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.
Created in partnership with Tara Projects in India, this elegant brass Serenity 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.
Shaped first by nature, women artisans in Haiti hand-carve these stones from rivers in Leogane, Haiti to become tea lights. Place the Riverstone Tea Lights 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.
Pairing an ethically handmade candle with fair trade chocolates, our Sweet Inspiration 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 fair trade Divine Chocolate 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!
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. We paired these candles with delicious fair trade chocolate by Divine Chocolate in the Burmese Joy Gift Set for the perfect ethical gift for those you love.
Our Happiness Gift Set is much more than simply a relaxing treat. Working directly with fair trade farms, Fruition Chocolate's small-batch chocolate bars make a delicious and ethical treat. Paired with our Happiness candles, this ethical gift is sure to bring joy to its recipients.
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 Alter Eco 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.
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!
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