Fair Trade Market for Handmade Goods

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Fair Trade Market for Handmade Goods

Post by Tatiana on Tue Mar 29, 2011 6:17 pm

I'm thinking of starting up an online Fair Trade Market for handmade goods from various people, mostly women, around the world to let them earn a good living, raise and educate healthy families, and contribute to the benefit of their communities. The first group of people whose work I may be able to feature are women in communities in Guatemala whose homes and crops were destroyed by Hurricane Agatha in 2010.

I love Guatemala and the people there. Everyone was so kind and welcoming to me when I was there. Their textiles are absolutely gorgeous, too! I've seen what's available in the states and it's much lower quality than much of what I saw in Guatemala, and also much more expensive, of course. The problem is that the makers make very little of the money, normally, and the middle men are the ones who profit. I'd like to see a fairer and more reasonable setup.

I'm planning to do the software development myself, which is going to be a learning curve for me because I'm not a developer. I can read a manual, though, so I figure I'm good to go.
alien (Dude, I love this Martian person.) alien alien alien cat (The cat is awesome too! )

Anyway, if anyone has any helpful suggestions or wants to help, let me know. I see it potentially expanding to carry goods made by women all around the world.
I'm just barely getting started.
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Re: Fair Trade Market for Handmade Goods

Post by Tigger34 on Tue Mar 29, 2011 6:29 pm

Hi Tatiana,

I don't know anything about software or software development. However, I might make a suggestion concerning the merchandise. I think there is a market for well crafted hand woven baskets. Ideally, these baskets would be very well made, artistic and culturally authentic. They would need a tag that gives the name of the weaver, the cultural significance, and something about the area from which the basket came. (I am thinking of the quality of the baskets from the American Southwest, the Darien Rainforest in Central America, etc.) http://michaelsmithgallery.com/gallery/wounaan Well made authentic baskets are worth money and the artists deserve to reap a fair price for their work. I think your idea is a good one, Tatiana.

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Re: Fair Trade Market for Handmade Goods

Post by Tatiana on Tue Mar 29, 2011 6:36 pm

Excellent idea! I will definitely use that one. The textiles of Guatemala are in many local styles, and the people there can tell what particular village someone comes from by the weaving and embroidery style of their clothing. It's pretty awesome, and I'd love to learn more about it. The site could end up having a whole lot of information about the makers on it, of which the tags only tell a small part. There could be a link on the tag showing how to find out more. That's a great idea!
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Re: Fair Trade Market for Handmade Goods

Post by Tatiana on Tue Mar 29, 2011 6:39 pm

And yes, I'm expecting to handle goods that are very well-crafted and beautiful. There are woodworkers here in Alabama who make hand-made toys for kids in the local children's hospital, as well as for toys for tots at Christmas time. That's another market item we could carry, handmade wooden toys from local artisans in Alabama. Wooden toys are so much nicer and more fun than plastic ones. They're always huge favorites with the kids.
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Re: Fair Trade Market for Handmade Goods

Post by RichardF on Tue Mar 29, 2011 8:17 pm

Hi Tatiana, great idea!

One way to get started relatively quickly would be to sell items on an existing platform, such as ebay's World of Good.

Are you a Wikipedia fan? There's lots of info there about fair trade.

p.s. Oh, here's a link! Smile

http://www.kivafriends.org/index.php/topic,1217.msg12271.html#msg12271

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Re: Fair Trade Market for Handmade Goods

Post by Tigger34 on Tue Mar 29, 2011 10:45 pm

The Wounaan of the Darien Rain Forest weave beautiful baskets. Here is an interesting video about the Wounaan of the Darien Rain Forest and their fight to maintain their land, culture and livelihoods:

http://vimeo.com/5224303


It appears this video was made by some sort of non-profit or a group of artists. They may know who to contact so you can obtain Wounaan baskets to sell.
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Re: Fair Trade Market for Handmade Goods

Post by cpbailey on Wed Mar 30, 2011 3:40 am

Ahkun.org has similar goals. Also, Sak Saum: http://www.ihsionline.org/ssblog/2010/6/25/introducing-sak-saums-new-catalog.html has done some impressive stuff. SIFE at Cal Poly sells purses...see Facebook. Maybe learn from their efforts or collaborate?

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Re: Fair Trade Market for Handmade Goods

Post by VoteGreenCanada on Fri Apr 01, 2011 9:17 pm

What is Fair Trade, really? I know the definitions and certification, but so often the things that are made locally, in our own countries, may not even be fair. There are fewer these days, but there are sweatshops in Canada. What about the food we eat? Are the migrant workers treated fairly? In Canada, there are exceptions for agricultural workers, so the employers don't have to meet the normal employment standards. Canadians won't generally take the jobs under those conditions, but migrants will. What about the chickens who make our eggs? What kind of life to do they have? I'm not seeking a cut and dry answer, I'm just probing a debate that is simmering in my mind.
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Re: Fair Trade Market for Handmade Goods

Post by RichardF on Wed Jul 27, 2011 12:31 pm

FYI, in case you haven’t seen this site: Worldstock Fair Trade

About Worldstock
There are artisans around the world who create exquisite handcrafted items. Because they are small-lot producers, they have difficulty accessing the U.S market in this age of mass distribution. The expense of transferring their goods from remote villages would create an unaffordable price for consumers. In 2001, we realized the potential of combining forces with these artisans; and thus, Worldstock Fair Trade was born.

The purpose of Worldstock Fair Trade is not to make money, but to create thousands (someday millions) of jobs for artisans in the most destitute regions of the world. All net profits from Worldstock Fair Trade are donated to fund philanthropic projects in several countries, including Guatemala, Kenya, Malawi and Nepal.

Our mission is to provide customers with small-lot produced goods at an affordable price. By doing so, we locate products made by craftswomen and craftsmen from around the world. We emphasize sustainability, choosing environmentally friendly products that won't burn up natural or human resources. We strive to provide our customers with exclusive products, including handcrafted clothing, jewelry, ceramics, furniture, and much more.

Carbon Neutral Shipping
Overstock.com is partnered with Carbonfund.org to provide Carbon Neutral Shipping on all Worldstock orders, at no additional cost to customers (standard shipping rates apply). Carbon neutral shipping is a process that balances the carbon emissions of shipping to promote clean energy and reforestation.

100% of All Worldstock Fair Trade Profits Go to Charity
Overstock.com is pleased to share that all net profits from the Worldstock Fair Trade department, are donated to directly fund philanthropic projects in several countries, including Guatemala, Kenya, Malawi and Nepal.

In San Marcos Guatemala funds from Worldstock have helped in the construction of an earth bag house, rain water harvesting tanks (to provide clean water to the orphans), and a composting toilet and shower unit. In Kenya funds have built the Fanya Mambo School, which is designed to improve the future of Kenya by educating the children. The school also provides training in construction in a way that will improve the urban landscape. Worldstock funds have also made possible the construction of water towers and a pump house in Malawi Africa.

Worldstock Fair Trade is Overstock.com's socially responsible department that returns 60 to 70 percent of the sales dollars to artisans. This allows them to improve their economy, educational systems and comminutes. Worldstock has established contacts in over 60 countries creating employment opportunities for approximately 10,000 artisans around the world. To date, Overstock.com has returned more than $67 million to Worldstock's artisan suppliers.

"Worldstock's mission is to create sustainable livelihoods for artisans around the world by leveraging the internet to introduce their goods to the U.S. market. We feel privileged to be able to further support international humanitarian efforts around the world by bringing schools, clinics, drinking water, and sustainable cottage industries to artisan communities globally." Overstock.com Chairman and CEO Patrick Byrne.

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