If you are looking for a gift that makes a difference not only in the lives of people who receive it but in the lives of the people who made it then this Fair Trade gift guide for 2017 is a good place to start. Before we get into the list let’s define what fair trade is and how it helps people.
THE FAIR TRADE FEDERATION PRINCIPLES ARE:
- Create opportunities for economically and socially marginalized producers.
- Develop transparent and accountable relationships
- Build capacity
- Promote fair trade
- Pay promptly and fairly
- Support safe and empowering working conditions
- Ensure the rights of children
- Cultivate environmental stewardship
- Respect cultural identity
Artists are paid a fair price for products with most receiving 50% up front and the balance upon shipment. This allows them the ability to purchase raw materials and hire other craftsmen.
As you may imagine these principles are much different from the “Big box retailers” whose major objective is to earn a profit for their shareholders and big bonuses for themselves.
If you are looking for unique gifts that also make a difference in the lives of others then check out our Fair Trade Gift Guide for 2017. We’ve included information from each company about how they are changing the lives of people. If they had videos we’ve included them as well.
Fair Trade Gift Guide 2017
As parents, we believe all children should have enough food to eat and the opportunity to thrive, so when we saw a documentary on the devastating impact of childhood hunger on millions of children around the world, it inspired us to help. On that day, we decided to start a company whose purpose is to help improve the lives of children and to make a difference.
We created cuddle+kind because we wanted to make beautiful hand-knit dolls that help feed children. So for every cuddle+kind doll sold, we give 10 meals to children in need.
Our goal is to provide one million meals a year.
We’re also super proud that every doll is lovingly handcrafted by incredible women artisans in Peru, providing them with a sustainable, fair trade income.
Empowerment Projects are Alaffia’s mission in action, funded by the sales of Alafﬁa products. Alaffia invests in our communities because it is our moral responsibility and to ensure African resources empower African communities. The goal is to alleviate poverty and encourage gender equality. Our Empowerment Projects include several Education-Based Projects, Maternal Health, FGM Eradication, Eyeglasses and Reforestation. To explore their store click here.
Beza Threads is a growing community that values the life, freedom and worth of all people. We serve our Ethiopian friends because we cannot imagine sitting back and doing nothing if our own sons or daughters, brothers or sisters were being abused and treated like commodities.
We’ve seen that compassion and love through radical action can overcome even the greatest pains and scars of child slavery. We believe any effort that promotes freedom in the life of an enslaved child has immense value. Click here to visit their store
The video below is representative of many of the fair trade organizations we work with. Memory Cross sells fair trade jewelry, candles, housewares, apparel, toys, baskets, Haitian art and more. Click here to visit or store.
I love this story because it shows how one person can make a difference in the lives of people. Products they have developed are creative and unique. This is how it all started. When I was 16 years old, I went on a mission trip to Honduras. For me, it was like coming alive for the very first time. I loved the people, the culture, the food, even just “the different”. Over the years I continued to travel back to Honduras and as I did, I came face to face with extreme poverty. I looked into the eyes of women who were desperate to provide for their families but not having the means to do so.
That’s when slowly, gradually the idea for SoloHope began to evolve. These women needed jobs that renewed hope and gave dignity. So the journey began…
April 2012: I had an idea to create bracelets out of pine straw + thread. I met with Dilcia (our first SoloHope artisan in Honduras) showed her sketches and asked if she thought it was possible. She said yes.
December 2012: At a youth rally, I began selling SoloHope (Spanglish for “OnlyHope”) bracelets in the States!
August 2013: I felt God pushing me to take a risk. I quit my full time job with comfy salary and benefits and moved to Honduras for 4 months to create a product line. We grew to 3 artisan partners.
November 2014: The LUXE Collection // Christmas ’14 launched with bracelets, necklaces, earrings, ornaments and coasters.
January 2015: Approved as a non-profit corporation by the State of Georgia. Tax-deductible 501C3 status granted. Our SoloHope HQ in Cairo, GA opened.
They carry bracelets, earrings, gifts, headbands, necklaces, and scarves. Click here to visit their store.
Lauren founded FEED in 2007 with the simple idea of creating products that would engage people in the fight against hunger in a tangible way. Every one of our products has a number stamped on it that signifies the amount of meals or micronutrient packets provided with its purchase. Nine years later, we’ve built a movement connecting our customers to the cause, one bag at a time.
Feed provides fair trade gifts, bags, accessories and tees, each helping to eliminate hunger. Click here to visit their store.
Mata Traders – a design driven, fair trade brand helping to end global poverty and inspire ethical companies and consumers to change the fashion industry. Made by artisans in India and Nepal, our colorfully original designs are now sold in 50 states and 12 countries, and provide a stable source of income for families in some of the world’s poorest communities. Click here to shop their store.
Shortly after arriving in Bangladesh, Samantha Morshed started Hathay Bunano ps, a non-profit organization. Through a local NGO she invited 12 young women to her home in Dhaka and taught them to knit in her spare room. After three weeks practicing knitting they started to work on the first order.
Hathay Bunano, means hand made or hand knitted in Bangla. The women create contemporary, beautiful soft toys all by hand. Click here to check out their site.
Tribe Alive utilizes a passion for fashion and responsible commerce as a platform to help alleviate poverty among women. We work with artisan partners all over the world to employ impoverished women at fair trade wages and give them access to a safe job, sustainable income and a chance to determine their own future.
We strive to create positive change in the lives of women by providing market place access through the fair production and sale of our beautiful and unique pieces. We believe that every purchase should be made with a purpose, and that there is nothing more stylish than giving back. Hope is our message. Fashion is our medium. Click here to learn more.
I Thought of You’s mission is to expand the global marketplace of hardworking people in developing countries. We sell Fair Trade, handmade products that are not only beautiful, but also have beautiful stories behind them. Each piece purchased represents a building block for constructing a sustainable business that will provide income to people who need it most.
Personally I think they have some of the most amazing products. Click here to visit their store.
Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee Co. partners with farmers and local community leaders to develop the coffee into a sustainable income, pay a just Living Wage, and strive to further meet the needs of the people. When you buy Land of a Thousand Hills, you are receiving coffee that is 100% Arabica, fairly traded, and roasted fresh.
Jonathan Golden, founder of Land of a Thousand Hills, recognized a simple and tangible opportunity to make a difference in the lives of the Rwandan people. This realization led Golden to start a coffee company that pays a fair wage to the farmers of Rwanda, helps them with their basic needs, and brings a quality product to coffee lovers. Click here to visit their store.
Toms carries shoes, sunglasses, bags, apparel, backpacks and coffee. Shop Now
In 2009, Manos Zapotecas founder Shelley Tennyson was volunteering with a microfinance non-profit in the small Zapotec village of Teotitlán del Valle in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico. She was offering business classes to the female loan recipients, many of whom were weavers. Shelley realized that no matter how exquisite the product, or how savvy their business skills, without buyers, these hardworking and skilled artisans were not able to support themselves or their families adequately.
Three years later, Manos Zapotecas was born out of a belief that commerce can, and should, change lives for the better. What began as a wild idea to sell Zapotec bags globally, in a village where most of the women had never even left the state, has grown into a fair trade fashion brand run by a team of five women in the US that supports over 50 weavers in Oaxaca.
We strive to make a positive impact on the lives and communities of the artisans, by nurturing lasting relationships and always abiding by fair trade principles. Our designers work closely with the weavers to incorporate traditional handwoven tribal designs with modern styles, the results of which are beautiful, expertly crafted and unique bags.
Each MZ bag holds an element of discovery. From the significance of the Zapotec designs, to the bold color combinations, and most importantly, the distinct story of the artisan who wove it. Visit their store
Mitla Moda is a social entrepreneurship startup that focuses on increasing economic development in artisan communities and preserving traditional artisan techniques through ethically made and fairly traded clothing, accessories, and jewelry.
The talented artisans we work with are the crux of our business. They live and work, in small, family cooperatives in Oaxaca, Mexico, and we’ve had the honor of visiting each workshop we collaborate with, through fair trade procurement practices. Mitla Moda is a very small business, manged and run by Mitla Moda’s founder and director, Dusana. Dusana has had a love of Latin American artisan goods and clothing for as long as she can remember, a love she credits to her father, a returned Peace Corps volunteer, who filled their home with handmade items he had purchased from artisan friends while abroad.
Mitla Moda is a fair trade shop that specializes in bringing you unique, artisan-crafted clothing and accessories. We are committed to the slow fashion movement, offering you high-quality items meant to last for years, that are made sustainably, using natural materials and on traditional, foot-powered looms.
They carry dresses and tunics, tops, bags and purses, iPad and tablet sleeves, purses, backpacks, scarves and shawls and ponchos. Click here to visit their site.
is an online based boutique that partners with artisans in developing countries who create their products with an emphasis on design & quality. These artisans are treated with respect & are paid a living wage for their region. Our mission is to help support sustainable, long-term employment for men & women with limited opportunities by connections to international markets.
As their name suggests they sell primarily handbags, purses and clutches. Click here to visit their store.
Creating a broader world consciousness and a satisfying exchange between cultures are intrinsic to Cheppu from Himalaya’s mission. Our Nepalese artisans produce unique one of a kind pieces reflecting the care and tradition of their ancient cultures, while appealing to Western marketability.
Cheppu from Himalaya helps to provide sponsorships for students in need. We presently have 34 young Nepalese on scholarship programs throughout the country, ranging from Kindergarten to University, Nursing Programs, and Chartered Accounting Degrees. Cheppu from Himalaya supports individual students and also establishes direct relationships with students and Western sponsors.
Click here to visit their store.
Ten Thousand Villages sells jewelry, scarves and bags, kitchen and dinning, wall decor, home accents, baskets and holiday gifts. Click here to visit their store.
I hope you will take time to check out the amazing resources offered by these companies. If you would like to add to our list of fair trade gift ideas, include a link and description in the comments box.
Share this fair trade gift guide with your friends. Together we can make a difference.