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My Introduction to Fair Trade

Have you ever wondered how you, as a normal consumer in the United States, could impact men, women and children living in poverty? The Fair Trade Marketplace supports creative, resilient artisans in other countries. You have an opportunity to get involved. Your purchase can have a direct impact.

My introduction to fair trade came while I was living in Africa In 2006. While there, I learned how some people are born into a scenario where all their energy goes into surviving, and they, during this side of eternity, might never know what it means to thrive.

I have found that people living in many developing countries share one specific thing in common and that is they share a lack of opportunity. The Fair Trade Marketplace is proud to provide just that – an opportunity. The Fair Trade Marketplace works with artisans, most struggling in the hardships of living from one bowl of rice to the next. I would capture our artisans as creative, resilient, and packed full of perseverance. Our artisans are inspirational people who have worked through their difficulties and have taught me so much about the nuts and bolts of being an overcomer.

The Fair Trade Marketplace carries products from over fifty different countries made by men and women who have managed to avoid being trapped into modern day slavery. It is estimated nearly forty million people live in a variety of forms of slavery. Forced labor traps men, women, and children.

Phyliss and Mary Nelson pose for a photograph. Both women smile with an arm around the others shoulders as they stand close together.
Phyliss & Mary Nelson

On a personal note, my heart was captured by Phyllis, nearly twenty years ago. She was a beautiful woman to me. Phyllis created bead baskets in Kenya. To others she might have appeared to be an emaciated woman, just skin and bones with nothing more going on. To me, Phyllis represented perseverance and her beautiful countenance impacted my life.

Phyllis was HIV positive and eventually died of AIDS. I was able to say good-bye to Phyllis on her deathbed. It was a beautiful relationship. . . one I think of often. The funny thing was that we did not speak the same language and knew little about each other’s lives. However, somehow, we connected deeply, and she was the catalyst for my involvement with fair trade.

I knew in my heart that I wanted to serve women like Phyllis for the remainder of my life. I made an internal commitment to get outside of my own comforts and feel the plight of artisans who desperately need help to market and sell their products.

We would love to see you at Fair Trade Marketplace’s Fair Trade Sale this year from November 30th through December 2nd. We are proud to say that we have helped create opportunities for marginalized producers and workers. We only sell products that meet safe working conditions and the artisans have to receive a fair and dignified wage. We carry products from over fifty different countries made by men and women who have walked on a similar path to Phyllis. When shopping at The Fair Trade Marketplace you can feel good about your purchase. You can walk away with a warm fuzzy feeling about your purchase as your purchase truly impacts someone’s life. Someone like Phyllis.

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