Fair Trade News
What is Kantha Quilting? April 20 2017, 0 Comments
What is Kantha Quilting?
If you have walked into our shop it is quite likely you have heard word “Kantha”. Maybe you heard “Kantha Blanket”, “Kantha Throw”, “Kantha Quilt”, ”Kantha Shawl” or even “Kantha Scarf”. You might even recognize these colorful embroidered textiles but don’t really know how it got its name?
The simplest explanation is: Kantha is the ancient Indian art of embroidery.
But here is the deeper story: ‘Kontha’ is a sanskrit word that literally translates to rags or patched cloth. This is fitting because for centuries, women of Eastern South Asia have taken their textiles or articles of clothing that became too worn out and simply sewn them together for the most basic and practical purpose, to keep their family warm.
Over time, Kantha became a traditional art form and a skill developed through generations and they are no longer made from rags, they are fashioned from discarded saris. Now the term ‘Kantha’ is universally known to describe the characteristic small, straight running stitch used to quilt these amazing one-of-a-kind pieces made from recycled saris. Kantha textiles are now often purchased as meaningful handmade gifts, often as wedding gifts, gifts for mothers and as a vibrant way to add color to your home or wardrobe.
Now that you know what Traditional Kantha is, let’s elevate it, a lot, to Fair Trade Kantha!
Fair Trade Kantha is ethically produced. The recycled saris used to make our beautiful pieces are acquired through social donations and since the cloth is re-purposed it means no new dyes or inks. Our handmade Kantha products are then hand-sewn and hand-stitched by a group of marginalized women artisans in an environment of community, unity and cohesion. It is a happy and social communal workplace full of smiles and laughter as their children play together. Because of Fair Trade, their craft provides so much more than living wage for these women in poor communities, it prevents exploitation. Fair Trade allows families and communities the opportunity to stay together, in their village instead of moving to big cities in search of opportunity that they will not likely find.
Fair Trade Kantha is perfect for the conscious consumer as we as a society are moving away from disposable consumer goods and moving towards meaningful handmade goods that have a low impact on our environment. One World Fair Trade is honored partner with amazing Kantha producer groups and each and every one of our handmade Fair Trade Kantha products tells a story. A story of repurposing, beautiful up-cycling, opportunity, dignity and women empowerment. Each piece allows the intricate details and hard work of the original expensive saris be preserved among other beautiful pieces, creating something that is always unique and always one-of-a-kind (or is it two? they are reversible!)
Make your purchase make a difference.
#FAIRISTHENEWBLACK November 18 2016, 0 Comments
Black Friday, I think I am going to hurl!
OK, so here I sit, at my desk, contemplating what role our business will take this “Black Friday”? “BIGGEST SALE OF THE YEAR”, “PRICES SLASHED” & “ONE DAY ONLY” does not really fit with our type of business. Yes, we do own a retail store that like most, depends on successful holiday sales to carry it through the first quarter of the year when shopping is a bit slow. But we have a really different mission than most retail stores and “ROCK BOTTOM PRICES” just does not fit our business.
As much as we look forward to successful holiday sales this year, I personally find “Black Friday” a bit repulsive and I have personally never jumped out of bed early the day after Thanksgiving to run out to department stores to fight the mass crowds in search of that amazing deal. Before having a life in retail, I used to love being with family during the holidays and looked forward to just hanging out, going with the flow and enjoying each other’s company. Now that we run a business my day after Thanksgiving is different, definitely not bad, just different.
I now look forward to working on the floor in our shop the day after Thanksgiving and truly enjoy it. First, because I am with my loving wife, spending the day together doing what we believe in and knowing that we are making a difference to so many.
Secondly, because we operate in a really great little destination town that does not really participate in any “Black Friday” chaos. The people we see come into our shop the day after Thanksgiving are generally our locals, with family and friends in tow, getting out of the house, strolling through all the quaint shops doing a little Christmas shopping, maybe a little wine tasting or even taking a horse drawn carriage ride through the candle lit streets of Healdsburg. It is festive, it is fun and it does really feel like the beginning of the Christmas season.
And last but definitely not least is the way our sales give opportunity to those who truly want to work and create a successful life for themselves and their families. Every product has a unique story and every sale makes a difference to the artisan and their communities. Many of our customers support us because of our mission but others just come in because they see something beautiful they just have to have. Either way, it is a win-win, artisans are empowered to stand on their own two feet and the consumer takes something handmade, unique and beautiful home for themselves or someone they love.
So, after two cups of coffee and reading through a few other posts from other Fair Traders & ethical bloggers that I follow, I have decided to join in on re-branding “Black Friday” to #FairIsTheNewBlack in hope that it will encourage people to think about where their products come from, who made them and can they have possibly been paid a living wage to produce the item we just found at such an amazing price?
Fair Trade Gift Fair in Sacramento & Berkeley this weekend! November 08 2016, 0 Comments
Here is your chance to get a "jump-start" on your Holiday Shopping this year! We are packing up a carefully curated collection of beautiful handmade gifts, Christmas Ornaments, Nativities, Jewelry, Accessories & Home Decor and bringing it to you this weekend. So clear your schedule, grab a friend and join us either in Sacramento or Berkeley for our annual Fair Trade Christmas Gift Show.
Fremont Presbyterian Church
5770 Carlson Dr, Sacramento, CA 95819
Saturday, Nov 12 - 9:30 - 4:00
Sunday, Nov 13 - 9:30 - 1:30
First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley
2407 Dana St, Berkeley, CA 94704
Sunday, Nov 13 - 10:00 - 1:30
Holiday Shop differently this year!
By purchasing Fair Trade gifts, you join a circle that improves lives, protects the environment, and produces beautiful handcrafted products for you and your family to enjoy.
Economic justice and social justice cannot be separated.
Fair Trade is a wonderful model for global economy, deeply rooted in dignity, justice and sustainability making the world truly beautiful.
Is October "the" Awareness month? October 01 2016, 0 Comments
October is Fair Trade month! I know, I know, it’s also “Pit Bull Awareness” & “Pizza Awareness” month as well and there are now literally dozens of “Commemorative” or “Awareness” campaigns officially making October “the” Awareness Month.
So why Fair Trade? Why highlight and bring attention to the Fair Trade movement when there is a list of worthy causes such as Child Abuse Awareness Month, National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, National Disability Employment Awareness Month, National Work and Family Month and Hispanic Heritage Month?
Why? Because Fair Trade is a business model designed to treat people with respect,
create opportunity for employment, and remove the obstacles of discrimination. Fair Trade creates accountable relationships, safe working conditions, ensures children’s rights, respects cultural identity and protects our environment. These are values and principles that can help lead to end many of the social, safety and income issues so many face in our world. So, in a way, Fair Trade awareness kind of encompasses many of the “Awareness” campaigns we find in October.
I live in a world surrounded by Fair Trade and see firsthand the positive impact it has had to so many. So, while I like and support the idea of highlighting Fair Trade for a month, I can’t help highlighting Fair Trade awareness every day and for that, I am grateful. So this October, once your finish your pizza, grab your Pit Bull and go for a walk to your local Fair Trade shop and talk with the staff about how Fair Trade really does make a difference!
What is World Fair Trade Day? May 13 2016, 0 Comments
"World Fair Trade Day?"
"What is that?"
Well, allow me to introduce you.
World Fair Trade Day started in 2001 by a wonderful organization named the World Fair Trade Organization. It was created, much like “Fair Trade”, as a social movement. A movement “by the people, for the people” to create awareness of the positive impact Fair Trade can have on both people and planet. It is now and initiative that takes place on the second Saturday of May. This year, World Fair Trade Day takes place on May 14, 2016.
Fair Trade is simply a means of trade that does not exploit vulnerable workers. Fair Trade stands for empowerment and sustainability. Anyone can donate money for a cause they believe in but how much better would it be to create a long term, sustainable business for an individual or more significantly and entire community that could realistically, raise them from poverty?
Well, that is, in a nutshell, just what the Fair Trade movement does and a lot more. And the super cool thing about it is that each and every one of us can contribute. Each and every one of us can make a difference.
"How, you ask?"
Super easy, just be aware that there is a model for trade that is working and use it. There are several organizations out there working very hard to assure that workers, farmers, artisans & producers have the opportunity to earn a living wage through dignified employment. These wonderful, hardworking organizations help to validate the authenticity of the Fair Trade products that are available to us.
"Who are they, you ask?"
I am so glad you asked. We love the Fair Trade Federation (FTF). Not just because we are a longtime and proud member, but because they do so much good. They validate the suppliers and retailers that claim to be committed to Fair Trade by carefully evaluating each and every organization, company or supplier they work with. They carefully review your financial records, much like an audit, to validate your authenticity and after careful evaluation they either accept and give validation or deny. The Fair Trade Federation is the trade association that strengthens and promotes North American organizations fully committed to fair trade.
Next up is the World Fair Trade Organization, who technically started World Fair Trade Day. Much like the FTF, but on a global level, the WFTO stands for the producers, the workers with a mission to improve the livelihoods and well-being of disadvantaged producers by linking and promoting Fair Trade Organizations. The WFTO guarantees that standards are being implemented regarding working conditions, wages, child labor and the environment.
You can trust companies who are validated members of either or both of these great organizations.
Fair Trade fights for greater justice in trade. It fights against poverty, exploitation, climate change and a lot of other issues that are so important to most of us. Fair Trade creates opportunity for small, disadvantaged producers and has a great impact on the most vulnerable in our world.
"How can I participate?"
Jump in, Fair Trade is working, and it’s growing! Look for Fair Trade products knowing that every purchase is a choice and every purchase can make a difference. Tell your friends and family about Fair Trade and encourage them to make a choice for change. There is a person behind every product and a great Fair Trade company can connect you with that person. By purchasing Fair Trade you join a movement to support a change and say “no” to sweatshops, child labor, forced labor and exploitation. Boom! It's that easy!
Local high school student chooses "Fair Trade" as Leadership Project April 22 2016, 0 Comments
We were recently contacted by Bailey Armbright, a bright and socially conscious Healdsburg High School senior, asking us if we would "mentor" her. Bailey stated "I believe that One World Fair Trade would be an impactful business to have as my mentor due to the immense knowledge that the business has regarding fair trade and how it works."
She explained that she was doing a project in her leadership class regarding fair trade and her project is primarily focused on revealing the unjust and immoral conditions that child workers must face for the wealth of a major corporation. Bailey added "I believe that people deserve to know where their clothes come from and who they are made by, I intend to raise awareness through my campaign by making posters to hang up around my school and by speaking to classes around my campus to inform them about the benefits of fair trade."
Bailey had several very good questions and in light of of Fashion Revolution Week we thought this would be perfect to share.
The following is Bailey's questions and our answers:
"Here are my questions"
What pushed you to start a business that involves Fair Trade?
When I first met my wife, she was involved in a partnership that owned & operated three Fair Trade shops in Sonoma County. I immediately loved the idea of Fair Trade and began to immerse myself in it to learn more. Not long after, we decided to purchase complete ownership of what is now our shop in Healdsburg, One World Fair Trade.
How does a business establish connections to participate in the Fair Trade movement?
We work primarily through producer groups who have been validated by a third party organization, the Fair Trade Federation (FTF) and sometimes the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO). These two very credible organizations validate companies who have made a full commitment to fair trading practices and are the primary organizations that represent the wholesale & retail Fair Trade supply chain. All companies involved undergo a rigorous screening process and occasional audits to evaluate their internal commitment to all Fair Trade Principles.
Do you need a license to sell Fair Trade items specifically?
No, it does not require a license to sell Fair Trade products but in order to validate that fair Trade practices and principles have been followed during the entire supply chain from producer to consumer, third party validation is essential. There are some businesses out there that “claim” they are selling fair trade but without some form of validation, consumers really have no assurance that they truly follow fair trade practices. We are proud to be a validated member of the Fair Trade Federation and proudly display the FTF Logo to show our validation. We recommend to consumers to look for the logo when shopping for Fair Trade for assurance.
How much of the price we pay for Fair Trade products goes back to the producers typically?
There is not a simple answer to this very good, but complex question. Let me explain; in our small shop in Healdsburg, we carry about 12,000 items from 54 countries and every piece is made differently, from the materials it is made from and the time it takes to produce. We represent products from over 70 Fair Trade organizations that each, on average, employs 200-1000 artisans. Every one of these small communities can have a very different cost of living and cost of living is primary to establishing a “living wage”. Some artisans are paid by piece and others are paid by the hour. The simple answer is that most fair trade artisans are paid on average, 3 times more than non fair trade artisans for similar work. In addition to this, most groups also receive a community premium to use to benefit their entire community.
If a company is not involved in Fair Trade, what can they do to become active in providing Fair Trade products?
My recommendation here in the United States would be to contact the Fair Trade Federation or Fair Trade USA to find producer groups that fit the company’s profile. If a company was interested in dedicating itself to Fair Trade, committing to sell only Fair Trade products as we at One World Fair Trade have done, then I would highly recommend working through the Fair Trade Federation.
Is it difficult to make a profit from selling strictly Fair Trade merchandise?
No, I don’t feel there is, I actually feel that it is a wonderful business model. Fair Trade is experiencing a growth as awareness increases. There are wonderful and very talented designers now working with producer groups to make and keep items on trend, current and fashionable. This, in turn, creates a continued demand for quality, handmade products. I think we are also experiencing a shift in consumerism with the growth in social media and the abundance of information available via internet. Conscious consumers now have the ability to evaluate companies and how they treat producers, employees and environment and support those companies that are in-line with your own values.
What are ways you insure that the workers/groups you purchase products from are being treated and paid fairly?
We are confident in the rigorous screening process and auditing of the entire supply chain by the third party organizations we work through to assure safe & healthy working conditions, protection of the environment, and a fair and living wage. We also have established long term relationships with most of our producer groups and stay in close contact regarding work standards and growth in the local communities. We and several of our employees regularly travel to some of these marginalized areas to see, first hand, just how fair trade has impacted the communities in positive ways.
What do you provide that sets you apart from other Fair Trade companies?
I think there are two great reasons. First, I really have to give credit to my beautiful and talented wife Annette; she has a very big heart and a great eye for purchasing and stocking our shop. She truly has a gift in finding just the perfect pieces that stand out and set us apart from many of the other Fair Trade stores. Secondly, and no less important is our wonderful staff. We are so fortunate to have an amazing and dedicated team. Each and every employee contributes something special to our business and each one works for us because they genuinely believe in our mission. Our sales staff is the direct connection between the artisan and the consumer. They know intimately about the products, the process, the materials and the communities in which they are produced. This is what I believe makes a Fair Trade company truly special and unique. But don’t take me wrong, I think there are many other wonderful Fair Trade shops out there but I am obviously biased, and know we really have something very special going on in our shop in Healdsburg.
If someone cannot afford to buy Fair Trade products, what are some alternative types of products that are more cost-effective but still benefit the workers who made the merchandise?
I think it is a gross misconception that just because an item is “Fair Trade”, it is going to be more expensive. Fair Trade is not about making more expensive products; it is about treating people with respect and giving workers the rights that we all should have. Fair Trade does not necessarily make an item more expensive but sometimes the time it takes to hand produce a quality item will make it more expensive than a cheaper, mass produced product. Fair Trade encompasses a vast array of products at a broad range of price points. I feel that if you keep an eye out for ethically produced products in place of mass produced, you will be surprised in what you can find. I have on rare occasions, heard a person passing in front of our shop say something like “Fair Trade is expensive”, as they walk by without ever stepping foot in the door and it always make me think to myself, “really, we have some items for $1.00?”
What is a "Fashion Revolution?" April 19 2016, 0 Comments
Fashion Revolution is a global movement uniting around an annual campaign to honor the memory of the workers who lost their lives when the Rana Plaza garment factory collapsed in Dhaka, Bangladesh. On April 24, 2013, over 1000 garment workers were killed and over 2,500 injured.
This year, Fashion Revolution has organized a week-long series of events (April 18-24), bringing people from all over the world together to raise awareness and take action to improve the fashion industry.
At One World Fair Trade, we share the belief that everyone deserves dignified work in safe & healthy work conditions and that those, who make our products deserve a fair & living wage for doing so.
One World Fair Trade takes responsibility to only partner with producer groups that value both people and planet. Here are a few of the amazing clothing groups we partner with:
Mata Traders is a design driven, ethical fashion company merging uncommonly vibrant style with fair trade practices to make an impact on global poverty. https://www.matatraders.com
The Global Mamas community works together to create a life of prosperity for African women and their families. They achieve prosperity by creating and selling handmade products of the highest quality. http://www.globalmamas.org
Tonlé Designs makes zero-waste clothing as unique and beautiful as the people who make it. They adhere to principals of transparency, fairness, and waste reduction in everything they do. http://www.tonledesign.com/
Here are some ways you can participate in Fashion Revolution week:
Tag brands on social media and ask them #whomademyclothes.
Show your label this week! Wear your clothing inside out, photograph the label, and upload it to social media.
Include #fashrev in your posts!
Learn more on how you can participate at the Fashion Revolution website.
Ethiopian Cotton Towels: Weaving a Better Future January 08 2016, 0 Comments
From the beautiful country of Ethiopia come our gorgeous and naturally luxurious, Woven Promises Ethiopian Cotton Towels. These Fair Trade, artisan made cotton towels are incredibly soft and get increasingly softer with every wash. Cleaning these towels is a breeze as all styles machine wash and dry beautifully.
Each and every towel is a handcrafted work of art made from very talented artisans. Each piece is handmade from hand-spun and hand-dyed Ethiopian cotton using ancient weaving techniques and contemporary colors and patterns. Every one of our Ethiopian cotton towels is completely handmade in only one workshop located in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and each piece passes through the hands of over 20 artisans in the making.
Ethiopian Cotton Towels are widely used across the Mediterranean, partly due to their absorbency and ability to dry quickly and also because they work exceedingly well as a beach towel and sarong. With the average terrycloth towels, the sand gets stuck into the fibers but with the sleek, Ethiopian Cotton Towel, the hand weave is so tight, that all the sand falls right off with a gentle shake. And, of course, you don’t have to use them as towels; they are beautiful as a tablecloth or table runner, a scarf or a shawl, a throw, a picnic blanket or even a colorful wall hanging!
Ethiopia is the 5th poorest country in the world and finding employment is extremely difficult and this is where the Fair Trade Artisan group Sabahar really touches so many lives in a positive way. Sabahar has truly stepped up by creating a compassionate program for working mothers. Men are the weavers and this is a long tradition in Ethiopia but this workshop employs primarily women to spin the cotton and participate in the dyeing process and finish by hand knotting each piece.
This artisan group also employs many individuals that are "contract" workers; Women in the community that spin at home and men that have looms set up on their property. This empowers women and men with families by providing the opportunity to take home raw cotton and spin it into thread allowing them to work from home. This program provides a meaningful and sustainable income for artisans, households and families while allowing the family unit to remain intact. We hear from the artisans that their work is meaningful to them and brings hope to their futures, allowing for growth, security and advancement in their lives. The workshop now employs 56 artisans including spinners and dyers, weavers and finishers in age ranging from 20 to 63 years old.
Thanks to our partner, Woven Promises and the Fair Trade Artisan Group Sabahar, these talented men & women are able to support their families through dignified employment. By creating these Fair Trade, handcrafted woven products, artisans now have access to health care, transportation, a savings account and all of their children are now being educated.
Thanks for shopping with us at our Fair Trade Christmas Gift event at Fremont Presbyterian Church! November 15 2015, 0 Comments
Fair Trade only works when the entire chain is complete, all the way from producer to you, the customer. One World Fair Trade simply wants to express our gratitude to each and everyone of you for coming out to support the event at Fremont Presbyterian Church, some of you even fought the rain to see us! Thank you for helping us to make this event successful and we hope that you and your recipients truly enjoy the meaningful & thoughtful Fair Trade Christmas Gifts this year!
Join us for our Fair Trade Christmas Event in Sacramento! October 05 2015, 0 Comments
Celebrate the contribution and value of all people and start your Christmas shopping right! Join us and take a tour of over 50 countries with our offerings of beautiful handmade gifts, home décor, clothing & accessories, jewelry, toys and more. Fair Trade helps preserve cultural traditions, values and supports artisans, farmers and producers around the world.
Tagua Nut: An Ethical Alternative to Ivory July 06 2015, 0 Comments
Deep in the Amazon Rainforest lies a nut that when carved takes on the appearance of ivory. When the nut is ripe, it falls to the earth making collection safe. It absorbs dye like a dream and is commonly used to make jewelry and art. This nut is called Tagua, or vegetable ivory, and prompts the question- why is anybody still using ivory?
Tagua (pronounced TAG-WAH) grows on a tree that looks like a palm tree. The nuts are found inside spiny pods ("mocochas" in Spanish) on the tree, each pod can contain between 40 and 80 nuts. Harvesting the nuts does not disturb the tree’s reproduction, making Tagua an ecologically sound resource as well.
(photo courtesy of Encanto)
Fair Trade strives to use materials that are ethical and good for the environment, making Tagua a popular material with Fair Trade jewelry and handicraft artisans. At One World Fair Trade, we see Tagua Nut products from Ecuador and Colombia. Both countries are home to artisan groups that abide by the Fair Trade Principles and create opportunities for disadvantaged members of their communities.
Much of our sleek, modern Tagua Jewelry comes from a workshop in Colombia owned by the Misrachi family, who have over 30 years of experience with Tagua and were awarded the title of best small exporter in all of Colombia in 2013. They ensure employees are paid fairly and have health benefits and job security. Employees are encouraged to voice their opinions and safety precautions are taken around the machinery, which is housed in the large workshop with lots of natural light.
(photo courtesy of Encanto)
The gorgeous Tagua nut carvings we get come from a group out of Ecuador called Camari that works with 6,500 artisan and farmer families. Camari was founded in 1981 with the goal of supporting small farmers (“campesinos”) and artisans so they are able to work from and stay in their homes and communities rather than moving to the cities to find work. Artisans working with Camari (which means gift in the Quechua language) are able to sell their products for a fair price and are taught to factor their time and resources into the price, whereas many artisans were previously forced to sell their goods for whatever they could, often resulting in a loss of profits. These artisans also have access to training, marketing outlets, technical assistance and credit.
With such a material available to artisans, consumers who desire the appearance of ivory have an alternative that brings harm to no one. Elephants and rhinoceroses, the rain forest and communities local to the rain forest all gain from the wonderful Eco-FriendlyTagua nut.
Stand By Nepal May 14 2015, 0 Comments
Thanks to your purchases throughout Fair Trade Week we were able to donate $1700 directly to our partners in Nepal for immediate earthquake relief.
It is amazing what our partners in Nepal have accomplished under the worst of circumstances but there is still so much help needed. Earthquakes continue to create challenges and the monsoon season is quickly approaching. We thank you your continued support and encourage you to keep the people of Nepal in your minds and prayers as there is still so much that needs to be done. One World Fair Trade will continue to stand by Nepal and help in any small way we can.
"Thank you to you all who have come to help this clinic before and helping rebuild now. i am very humble to all of you for helping My people and all over Nepal at this difficult times i know we all have to work hard for our living and yet you have decided to help what you can this means a lot for me and for Baseri, people Dhading people and all Nepali people. This gives hope and inspires and heals the wounded soul and the confused mind of my people." Sita Gurung - founding member of a Baseri Nepal Health Clinic.
The Conscious Connection Foundation, founded by our longtime Fair Trade artisan partner Ganesh Himal Trading have already raised enough money to rebuild the Baseri Clinic and a temporary Clinic is now under construction. They are still in great need for donations to the general Earthquake relief to continue to provide food, water, shelter and emergency supplies.
Pictured is the Baseri Health Clinic, destroyed by the April 25, 2015 earthquake and the progress of the new temporary Health Clinic today. (Photos courtesy of Ganesh Himal)
We are watching closely at the progress being made. In spite of all the challenges our partners are staying strong and truly making a huge difference in the lives of so many. The Conscious Connections Foundation and Ganesh Himal Trading is helping in 6 different areas of Nepal, providing tents and shelters, delivering food & water all because of the hard work and continued donations of many. (Photos courtesy of Ganesh Himal)
Spreading the word can help with immediate needs and the continued sale of Fair Trade products from artisans in Nepal will contribute to long-term rebuilding plans so that they can get back on track supporting their families and rebuilding their lives.
How you can help
We are all deeply saddened to see the effects of the earthquake in Nepal but here are 3 ways you can help:
1. You can drop off a donation at our shop in Healdsburg, CA or you can make a donation on our website and 100% will go directly to our partners in Nepal for General Earthquake Relief. Donate here
2. You can donate directly to the Conscious Connections Foundation and 100% of your donation will go directly to Artisan Relief. Donate here
3. You can help spread the word and continue to buy Fair Trade products from our Artisans in Nepal to assist with long-term rebuilding. Shop here
Together We Can Help To Rebuild Nepal May 02 2015, 0 Comments
Help us help our artisan partners
We know there are many organizations calling for help and requesting donations. We want to offer you a very easy and direct way to have an immediate impact on a specific community in Nepal that is very dear to us.
Next Saturday, May 9th is World Fair Trade Day. From now through next Saturday One World Fair Trade will donating 20% of all proceeds both in-store and on-line to the Conscious Connection Foundation, founded by our longtime Fair Trade artisan partner Ganesh Himal Trading for immediate Earthquake relief.
Pictured below is the before and after images of the Baseri Health Clinic, located in a village of Dhadagaun Baseri, 25 miles from the epicenter of the earthquake that hit Nepal on April 25. The village and the clinic were destroyed in the earthquake, and although everyone is safe, the population is vulnerable and needs immediate aid.
In addition to selling products directly from artisans in Nepal, One World Fair Trade is proud to have donated funds to the Conscious Connections Foundation and Ganesh Himal Trading to help build this clinic in 2010 and we are sad to see that is is now gone.
The clinic is well-known in the area. Proceeds from your purchase and our donation will be used for immediate relief (food, shelter, water & emergency supplies) by working with outside organizations who can access the area and then will work to replace needed livestock and in time, rebuild the Baseri Health Clinic.
We are all deeply saddened to see the effects of the recent earthquake in Nepal but find hope in knowing there are ways we can help. Fair Trade relationships are networks of intimate relationships that allow our artisan partners have to quickly spread the word to mobilize a relief effort and generate much needed funds to rebuild the lives of many.
Spreading the word can help with immediate needs and the continued sale of Fair Trade products from artisans in Nepal will contribute to long-term rebuilding plans so that they can get back on track supporting their families and rebuilding their lives.
Together we can help this community.
Fair Trade Relationships Help
We are all deeply saddened to see the effects of the recent earthquake in Nepal but find hope in knowing there are ways we can help. Fair Trade relationships are networks of intimate relationships that allow our artisan partners to quickly spread the word to mobilize a relief effort and generate much needed funds to save & rebuild the lives of many.
Spreading the word can help with immediate needs and the continued sale of Fair Trade products from artisans in Nepal will contribute to long-term rebuilding plans so that they can get back on track supporting their families and rebuilding their lives.
While conditions of homes and workshops remain unclear, purchasing handmade products from Nepal will help to provide income and normalcy. It empowers our artisans to look ahead, and it assures them that though their lives feel upside-down, the fair trade community will be there to support them.
Donate directly to the Baseri Emergency Relief Fund
In 2010, Ganesh Himal Trading raised funds to build a clinic in the Baseri region of Nepal. The clinic, as well as surrounding homes were leveled during the earthquake and are now no more than a pile of rubble. Ganesh Himal is now collecting donations for their Conscious Connections Foundation to be used for immediate relief (food, water, emergency supplies) working with outside organizations who can access the area and then will work to replace needed livestock and rebuild the clinic in time.
Fair Trade from a Retail Perspective March 27 2015, 0 Comments
If you work, support, educate or buy fair trade then I know that you have experienced this scenario,
“Well, fair trade means that the artisan receives a fair wage for their work”.
Not that there is anything wrong or incorrect about this statement but it really does not fully explain what fair trade is. Sure, in the simplest terms, Fair Trade is paying the producer a “Fair Wage” for their product and this “Fair Wage” is a path to build a better life.
If you do work in fair trade you know that it can be difficult if not impossible to explain in just a few words. This is because fair trade is a complex system based on many principles designed to help those most in need.
The bigger picture of fair trade is that it must meet several criteria from all parties involved. This starts with the facility or cooperative that produces the goods, then the wholesaler or NGO that works directly with the artisans, and ultimately the retailer, who provides the outlet for the products directly to the customer.
All parties involved must undergo a thorough and detailed audit, each slightly different as each plays a different role. For us, the retailer, we must provide producer references; disclose every vendor we work with and disclose all financial information and records annually and sometimes even through random audits to the Fair Trade Federation. In this process, 40% of applicants are rejected.
Fair Trade is a holistic approach to trade in which all parties involved are required to abide by several rules to go well beyond a “Fair Wage”, including:
Creating Opportunity – this principle, in my opinion is the foundation to fair trade! It creates a means to make an income for those who are marginalized, those who live in areas like villages far from cities or tourist destinations where there is no access to market. It creates jobs for many who would otherwise remain unemployed or have to leave their homes and villages in search of work. It can help to keep the family unit intact.
Develop Transparent and Accountable Relationships – a “Transparent Relationship” between producer and buyer means that both parties will be honest with each other and work together as a team to solve problems. An “Accountable Relationship” means that we are not just looking to buy for one season; we have a goal to create a long term relationship. We will not purchase as similar product from another producer just because they can “beat the price”.
Build Capacity – this principle means that the both the wholesaler working directly with the artisans and us, the retailer will help the producers build their business. On the retail side, we do this by provided product feedback, suggestions and market changes. This helps with design to change or create new products for sustainability of sales, therefore steadily creating a greater demand, employing more people and ultimately, improving the entire community.
Promote Fair Trade – this is where the rubber meets the road. Fair Trade is still a young enough industry and the majority of the responsibility lies in the hands of the companies that work in it. Therefore it is our responsibility to show our customers how the products are fair trade through artisan stories, information from quarterly or annual vendor reports, firsthand accounts and testimonials from working or visiting with our artisan partners. We love to sell our fair trade products but we want to create sustainability and grow fair trade so that more and more opportunities are created. We want our customers to think about who made the product and how each and every fair trade purchase truly makes a difference and hopefully after they leave our shop, they will look for, or ask for fair trade products wherever they go.
Pay Promptly and Fairly – here we are again, back to the fair wage thing! Here is where it gets a bit difficult to answer the customer who wants a quick or compartmentalized answer about “how much does the artisan get paid for this item?” or “what percentage does the artisan make?” Well let’s see, as a retailer working with over a 100 vendors representing 54 countries and 2000 different products handmade from 1000’s of artisans, each with a different cost of living and different product costs, there is no simple one-lined answer. The long answer is that we know fair trade was created as a means to provide a better life and not exploit producers. It is a guarantee that the trading relationship is a true partnership allowing all to make a fair profit. Fair wages are determined by several factors, including:
- The amount of time, skill, and effort involved in production
- Minimum and living wages where products are made
- The purchasing power in a community or area
- Other costs of living in the local context
Each party involved has different responsibilities in paying a “Fair Wage”. As a retailer, we pay our vendors their asking price as they have created their organization to help these artisans; they work directly with them and have an intimate relationship with them, their communities, and their cost of living and production costs. In many cases the artisans are paid well over 3x the local pay.
Safe & Empowering Work Conditions – one of my favorite principles as this one not only guarantees that workers have a voice in the decisions that affect them most but it creates a work environment that is safe, healthy and free from discrimination of any kind! This beautiful principle does away with all discrimination based on race, religion, sex or disability. This can be huge in developing countries where one can easily be excluded from work or even society because of casts systems, being female or being HIV+.
Ensure the rights of Children – a principle in my opinion that should not even have to be stated, Fair Trade will never using exploitive child labor! Forced child labor has no place in our products and the entire supply chain should support children’s right to security, education and play.
Environmental Sustainability – fair trade protects the environment and assures that the products can continue to be produces long-term by responsible use of resources and eco-friendly production. The entire supply chain is encouraged to reduce, reuse, reclaim and recycle materials wherever possible.
Respect Cultural Identity - Fair Trade products and production methods reflect the history and traditions of the producers. By providing a market for these handcrafts, producers can earn a living doing what their families have done for generations and they can in turn teach their children, keeping traditional art forms and crafts alive for future generations.
So, how do we easily explain the complex and beautiful system of Fair Trade? I like to think of Fair Trade first as creating opportunity, creating dignified employment. I like to think of fair trade a helping the poorest of the poor. I often choose just one principle for the day or for one customer and let them know that it is just one of many.
We want our customers to fall in love with the comprehensive nature of Fair Trade by getting behind the stories of the products so that they are inspired to share with someone else and continue to seek out socially responsible products and businesses.
President, One World Fair Trade
Students of Alexander Valley Elementary School visit One World Fair Trade! February 19 2015, 0 Comments
Students of Alexander Valley Elementary School visit One World Fair Trade to learn about Fair Trade for their World Awareness Badge. Parents, teachers and students listen as Rowan Abbott explains just how Fair Trade makes such a difference in the lives of artisans and producers in Third World countries. Rowan shows examples of handcrafts made with recycled and sustainable materials as well as shows these students where, on a world map, these handmade products were made. Some students asked great questions such as “are any of these products made by a machine?” and “how long does it take for the products to get to your store?”
We really enjoyed this entire group and give praise to the parents and teachers that came up with the idea to educate their students about Fair Trade. All of these very well behaved children departed with a Fair Trade Chocolate Bar!
Thank you Rowan for your wonderful interaction and great presentation to these children!
Fair Trade Capiz Shell: A Love Letter February 12 2015, 0 Comments
Almost everybody I know loves the beach. The sounds of waves crashing, searching for shells and the smell of sunscreen transport you to your happy place, a place of relaxation and no stress. Because not everybody is lucky enough to live on the coast, bringing pieces of the beach into your home is a lovely way to add a tropical feel to your space, minus the sand. At One World Fair Trade we carry a line of products made out the beautiful, translucent capiz shell that will achieve just that.
Capiz Shell is the inside lining of an oyster that is abundant in Southeast Asia, especially around the Philippines and Indonesia. So much so in the Philippines that there is a Province of Capiz and capiz shells were used as windows before glass was available there, hence the nickname “windowpane oyster”. Capiz shell is the traditional material used for the “parol”, a classic decoration at Christmas in the Philippines, a beautiful multi-dimensional star. The oysters inside the capiz shells are edible and rather than wasting the shells, they are made into household goods. All of the shells used for our products at One World Fair Trade are byproducts of a food source.
Capiz shells are naturally a translucent cream color but can be painted, dyed or smoked for color. Their ability to take dye makes them ideal for both home decor and jewelry. We see gorgeous necklaces and earrings made of capiz, either left the subtle natural shade or dyed a vibrant color. We have a lovely collection of capiz shell wind chimes, dyed every color in the rainbow. These pretty little shells catch the light so beautifully and make a peaceful sound when they chime.
We get our capiz items from artisan groups in two countries, Indonesia and the Philippines. Our friends in Indonesia make our beautiful wind chimes (among other products) and are part of a fair trade artisan cooperative in Bali that has strictly used recycled, ecologically sustainable or natural materials since 1992. Artisans are encouraged to utilize and support traditional and indigenous Indonesian art forms while making as little of an ecological impact as possible. Artisans employed by this group are paid a living wage, receive health insurance, and have pension plans.
Our artisan friends in the Philippines work for a wonderful group called SAFFY, which stands for Social Action for Filipino Youth. Initially founded in the 1960s as a way for women and youths to earn a livelihood, SAFFY has expanded to serve any Filipino community in need. SAFFY specializes in crafting capiz shells items and helps over 30 small artisan groups with marketing and designs. Artisans also have access to vocational training, financial and medical assistance, educational seminars, sustainable agriculture programs and health and nutrition programs. All of our capiz shell jewelry, among other items, come to us from SAFFY.
Whether you use capiz to adorn yourself or your home, I can ensure you will love the beachy look and peaceful nature of our favorite shells. And when you buy your capiz products, make sure it’s from a member of the Fair Trade Federation, like One World Fair Trade, or another fair trade organization so you can be sure your dollars go towards helping someone. Thank you for supporting fair trade.
Does buying a Fair Trade Gift make a Difference? February 03 2015, 0 Comments
Farmers, Artisans and Producers who choose to participate in Fair Trade will often claim that they feel a real sense of pride & control over their future. They claim that they now have a voice and feel empowered.
Shopping Fair Trade returns a living wage and often a community premium to the artisans. This gradually improves and empowers entire communities as they cooperatively use this investment for education, better housing, better schools and medical facilities in their own community.
Fair Trade helps artisans organize into cooperatives and creating business models which improve their negotiating position within the supply chain by understanding their rights, learning to negotiate better terms and collective bargaining.
Fair Trade is based on several Principles protecting human rights such as a safe & healthy work conditions and workplaces that are free from discrimination, be it race, gender, religion, pregnancy or disability. Workplaces free from Forced and Child Labor.
Fair Trade is really just business being done the way it should be done, with mutual respect for all parties involved. Purchasing a Fair Trade product is a simple step of love, with a giant impact.
Thank you for your support,
One World Fair Trade
This weekend only, our Fair Trade Christmas Bazaar in Sacramento! November 06 2014, 0 Comments
Happy Fair Trade Month! October 04 2014, 0 Comments
October is Fair Trade Month! September 19 2014, 0 Comments
October is Fair Trade Month!
Ask us about our Fair Trade products,
look for Fair Trade logo's,
or find and share Fair Trade products in Healdsburg on Instagram and Facebook:
Cardinal Newman High School Becomes 17th Fair Trade School in Nation! July 22 2014, 0 Comments
Lelaina Beyer, a Cardinal Newman High School Senior came up with the idea of making Cardinal Newman a certified Fair Trade high school after talking to the owners of a Fair Trade store in downtown Healdsburg, One World Fair Trade. “When I talked to her, she mentioned that Healdsburg is a Fair Trade town and that there are colleges that are Fair Trade. I figure that if a whole town or university could do it, a small high school could too”.
Cardinal Newman High School in Healdsburg, California, is part of a new national initiative by Fair Trade Campaigns to engage K – 12 students in issues of global poverty, is proud to announce its official designation as a Fair Trade School. With over 500 Fair Trade Schools in the United Kingdom alone, the USA program grew out of work in Europe and the increasing demand for Fair Trade and ethically produced products to be incorporated into institutional purchasing.
“There are few things more exciting than seeing today’s youth come to understand the role that they can play as consumers in making the world a fair and just place. To see them become not just conscious consumers, but advocates for Fair Trade, should challenge all of us to do the same. Connecting even more people through our campaigns to a movement with so many inspiring stakeholders like the range of certifiers, associations and businesses committed to making a difference, allows us to show the school community how they can make a difference now, and that there are real ways to do so in their careers as well.” Billy Linstead Goldsmith, National Coordinator, Fair Trade Campaigns.
As owners of One World Fair Trade we were honored when Lelaina contacted us for guidance regarding Fair Trade as her senior project. We watched as she worked with students and faculty throughout the year to educate and raise awareness in her High School. In June of this year, Lelaina invited us to watch her class presentation and announce her accomplishment of reaching all of the goals established by Fair Trade Campaigns for Cardinal Newman to be declared the 17th Fair Trade School in our nation!
“Fair Trade is way of doing business that is fair and ethical. It is an environmental and a labor movement. All workers are paid a living wage, work in conditions that are safe, and they receive benefits for their work. No children are used in the production of the good so children now have to time to attend school. Fair Trade gives workers back their dignity because this is a hand up and not a hand out.” Lelaina Beyer.
Congratulations Lelaina on accomplishing your Senior Project and High School graduation. We wish you much success in your very bright future.
Ray & Annette Ballestero
Happy Mother's Day May 09 2014, 1 Comment
One World Fair Trade would like to wish all the Mothers of our World a very
Happy Mother's Day!
Mothers Make a World of Difference
It's universally acknowledged that mothers are amazing.
Today is the day to reflect and honor mothers for all that they do.
One World Fair Trade would not exist if it were not for the hard work and dedication of so many mothers from around our world. These mothers are our co-workers, our dedicated employees, our talented artisans, entrepreneurs and community leaders.
Mothers will continue to inspire us with their commitment and determination to provide for their children, create a future and teach them that dreams are possible.
Today, we wish to honor the sacrifices they make on behalf of their family, and express our profound appreciation for the hard work and love responsible for so many of the products that we are so fortunate to have on our shelves.
We believe that every product has a story and today, the story is about motherhood.
Happy Mother's Day!
Ray & Annette Ballestero
One World Fair Trade
Kantha Quilting in Fair Trade Fashion May 04 2014, 0 Comments
At our shop in Healdsburg we see a lot of traditional techniques from around the world utilized in many ways including art, jewelry and toys. Each technique is beautiful in it’s own way, perfected from thousands of years of practice and rich with history. We see elegant fair trade statues and figures made out of Kisii stone from Kenya and amazing, intricate beadwork from Guatemala. We see windchimes and ornaments made out of the lining of an oyster shell abundant in Indonesia and the Philippines and we see gorgeous, colorful weaving from Mexico. One of the most ancient practices we see, and one of my personal favorites, is the embroidery from India. The embroidery in India is usually done by the women and can be a symbol of something like which caste she is in or where she is from. At One World Fair Trade we typically see three types of embroidery- the elegant chikkan kari from Uttar Pradesh, mirror-work often seen in Gujarat, and the very popular kantha stitch that has been a staple for centuries throughout Southeast Asia.
‘Kontha’ is a sanskrit word that translates to rags, this is fitting because kantha stitching started out as a favorite among India’s most rural. When saris or other textiles or articles of clothing got too worn out, they would be turned into new textiles, creating upcycled clothing, quilts, or anything else you can put cloth on. This allows the intricate details and hard work that went into the original saris be preserved among other beautiful pieces, creating something that is always unique. The term ‘kantha’ also describes the characteristic running stitch used on these pieces.
At One World Fair Trade we have lots of stunning examples of kantha work, but our favorite right now is the long Beaded Kantha Necklace. Long enough to layer up to three times (I usually layer it twice), it is wooden beads wrapped with recycled saris. The warm, muted tones are fabulous with almost any outfit. Perfect to add some interest to a solid color top or dress. Another great kantha piece is our Kantha Woven Cuff. This chunky cuff in bright, sustainable fabric makes for a great pop of color.
For an even bolder kantha statement we carry our classic fair trade sari scarves, shawls, and throws. Each scarf, shawl and throw is 100% unique. Some of the most stunning vintage saris are used for these pieces. The scarves are a colorful way to make sure you stand out in a crowd. Choose a color that compliments the colors you wear a lot and we will choose our favorite scarf of that color for you. The slightly bigger shawl size is perfect for a little black dress and will keep you warm on a spring evening. The throw is the perfect snuggle size and you will love it in any room. The rich colors and detailing will invite you to spend an afternoon wrapped up reading a book.
To me there is something so satisfying about wearing something with history or tradition to it. It becomes a conversation piece and brings awareness to a part of our world that needs support right now. Shopping fair trade gives back to artisans in very poor parts of the world. Our kantha pieces come from India and Bangladesh, and the people who make these pieces are ensured a living wage and a safe working environment. It looks good and feels good to do good.
Day 9 - Fair Trade India Tour April 27 2014, 0 Comments
We started the day with a visit to our 8th artisan group and longtime partner of One World Fair Trade named VJS, a Paper-making & Leather artisan workshop founded in 1999 by Jyoti, the sister of Manish and Rashmi. This was the first Fair Trade artisan group that Handmade Expressions worked with, established with a mission to create economic stability and to bring social change locally.
VJS now employs 110 artisans, both male and female, the division of labor based on skill level. Lead artisans will train on new products and projects every 2-5 months for a week long training at the facility, then go back and train others in their village, allowing most artisans to work from home.
We first toured the Leather workshops and watched as artisans embossed the leather with hammer and stamp. Water is used to soften the leather for stamping then dried with a blow-dryer. It is then stained with color and again blow dried. VJS sources their leather from a commercial government tannery. In India it is a criminal offense to kill a cow or buffalo so the tannery assures VJS that the leather is “cruelly free”, meaning from animals that have died a natural death, but because VJS cannot validate the origin of every piece of leather they receive they do not label it as such.
VJs only uses natural vegetable tanning, so the leather has a more natural look and some natural blemishes. All cows have imperfections on their hide and many pieces of leather have small holes. Only harsh chemicals treatments such a chromium tanning can make them disappear, therefore any natural, vegetable tanned leather will have character and will not be quite as soft.
One interesting concept is that the Hindi culture holds the cow sacred and historically anyone that worked with leather was considered an “Untouchable” and an outcast of their society. These “untouchables” usually made leather sandals and Hindu’s will purchase and wear but shun the producers. VJS not only employs these artisans but works to change the social structure and stigma associated with this work.
We toured the paper making workshops. A very clean, comfortable and well organized operation with a separate room for each stage of paper production including Embroidered Paper, Paper Box Making, Silk-screening, Paper Flower Making and Paper Bags. We learned that VJS employs 50-55 women from the slums of Jaipur to trim and clean the embroidered paper for retail sales. We also learned that VJS assists every artisan to open a bank account. If not married, they save for the wedding dowry and if married they save for their children. VJS, fellow artisans and fellow villages all contribute to each other to fill the need.
Recycled based cotton is made into a pulp and pressed to make their fine and soft paper. The glue used in making the journals, paper flowers, box making and paper bags is made of only corn flour and water. All cardboard used in manufacturing is 100% recycled.
We were treated to tea as we toured their showroom before departing this wonderful operation.
We left VJS to have lunch and head to SETU’s headquarters for a tour and recap on all that we have experienced on our Fair Trade tour. We arrived at SETU, Handmade Expressions India Branch and were introduced to only part of the team as many were away celebrating Holi, a spring festival also known as the festival of colors and the festival of love. We had spent many days seeing first hand just how much SETU has done to change small villages for the better and it was an honor to be here in person. To quote Manish, "Charity is a luxury for those who want just to feel good, but empowerment gives true dignity" and this defines SETU.
We toured the workshop downstairs from the home of Devendra & Rashmi Dhariwal, where employees demonstrated and explained the quality control and quality assurance procedure in place. We sat on the floor, leaning against boxes of rejects and reflected on our artisan visits.
Following discussions, we all got ready for the big celebration that Handmade Expressions and SETU had prepared for us this evening. We all changed into our new, traditional Indian clothing and retreated to the courtyard where we were treated to festive decorations, lights in the trees, music and Henna artists. Manish delivered a nice presentation on standards and impact of Handmade Expressions. Then the party started, modern Indian music pumping and a pizza guys delivering more pizzas than all could eat because it was decided that we all had enough Indian food for the trip! Then, when we thought we had seen it all, a award winning Bollywood dance instructor arrived getting everyone to dance and teaching a few simple steps, moves and routines.
This was a wonderful celebration and the perfect way to end our Fair Trade Tour in India. We have experienced so much in a short time all over Northern India. We have seen firsthand the dedication of several key individuals that have made it their lifetime work to create and lead organizations that impact the lives of so many in such a positive way. One World Fair Trade is proud and honored to partner with these several mission-driven organizations to help change and transform our global economy and protect our people and planet.
It was the hard work of many that made this Fair Trade journey possible and I am grateful to all that contributed, including our wonderful travel companions. I sincelerly thank our hosts, Manish Gupta from Handmade Expressions, Devendra Dhariwal, Rashmi Dhariwal, Katharine Harlow, Anjali Tanwar and Riya Sharma from SETU, our travel coordinator, Kelly Campbell from The Village Experience and local travel guide, Harshit Nagar.
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