One of the things to know about me is that I am fair trade warrior! What that means is I am passionate and relentless about helping people understand how their purchases affect our world. Someone once said that every time we shop, we cast a vote for the kind of world we want to live in. With our dollars, we decide if we want to live in a just and equal society or one that is askew by wealth, power, race and privilege.
It is easier than ever before to shop fair trade. Tell me what you are looking for and I will find it for you, often times not that much more expensive than you’d get from the big box store.
Fair Trade matters because it treats the person who made your product with respect. Everything we buy – food, clothing, shoes, bedding, kids’ toys, electronics, etc. – was touched by human hands. It was harvested, sewn, pressed, dyed, assembled, or packaged by people. And how those people live, how they are treated, how much they earn, what protections exist for them, is our concern because we fund the businesses that either uplift or exploit them.
It is the Biblical command to see God’s handiwork and fingerprint on each human being. We are all made in God’s image and there is no hierarchy to God’s love based on race, gender, etc. So if we believe God is in those who make our clothing (or shoes or harvest our food), and more so that they are our brothers and sisters in this global community God created, then how we shop becomes really important.
This change to fair trade comes slowly. It comes with taking time to research companies and, sometimes, being willing to pay more upfront. But, a lil known secret about fair trade – it often equals higher quality. So yes, you are paying $100 for those cute little flats. But they will last you much longer than the cheap flats you keep paying $20 for at the box store. So spend $100 now and impact the life of someone for good. Or buy five sets of shoes for $20 over the course of the year (still equals $100) and further the exploitation and abuse of someone overseas.
I believe that we can change the world with how we shop and we can shift the tides so even the big box stores choose to treat their supply chains with humanity and dignity without it raising the cost of products! (It will affect their bottom line, but I think we can eventually convince Target people are worth more than money.)
I will try to highlight products here time to time that I love. I invite you to join me and let me know what groups or organizations you love that are making a big impact.
To start, here are some companies to look into:
Sparrow Studio: http://www.thesparrowstudio.com/
Amani Ya Juu: https://amaniafrica.org/
Papillon Enterprises: http://papillon-enterprise.com
Preemptive Love Coalition: https://preemptivelove.shop/
10,000 Villages: http://www.tenthousandvillages.com/
The Root Collective: http://www.therootcollective.com/
Roma Boots (rain boots): https://www.romafoundation.com/
Liz Alig: http://www.lizalig.com/
Raven + Lily: https://www.ravenandlily.com
Krochet Kids: https://www.krochetkids.org
Flora Stationery: FloraStationery.com
Co-Op Type Websites (think Ethical Etsy):
To the Market: https://www.tothemarket.com/
Bittersweet Creative (they do an awesome Christmas gift guide): https://bittersweetmonthly.com/