It always surprises me when a customer asks, "Why don't you just sell US made goods and support America?" It used to rub me the wrong way, but now I see it as an opportunity to educate. To spread the word about Fair Trade and the way it can benefit ALL of us. As a hippie, I believe in love. Love for our planet, and love for each other. Period. There are no restrictions on this. I hope we ALL make it. As a white female born in America, I also am aware of how, this simple fact, has allowed me a life free from the struggles that so many others face. Others, through no fault of their own, are not as blessed.
As consumers, we have a choice in deciding the kind of world we want to live in. Do we want to support companies that exploit their workers? Companies that care more about their profits than their people or our planet? Based on the simple idea that the products we buy and sell are connected to the livelihoods of others, fair trade is a way to make a conscious choice for a better world. For everyone. Shopping Fair Trade means taking a stand for a system that treats everyone with respect. We don't have to worry about these things in the US. The US artists I represent don't worry about the conditions they work in, getting a fair price for their products, or what they do with their profits. These choices are in their hands. Not so much for artists in developing countries. That's where Fair Trade comes in. Assuring that the artisans in these countries have safe working conditions, that they are paid a living wage, and that they can choose what they do with their profits.
In the process of sourcing the Fair Trade products for Horse Hippie, I have met many of the owners of these Fair Trade companies. Many are women that traveled while in school and saw the conditions in these countries, saw the quality of the products, and decided to do something to help.
Many of these companies are small, and work closely with the artisans; designing and creating, and offering micro loans, so that the artists can be in control. It's a win/win situation. We get beautiful products and the comfort of knowing they were not made on the backs of children, or women in sweat shops. The artists get freedom from poverty, the choice to grow their communities, and empowerment. Here are a few of the companies I work with. I encourage you to go to their websites and see the faces behind them. Watch the video (sorry about the ads) and hear the story from the young woman behind Fair Anita and why she travels the globe. Read the story behind Wakami that changed lives in rural Guatemala. See the artisans making the goods, and how the purchase of a bag from Rice Love can feed a family. The Fair Trade movement is growing and it warms my heart. I hope you will be touched by their stories and support Fair Trade. Peace and good rides,