.
The Artisana Collection represents work from multiple artists in the famous Taxco region of Mexico, best known for it’s silver jewelry. The artisans continue to produce traditional jewelry much like their ancestors. The groups who produce jewelry in this collection have formed cooperatives to pool together their talent and resources – the result has been a positive impact for the individual artisans and a bigger impact on the community.
One example of a cooperative is The Union Progresista Artesanal (UPA) which was formed in 1986 and is located in Taxco el Viejo. The cooperative is made up of 26 jewelry makers who work collaboratively to sell a beautiful collection of jewelry; the group uses a wide range of beautiful materials that range from abalone, mother of pearl, sterling silver, Taxco silver, and much more. UPA has achieved stable income for many members of its community and bettered the community through initiatives that include support of local schools and programming geared towards the youth. Artisans often work out of their homes and are paid fair wages. The Fair Trade jewelry is not only beautiful, but each purchase helps to transform lives.
India has always been renowned for its rich silk fabrics, woodcarvings and carpets. However, many of these products are produced in conditions of abject poverty for the craftsmen, exploited by large producers and moneylenders. Asha Handicrafts is a not-for-profit making body, based in Mumbai, India, working to promote Fair Trade and Fair Trade practices. As a member organisation of theThe World Fair Trade Organization , Asha Handicrafts ensures that the benefits of handicraft production reach the craftspeople themselves.
Bawa Hope is a Fair-Trade company that works with marginalized handicraft artisans in Kenya who produce jewelry, wood products, and handbags. Many of the artisans work in rural and slum communities; they do not want sympathy or charity—but an opportunity to access and compete in global markets. Bawa seeks to use enterprise as a tool not only for empowering marginalized artisans, but safeguarding the environment .Women artisans, living in informal settlements, see value in many of the things that we throw away! They create bags using sisal, which occurs in abundance, and waste banana fiber to create attractive and functional accessories. Bawa Hope works with a pool of consultants that train on life skills and ensure Fair Trade compliance. Bawa Hope is a member of the World Fair Trade Organization.
This artisan group is located in the impoverished city of New Delhi. They are making a huge impact by employing workers at fair wages and offering safe, clean working conditions. They pay above the government issued minimum wage. Workers enjoy tea breaks each day and weekly prayer, as per tradition. Beauer produces a wide array of products using new and upcycled materials. Their specialty is home and handbags. Their workers are trained in macramé, handbag, and accessory crafts work. Examples of upcycled material that you might find in their products include firehose, tire, and leather label patches from jeans. By purchasing a Beauer product, you will be helping some of India's poorest people, and its environment.
Brass Images was established in 1988 in the coastal town of Plettenberg Bay, South Africa, about a 4 hour drive out of Cape Town . The long lasting success of the project is due to the fact that the group develops new designs on a regular basis and pays great attention to detail and quality. Brass Images employs 15 people from the local community to help create high quality fashion jewelry. As demand grows, the organization hires and trains more artisans, providing sustainable income in an area in need of employment.
Solid brass and copper are the base materials of the product. By applying extreme heat, the artisans create the interesting patterns and effects on the jewelry. No dyes are used. Each item is entirely handmade and a one-of-a-kind piece of art.
Bright Endeavors candles light the way toward strong families and bright futures. Through the 16-week paid program, Production Assistants are in control of setting and pursuing professional and personal goals. Through their 16 week job training program, Bright Endeavors empowers young moms with the skills, network, and confidence to succeed in the workforce.
Calypso Chile is a family owned business that operates from the family home. Marcela Cofre and her husband supported their family by making women's shoes until 1994 when the market for shoes dropped dramatically as cheaper imports flooded the market.
After dabbling in various types of crafts, Marcela found a particular talent for glass making, building a sustainable business to support her family as well as the families of others who she has trained to help make glass products, specializing in fashion jewelry. As a member of the WFTO, Marcela operates the business under the auspices of fair trade, ensuring that all of the artisans and craftspeople are paid a fair price for their work.
Founded in 1990 by a multinational group of young entrepreneurs, Caribbean Craft promotes employment in Haiti by training unskilled craftspeople, and by assisting the independent artisans through the introduction of new designs and new market outlets for painted Haitian metal art.
Caribbean Craft's specialty is the brightly colored, artistically hand-painted Haitian metal art wall hangings. These hand-painted Haitian metal art pieces are truly works of art. Wall art designs include painted metal geckos, painted metal dragonflies and painted metal frogs.
Cedar & Cypress Designs
Cedar and Cypress Designs partners with independent artisans in Haiti. This is a sustainable process of employment-a social enterprise business model. Weather that is companies or artisans in Haiti, individual people, missionaries or families, their goal is to support others through job creation.
Creative Alternatives works with marginalized producers in rural and urban areas of Kenya. The producers take pride in the product ideas they are able to develop and market through Creative Alternatives. The producers are self employed men and women, largely young and middle aged, who have failed to get formal employment. They have thus had to seek employment in the jua kali (which translates into hot sun in the Swahili language) sector. They work in groups, small family owned businesses or as individuals.
Croix Des Bouquets
When you visit Croix des Bouquets, the area of town known for Haitian metal art in the capital of Port-Au-Prince, you are met with a cacophony of tink, tink, tink as ball peen hammers strike sheets of steel. The sheets are cut from steel drums colored by oil and other liquids the drums at one time held. The process of turning sheets of metal into beautiful wall art is all done by hand, from cutting holes that become edges of trees and leaves, to accenting each lizard with a texture of scales, to painting or lacquering the final design. The artists are proud of their work, signing the pieces on the back side, leaving a raised, reversed signature on the front.
Dreamer & Co.
Dreamer & Co. provide sustainable income to over 8 women in the Horn of Africa, which directly impacts over 100 individuals in the artisans' families and communities. Some of the artisans are the only people working in their homes with an average household of 11 people. With this income, they have sent their siblings to school, built toilets for their homes, and upgraded their homes to have covered roofs and sturdier walls.
dZi Inc. has been working with artisans in the Tibetan exile community in India since 1990, and with Nepali artisans involved in traditional Tibetan style crafts since 1995. Their products are marketed as part of dZi’s ‘Tibet Collection’ line.
Authentic cloth prayer flags printed on hand-carved woodblocks are specially made for dZi by The Gu-Chu-Sum (9-10-3) Movement of Tibet, established in 1991 and based in Dharamsala, India. Gu-Chu-Sum was first organized by ex-political prisoners from the Tibetan freedom movement; monks, nuns and lay people who had escaped from Tibet due to political persecution. Its purpose is to provide employment and support to Tibetan refugees needing help in India, and to educate about human rights abuses in Tibet. You can try to visit www.gu-chu-sum.org, but the Chinese Government regularly sabotage their site!
dZi’s screen printed prayer flags are made by the Tibetan Nuns Projection (TNP), also based in Dharamsala, India. TNP’s mission is to provide a safe and supportive environment and education for Tibetan nuns who have fled Tibet for reasons of religious and political persecution. Visit tnp.org to learn more.
dZi’s Paper Prayer flags and incense are made by Tibetan Handicraft in Kathmandu Nepal, a member of Fair Trade Group Nepal and leader among the handmade paper export community. This business supports hundreds of people in the local community through it's income generation enterprise, and runs an elementary school providing free and low cost education for local children.
In the state of Guanajuato, behind the large wooden gate, women artisans are hand painting unfired ceramics while men work the kilns, as they have since the late 70’s. Each piece has personality from the dots and swirls to the handpainted logo on the bottom. And each is lead free, microwave and dishwasher safe.
Esperanza En Accion
Working with the fair trade organization Esperanza en Accion, men and women artisans in Nicaragua produce traditional pottery pieces that are world renowned. Artisans in San Juan de Oriente make the pottery using a manual kick wheel and finish the pieces using natural mineral oxides for the earthen colors. The fantastic flora and fauna of Nicaragua are the basis for stunning vase designs and novel wind instruments. The pottery is fired using a low-temperature technique so the vases are decorative as they do not hold water.
Esther Kariuki is an independent artisan who, in her area of Kenya, near Kitui, has organized and trained women in her village to use the dried fiber of the banana plant, which would normally be discarded. The banana fiber is first dried, and then a light varnish applied. Once this process is complete craftspeople cut the fiber into thin strips to make several different items, including boxes, Bao Bab trees and mobiles. The varnish on the banana fiber with its many tones of brown resembles textured tortoise shell. Esther ensures the craftspeople are paid a fair wage for their goods, which has enabled many in her small village to earn a sustainable wage.
The Gitzelli artisans work in Kenya and Ghana to weave beautiful, traditional baskets in many designs and colors. Artisans live in low income areas and make their living off selling their crafts or taking daily temporary labor for minimum wage. In Kenya, the artisans come from wide parts of the country. Most weavers come from the Eastern region where the climate is dry and conducive to the production of the sisal -- this is their main source of income. In Central Kenya, most artisans have small pieces of land where they practice subsistence farming. They subsidize their income through weaving products with banana leaf. Gitzelli Imports has helped connect these artisans to bigger markets and enhance their low income.
Global Groove Live
Global Groove is a fair trade organization working with women by supporting and developing artisan co-ops in Thailand and Nepal. The Fair Trade industry is expanding and we are proud to be a part of a sustainable movement that is changing lives. We design, develop, produce and source fairly traded lifestyle products with a commitment to the sustainability of production and the cultural heritage of the artisan groups. We inhale its people, its landscapes, its colors, its flavors, its very scent, and we exhale to create inspirational products symbolic of our traveling experiences. Global Groove encourages travel because the knowledge, acceptance and understanding of different ways, people and ideas is the very colorful road to a respectful, safer, kinder world.
Global Mamas creates hand-crafted accessories, apparel, decor, and skin care items using traditional techniques, maintaining local artisanal skills. Each product is full of life and love, and is crafted with the utmost quality. The producers in the Global Mamas network have worked together for over a decade in Ghana, West Africa developing products that resonate with consumers all over the world, and in-turn have created prosperity for themselves and their families.
The HolyLand cooperative was founded in 1981 to give unemployed Palestine artisans a livelihood, while preserving the centuries-old olive wood handicraft industry that has been around for generations. This group has felt hardships from the separation wall between Israel and the West Bank– the occupation and political unrest have caused decline in tourism and difficulties finding work. HolyLand is helping the artisans work in the occupied territories on the West Bank of the Jordan River and in cities such as Bethlehem. HolyLand is trying to find buyers in international markets to counter the decline of local tourism sales and increase employment for the artisans. Purchases of these products is alleviating poverty among a disadvantaged group. HolyLand is a member of the WFTO.
Jamtown World Instruments
The Jamtown vision sees people in North America creating music with friends and family. Not fancy rock songs or orchestra performances, just a little music. Starting with our motto "Play A Beat You Can Repeat" we make it easy and fun for kids AND adults to join the band. Our instruments are special, authentic, and beautifully crafted. Each is handmade ~ from countries all over the world. Artisans utilize ancient knowledge and natural, sustainable materials like bamboo, gourds, and seeds. For the cost of a single cheap guitar, which no one will use, pass out cool instruments to a group of friends and expect to sound good,and feel good! As a member of the Fair Trade Federation we work with small producer groups from developing countries and provide important support to low-income families through fair wages and other valuable assistance.
Working with more than 100 individual carvers in Machakos, Kenya, Jedando Modern Handicrafts markets African handicrafts primarily made of wood and bone worldwide. Carving is a tradition in Kenya with the children learning the craft from their parents. Carved by hand using only rudimentary hand tools, olive wood bowls, salad serving sets, and animal-shaped napkin rings take shape from pieces of olive wood, mahogany, and mpingo, or "African Ebony."
An integral part of the organization's function is to educate the craftspeople on the need for reforestation to enable the products to be available for years to come and offer a sustainable income for generations. While wood carving provides the major income for many in the Machakos area, other craftspeople earn a living by further enhancing the products including painting the napkin rings and carving discarded animal bone for the handles of salad serving sets. Often the bone is "batiked" by placing wax on the white bone and dipping the bone a dark brown/black dye, resulting in patterns African mud cloth designs.
Lucia's Imports LLC partners with Guatemalan families, artisan groups, and cooperatives to maintain a wholesale market for their quality accessories and handicrafts. Lucia's Imports is a members of the Fair Trade Federation and hopes to share the beauty of the Guatemala's art and culture, while making a difference in the lives of Mayan artisans, one purchase at a time.
Working side by side with artisans, we design products rich in tradition and sustainable fashion. Our purses, coin bags and accessories are made from recycled Mayan textiles and our hand-beaded jewelry is made by artisan groups on Lake Atitlan---utilizing traditional weaving skills in modern design.
Korrisa Fair Trade
All Jute tote & clutch collection is handmade by artisans in the Women’s Development Organization Bangladesh. This Women’s Development Organization is a non-profit, national level, voluntary development organization with a mission to contribute to the establishment of a just and poverty-free society by organizing and training the most disadvantaged women through its committed and skilled workers.
Marquet is dedicated to importing handmade accessories, gifts, and décor from Thailand and Vietnam. Our goal is to empower artisans and entrepreneurs in developing countries by expanding their potential to reach a large audience with their amazing work. Marquet has been a proud member of the Fair Trade Federation since 2010 and is committed to the pillars of ethical manufacturing and trade.
MATR BOOMIE is a fair trade collection from India that marries modern design sensibility with inspiring traditional art forms, bringing people and cultures closer together. With the mission of creating opportunities for women and minorities to realize their creative, economic and leadership potential. They have grown to empower 20,000 artisans in 40 partner communities throughout India.
Mira Fair Trade
Mira Fair Trade strives to promote social justice by working directly with underprivileged artisans by paying them fair wages to help them develop the knowledge to support themselves and their families. They are committed to empowering women and underprivileged communities, and moving towards a global Fair Trade lifestyle through the promotion of the Fair Trade Principles.
Mod Miss Jewelry
Mod Miss jewelry shop is a mission. They are a place where troubled women can receive help in Paris Arkansas. Their goal is to provide more employment opportunities for women struggling to get back on their feet. Their jewelry makes women feel beautiful but the ultimate goal is to see as many women as possible restored to true beauty within.
NOBUNTO is a South African Fair Trade company that creates high quality hand-painted candles, ceramics and handcrafted greeting cards with the utmost attention to detail using mainly African inspired designs. Their mission is, in a region with high unemployment, to alleviate poverty, not only through development of industry but to be socially, ethically, and sustainably responsible.
Based in the small village Napier, about 180 km east of Cape Town, NOBUNTO has provided employment to mostly woman of the disadvantaged community and guarantees an income for over 18 families. The unemployment rate in the area is in the region of 50%. The word NOBUNTO comes from the Sotho language, meaning "For the people".
Silk Road Bazaar
Silk Road Bazaar is a wholesale representative of marginalized artist groups located in Kyrgyzstan and throughout Central Asia. They connect with artists who are far from the capitals, who have limited market access, or who do not possess modern marketable skills but have carried on traditional craft culture.
Following the proverb, ‘the best way to know a man is to walk a thousand miles in his shoes,’ Silk Road believes that to know who we are working with and to understand their lives, we ourselves need to live like and with them. They live amongst their artist groups for an extended period of time, and during that time they help them become self-sustainable by developing their designs, management techniques, quality control and computer skills.
All designs and collaborations are original works of Central Asian artists and Silk Road.
Our Soapstone is carved by the artists of SMOLArt a group of artists who live in the rural village of Tabaka, Kenya, the heart of soapstone crafts. The name, a shortened version of Small, Medium, and Large Artists, refers to the size of the soapstone products the artisans make, not their stature. Established in 1990, SMOLArt is a member of the WFTO, and as such assures that the artisans are paid a fair price for their work. In addition, the organization support community development by contributing to projects that improve living conditions, education, and health of their members and the village at large.
Soapstone is mined from great pits in the area surrounding Kiisi, Kenya. The mined soapstone is then delivered to carvers who carve sculptures from the natural stone for the wholesale market, the color of which ranges from cream, to pink, to brown, to yellow, to black, to a marbling of all of them. Once carved, the craftspeople smooth rough edges of the soapstone with sandpaper dipped in water and polish the piece to a high gloss or paint African motifs in brilliant colors with etched accents.
All of the soapstone products we sell are completely handmade. The tools consist of household items from screwdrivers, hand drills, to switchblades. "Pangas," sword-like tools usually used for cutting down vegetation, are used to cleave the stone in the mines.
The Starfish Project
The Starfish Project rescues exploited women and girls in Asia by helping them establish independence and develop careers. Through the Holistic Care Programs, Starfish Project provides vocational training, healthcare, shelter, counseling, and education grants for women and their children. Starfish Project has employed over 130 women and has served thousands through Community Outreach Services. Women create beautiful jewelry and become managers, accountants, graphic designers, and photographers. Starfish Project restores hope to exploited women in Asia.
Tajik Home believes "There is no beauty in the finest cloth if it makes hunger or unhappiness." They work with weavers, and weaving houses in India, that have crafted textiles for generations. These craftspeople are artists with families
just like ours.
Founded by Zimbabwean-born artist, Jeremiah Makaza, this family run business has rapidly grown into a leading international exporter of Zimbabwean-made Sadza Batiks.
Set in the heart of Tynwald Industrial Park in Harare, Zimbabwe, Tonga Textiles is comprised of a dedicated team of artisans.
Through art, we believe we can make a positive difference in society. Tonga Textiles employs both men and women in the community. Through our training program, our artisans are empowered to work for themselves, thus alleviating poverty within the community. Tonga Textiles is a fair-trade company.
Our values of sustainability practices, quality and teamwork are at the heart of all our work.
Over the years, our products have evolved into contemporary pieces, showcasing the true essence of an African lifestyle. Our batiks are unique and every piece is authentic. The process is all hand-made and monitored to the very last detail.
Venture Imports cares about the artisan’s families and are against child labor. But more than just that, they want all children to be able to get an education and to have time to play! The artisans are able to work from home, or they can bring their children to the cooperative to play while their mothers work. All of the artisan partner’s children are in school—something which is not always the case in a community where school fees are often prohibitive to many parents.
Women of the Cloud Forest
For the majority of the artisans in the ceramic community of San Juan de Oriente, Nicaragua, house and workshop are integrated as one. Half-worked ceramic pieces can be seen set upon living room tables alongside their grandchildren's latest homework assignment. The home of Leopoldo and Sara is no different, and with nine family members sharing the space, they literally eat, sleep and breathe pottery. The Potosme family has four children, two of whom, with their spouses, help to produce the orders for Women of the Cloud Forest. They are masters of a very detailed geometric work that can be seen on our geometric line of luminaries. Each piece is gridded out on the vessel and then the surface is meticiously scratched using a sharpened bicycle spoke, a technique called "scrafitto." This family workshop is one of our main partners that we use as a "test" studio for new products. Their commitment to transparency of material costs allows us to easily conduct a cost analysis to determine if a new product has the margins to enter a wholesale market.
This year, we received the wonderful news that Leopoldo and Sara's youngest son scored the highest in his county on the entrance exam for the university medical school! Needless to say, the family was very proud. We were so very happy for them as well, and gifted Manuel with a new laptop computer that he could use for his studies. We love helping to support the education of our artisan families and future generations. As Leopoldo told me when I visited this past March, "We are ceramicists and my children all know how to work the clay. But with education, they can dream of even more opportunity that we had. They will always know our art and where they came from, but with education, they can dream even bigger."
WorldFinds is a member of the Fair Trade Federation. They regularly travel to connect with our artisan groups in India, Indonesia, and Nepal, and each time it is evident how Fair Trade practices have changed their lives – they have been able to hire more women artisans, improve educational programs and send their girls to school, and expand healthcare initiatives. They continue to be the heart and soul of WorldFinds business. WorldFinds mission is to create positive change, build hope, and design beautiful, sustainable products for a better world. It's a business using fashion and design to combat poverty.
Generous Intentions partners with a wide range of smaller producer groups from around the world. Products range form artwork to home to jewelry. Purchases support fair trade and empower artisans around the world.