10 Fair Trade & Ethical Gifts that Empower Artisans Around the World

10 Fair Trade Gifts & Ethical Brands Empowering Artisans Around the World

Saturday, May 11th is World Fair Trade Day - a day to celebrate the artisans and communities who make our beautiful clothes, delicious coffee, favorite chocolates, admired home decor... and so much more! Their creativity and years of skilled technique are imbued into every detail.

The best way we can honor them is by making sure they earn a fair, living wage. Yet, sweatshops persist in more places than we would think. Too often a blouse or pair of jeans comes at the expense of textile workers who are overworked under exploitative conditions for very little pay. With the Fair Trade movement, passionate consumers and conscious brands are rising to put people and artisans first. 

It starts with a simple idea:  if you are shopping for a gift to empower yourself or someone close to you, that gift should empower the artisans who made it too.

Fair Trade symbols stand for these values and are out there to put your mind at ease. There are 10 principles and strict guidelines that ethically-made brands take care to follow in how a product is made. This means living wages, safe working conditions, dignified employment, and minimal environmental impact from sourcing to packaging.

As gift-givers the best thing we can do is to be sure the costs we save aren't at someone's expense in another corner of the world. Every birthday or holiday is an opportunity to make a positive difference for artisans and the ones you love.

To help get you started with finding ethical gifts, we put together some of our favorite fair trade and ethical gifts that empower artisans and give back.

1. Serenity Candle

Created in partnership with Tara Projects in India, this elegant brass candle supports women artisans escaping poverty, and provides community education. Choose from two enticing scents: Lavender Mint and Black Oud. One of our favorite fair trade gifts, each candle burns for 80+ hours and arrives beautifully gift boxed with a story card about the woman artisan who made it. 

2. Riverstone Tea Lights

Shaped first by nature, women artisans in Haiti hand-carve these stones from rivers in Leogane, Haiti to become tealights. Place the riverstone tea light holders on the mantle, at the center of your table, or bath side to create a wonderfully peaceful ambiance... from 100% Haitian beeswax. On the bottom of each one is a small heart indicating love for Haiti. A beautiful and meaningful fair trade gift for someone special.

3. Sea Salt Dream Gift Set

Of all the ethical gifts out there, we have a soft spot for sea salt essential oils and scents. Invite memories of the ocean into your home with our Seaside Happiness candle handmade to give back to women artisans. Each candle is poured by a woman refugee creating a brighter future for herself and her family with a living wage. We pair each with yummy handcrafted sea salt caramels and a soothing lavender essential oil and sea salt bath soak ethically made in the U.S.

4. Tranquility Candles

One simple way to empower artisans while inspiring states of calm, bliss and harmony is with one of our ethically made pure essential oil aromatherapy candles. Each scent is blended by hand in consultation with an Oregon-based aromatherapist. These sustainable gifts ensure living wage employment and a supportive community for women refugees in the U.S. Place yours in the bathroom, bedroom or any place where you would like to create an uplifting mood.

5. Sweet Inspiration Gift Set

Pairing an ethically handmade candle with fair trade chocolates, our She Inspires Gift Set is curated to give back to artisans in the U.S. and farmer members of Kuapa Kokoo, a cooperative in Ghana that strives to empower growers. Each bar is made with 100% pure cocoa butter and Fair Trade certified ingredients for a delicious chocolate that is good for us and for each grower's livelihood!

6. Morning Calm Gift Set

A handmade and truly sustainable gift, this Morning Calm set pairs only natural ingredients and essential oils together into a candle and shower steamer. Simply drop one of these artisan-made shower steams from Essence One in Minneapolis in the shower to begin the day. Each is paired with a pure essential oil candle that gives back to women refugees who are creating a brighter future for themselves and their families.

7. Burmese Candles

Inspired by the Burmese women refugees and artisans in our studio, our Burmese Candles are adorned with meaningful words. With an elegant wood wick, each is infused with peaceful scents reminiscent of their Southeast Asian homeland Burma. This collection reflects the incredible qualities they brought with them as refugees seeking to build a brighter future for their families in peace. Give as ethical gifts to those you love.

8. Riverstone Retreat Gift Set

Supporting women artisans in Haiti, our Riverstone Retreat Gift Set is much more than simply a relaxing treat. Made with pure Haitian beeswax, each riverstone is hand-carved from nature in Leogane, Haiti to fit adorable tea lights. Paired with a soothing milk and honey bath tablet and matches, this ethical gift is handmade in small batches. Light one of these fair trade gifts to give back to Haitian artisans.

9. Happiness Reed Diffusers

Hand-blended by women refugees resettled to the U.S., our Happiness Reed Diffusers gently scent any room. Each is made with an all natural, vegan reed diffuser base that is entirely VOC- and alcohol-free and paired with undyed sustainable rattan reeds. These sustainable gifts are healthy for both your home and the women artisans who pour them. Choose from scents by the Seaside, on an Island, on a Mountain or Garden.

10. Sweet Joy Gift Set

When it comes to delicious fair trade gifts that do good, our Sweet Joy Gift Set is a lovely pick for anyone with a sweet tooth. Each Ecuadorian chocolate truffle is Fair Trade certified to give back to the growers who make them. We pair these with tasty ethically made caramels and a candle made by women artisans creating a new beginning. 

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Every Prosperity Candle is handpoured by a woman artisan who is creating a brighter future in the U.S. after living many years as a refugee. We are proud to be a certified B Corporation, and strive to bring about positive change and empower artisans at every opportunity. We are passionate advocates for ethically made goods and support the fair trade principles of gender equity, respect for the environment, and living wages in our studio. 

We know this list is only the beginning... there are so many more ethical gifts out there that make an incredible difference for artisans around the world. Which ethically-made goods or fair trade brands inspire you to give back? Let us know in the comments below!


1 Response

Sue Fish
Sue Fish

May 14, 2019

Women’s Peace Collection is a wonderful fair trade company that sells high quality crafts handmade by marginalized women around the world. A member of the Fair Trade Federation, all products are ethically sourced and sustainably produced. The women make stunning jewelry, scarves, baskets, toys and housewares. Here’s the website: www.womenspeacecollection.com

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