Fairtrade Shopping

& Why it Matters

This quote by Agnes Bojaxhiu beautifully articulates what happens when we become conscious shoppers. Single purchases by single individuals almost seem insignificant in the sea of injustice and exploitation, but it's not true. Each effort does have a ripple effect, and collectively over time, it makes a difference!

What is Fairtrade?
Many products we buy are made or grown in developing countries. This morning when you pulled on that sweater or poured that cup of coffee, you probably didn't think about where they originated from. No condemnation, I didn't either. It's become so easy to take for granted everything we have easy access to, everything that we can purchase for a good price, that we forget about the supply chain between the originator and the consumer.


It's a world-changing way of doing business!


This global movement of Fairtrade, involves companies, artisans, farmers, consumers, and organizations that want to put people first. Companies that advertise "fairtrade" want you to know they are making progress toward better working conditions, fair wages, and growth opportunities. Having the "fairtrade certification seal" means you can be sure it was made according to rigorous social, environmental, and economic standards. In order to earn this seal of approval, companies must provide safe work conditions, protect the environment, build sustainable livelihoods, and uplift those communities.


Our Favorite Fairtrade Brands



Parker Clay

Hand-made leather bags from Ethiopia

From their website:


"Many women in Ethiopia have little or no opportunity for professional skill development or long-term careers, and many turn to coercive, dangerous work to provide for their families. Approximately 1 of 4 women in Addis Ababa (the capital of Ethiopia) are unemployed, and over 150,000 are in prostitution."


"As of 2021, we have over 200 employees in our factory in Ethiopia 96 of those employees are women, and 61 of these women have been hired out of prostitution through our partnership with Ellilta Women at Risk, and we are just getting started. By the end of 2020, our goal is to hire over 100 more women, with the majority coming from the Ellilta Women at Risk program, fighting to bring even more women out of prostitution."




Haiti Design Co.

Leatherwork Goods & Metal, Bone and Horn Jewelry

From their website:


"Our mantra around the workshop is men anpil, chay pa lou. This is an old Haitian proverb meaning many hands make the load light. We believe that there is commonality between the designer, maker, and consumer and that when working together we can help lighten each other's load and bring about lasting positive impact." 

"Little by little our small workshop has grown and evolved into a training and production center employing over 150 people within our workshop and HDC partner branches. Over the years, HDC has collaborated with many talented designers that have come to Haiti and led workshops to train teams in new and better production techniques. These collaborations have been the foundations for many of the teams we are able to employ today."





Leather Bags, Shoes, and Apparel made in Ethiopia, Mexico, Brazil, and India

From their website:


"Women comprise 95% of our staff at ABLE, but globally they often hold the lowest-paid, least-secure jobs. Yet we know women invest twice as much of their income into their families compared to men. When a woman is economically empowered, her children and community thrive, making her crucial to eradicating poverty. ABLE is committed to ensuring every woman receives treatment and compensation reflective of her immense worth."


"Our driving motivation is to make a real, measurable difference in the communities we claim to impact. So we spent three years developing our own evaluation system—called ACCOUNTABLE—which evaluates our manufacturing partners on safety, equality, and wages in order to give us better insight into the impact of our supply chain on the women making our products. Fashion is one of the largest industrial employers of women worldwide, yet only an estimated 2% of fashion workers are paid a livable wage. We want to change that, but we know one of the quickest ways companies will change their practices is if their customers demand it. We published our lowest wages in order to give consumers a clear choice to protect the people making their products, and we want other companies to do the same."



Brave Soles

Sandals & Accessories made from upcycled tires in the Dominican Republic

From their website:


"The choices we make should be a reflection of what we value. In Brave Soles WE value people, our planet and the legacy we are leaving long after we are gone. The false perception that we deserve to get everything cheaper and faster has a cost that we can no longer afford to pay as a global community. In the end, it's the most vulnerable people and environments who pays the highest price for it all. As the founder of an international youth humanitarian organization, Christal Earle had been working and learning from a local community of garbage dump workers since 2005 on the north coast of Dominican Republic. Among everything else in that garbage dump, there was also an overwhelming amount of tires. They were a breeding ground for mosquitoes carrying deadly diseases and they were a toxic nightmare."


"In early 2017, the idea struck for the first time. Why not use tires for soles on beautiful hand made shoes - and create a way to help the most vulnerable people in the process? Being conscious shoppers, whether we're at home and traveling abroad, is a critical practice. Let's all get into the habit of paying attention to the things we buy and consider who made them."




Leather bags and accessories from India and beyond

From their website:


"We exist to empower and equip families living in some of the most vulnerable places around the world through small business creation. With every leather good purchased, our customers are directly fueling the dreams of men and women in 10 different countries worldwide! From our artisans’ hands to your doorstep, we not only want to create an exceptional product, we want to create a meaningful one."


"Most people are surprised to know that the leather shop in India isn’t called Elevate, it’s named Tecsoe, a hindi word that means “longevity”. That’s because we don’t own their shop - their people do!"

"So enters, Elevate - a non-profit organization that believes in equipping and empowering vulnerable people groups around the world through small business creation. The start of Elevate has never been about creating 'our business', but rather, it was centered around helping our artisan partners start theirs."


"People are our heartbeat. That’s why we seek to understand the unique and defining cultural characteristics of each community we look to impact. By understanding their world view and perspective, we can better help serve them so they can be the most successful in their business initiatives."






If we each cast a stone and change the way we buy our products, it can create many ripples for a better world.