Did you know, the Fair Trade Movement started in 1946? A woman named Edna Ruth Byler was the first to import beautiful handcrafted items from Puerto Rico and as she sold them in the United States, the money went back to the group of artisans directly. From there, The Fair Trade Movement emerged with values of trust, justice, and fairer trades between unequal power players, such as small communities with big companies to ensure workers had their rights respected.
Edna opened the first fair trade shop in 1958, Ten Thousand Villages, which is to this day the biggest fair trade shop in the US. It continues to expand by connecting with more artisan communities around the globe to promote better working conditions and growth opportunities.
Over the years, this movement has gained popularity through expansion to various countries and the need to standardize protocols and labour laws. This was the push to create world organizations and label certification bodies that help consumers trust and identify products that are produced and traded in a fair way. What started as fair trade for needle crafts, has now expanded to coffee, flowers, chocolate, sugar, rice, fresh fruits, jewelry, apparel, and more.
The Fair Trade Movement today fights for more justice in world trades, including safe working conditions, gender equality, living wages, opportunities for marginalized people, and where child labour and human trafficking are prohibited. These efforts result in sustainable and respectful relationships where local economies are valued and can grow.
As a consumer you can do your own research and look for the fair trade label and certifications when trying to decide where to buy. You can also learn more about organizations such as the Fair Trade Federation and the World Fair Trade Organization, as well as, learn about the stories behind your favourite brands.
Now that you know some more information about fair trade, I hope you feel more confident as an informed consumer. When choosing your next purchase, consider the human impact and this information whether you’re shopping on supermarket shelves or online boutiques, such as ours at Chic Made Consciously.
We at Chic Made Consciously are very passionate about fair trade. Do you know how CMC was created? After an incredible experience in Bali, Cassandra was inspired to import beautiful accessories handmade from the Art Cycle Bali community - and get this, they are upcycled from tire inner tubes, too! You can catch more about our story here. We at CMC care deeply about the impact we have on the environment and on the artisans’ lives. That is why we have traveled a few times to see this direct impact, and learn how the pieces are made, and what the working conditions are like. We are always sure to pay them fair wages, actually the wages that they personally set themselves!
We are so proud to have created a close relationship with the artisans, which evolved to designing our own collection with them in 2017, entitled Sacred Muse. It is truly a magical feeling to know we are helping a fantastic community as well as bringing awareness to these global issues at the same time.
We hope we inspired you to shop with purpose, especially this month, since it’s Fair Trade Month! So, tell us, do you feel confident to make better purchasing choices now?
For more tips on how to shop Fair Trade and why it matters, check our latest Youtube video.