We depend on hard working folks in distant villages and in suburbs of large cities around the world. These are the craftspeople - many following in the steps of their parents and ancestors. Others are making their way via entrepreneurial spirit. My visits to observe their work generally lead to their homes where the work is done. Most artisans I have met convey a love for their work and a gentle approach to life. On the road, I gain critical perspective about my life and our culture by visiting theirs. One of our goals is to be the favorite buyer of every artisan. We might not be the biggest but we are fair and fun - and what can be better in life?
With your help as the end consumer, we provide critical support to these low-income families through fair wages in the local context and other valuable assistance. We pay 15 to 30% over street prices and buy in bulk. Orders are prepaid 50%, which covers working capital and more. And we provide marketing and other assistance to keep quality high and selection fresh.
Producers often rely on membership in cooperatives or work with Non-Government Organizations (NGO's) to coordinate activity with foreign buyers. These organizations provide the crucial functions required for export management -well beyond the capacity of most artisans- while acting in partnership according the 9 principles of fair trade. Our partner organizations are frequently members of the WFTO World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO).