COLLECTION is a community of manufacturers in North Carolina working under shared values to make more than products. When you buy from Collection, you are supporting an ethical production line, meaningful jobs, and a revitalized region. We make high quality, ethically sourced and sustainable textile products.
Tell us about your business: We are growing the largest cluster on democratically-run industrial workplaces, employee-owned businesses, and worker-owners in the United States.
How is this fair trade changing the life your co-workers? Fair Trade is bringing awareness to incredibly entrenched issue in ethical manufacturing practices. The fair trade movement has helped bring education and transparency to our work.
What is your favorite product? Why? Our Local Beanie has a beautiful merino wool yarn that is spun, dyed and knit all with in 75 miles in NC with three ethical manufacturing partners.
What inspired you to social justice and/or the fair trade movement? I worked in the fashion industry in big cities for years and saw hundreds of textile jobs move overseas. I wanted to preserve the skill of sewing in our domestic manufacturing economy and provide good work to skilled artisans and neighbors.
What do you want Expo shoppers to know about your booth? COLLECTION is the first domestic textile producers co-operative, which is dedicated to lifting up the expertise and VOICE of the American textile worker.
We are the US wholesale distributors of Pebble, a line of knit/crochet baby rattles, stuffed animals, hats, blankets and rattles. Pebble brings fair trade employment to 12,000+ women throughout rural Bangladesh. The exact number is hard to count because the woman teach their friends and neighbors to help them. For most of them, this is the first time that they have been able to contribute to their families financial stability. In places where women would otherwise have to leave their families and move to the city slums to work in garment factories, Pebble is keeping families together and building up local economies well over 120 different communities. Artisan families are now able to eat 3 times a day, send their children to school, and begin saving for the future. Watch our story here.
GET TO KNOW AUSTIN
What inspired you to social justice and/or the fair trade movement? We first went to Bangladesh with the notion that we needed to take God there. Turns out, God was there all along and the best thing we could do was step into spaces where poverty had resulted in gross injustice. We found that the poor did not need saviors (white or otherwise), but partners in trade.
What do you want Expo shoppers to know about your booth? Pebble is one of the few children’s brands that are members both of FTF and WFTO (Fair Trade Federations/World Fair Trade Organization). Pebble toys are heirloom quality and designed to put smiles on faces worldwide.
We are owned and operated by First Grace United Church of Christ. All our profits go back to purchasing from the artisans so they can continue their work. We carry a variety of Fair Trade produced products. Examples of these items are jewelry, alpaca wear, ceramics, purses, wallets, soap, singing bows, chimes, wall hangings and so much more.
What inspired you to get started in Fair Trade? Our church likes to support those living in poverty and we felt a store would support more people.
What is your favorite fair trade product? Our alpaca products is my favorite. The artisans deliver our merchandise directly to the store. The quality of these product is continuously improving and the items are beautiful.
Do you have any upcoming events you would like us to promote? First Saturday Sale 15% off all products November 2nd.
Storehouse Tea, Northeast Ohio’s premier hand-crafter of 50 high quality, fresh, organic and fair trade loose leaf teas and new line of organic, whole leaf Tea Sachets can be found at many healthy grocery stores, coffee/tea houses, restaurants and cafes. Our packaging team includes members of the local refugee community. In every aspect of our business, we strive to attain our goals of quality products and socially ethical business practices. We are honored to nourish you, your family and customers one delicious and healthy sip at a time.
Tell us about your artisans. From the very beginning, we wanted Storehouse Tea to be a company that would have a positive social impact at home and overseas. We believe that if you set out to do something good and right, the money will come! We saw a need for good and safe work among Cleveland’s growing refugee population. Between 2000 and 2016, nearly 5,000 refugees had arrived in Cuyahoga County, where Storehouse Tea is located. When seeking employment, refugees face additional challenges, such as language barriers, lack of transportation, and cultural differences. We work with the neighborhood community development office, community resettlement agencies as well as the local international High School around the corner from us to assist us in finding employees. One of the reasons we chose our current location was because our workers can walk or ride public transportation to get to us. Tea is an international business and we source ingredients from all around the world, it’s a beautiful connection and a business model that comes full circle, sometimes working with women from the very regions where our tea comes from. Our international production team assist us in blending, packing and labeling boxes, they are as diverse and lively as our teas. We hope to instill confidence and hope in our international team by mentoring them and giving them an opportunity to improve their English, gain job experience, make money to help support their families so that together we can strengthen and empower this community and this city. Storehouse Tea has also participated in community out reaches and fundraisers for the International High School where many of our employees come from. It is an honor to be connected to the growth and livelihood of our new neighbors and that’s what makes our business so much more meaningful to us and to our customers.
How is fair trade changing the life of your artisans? Many of our customers have said to us that they buy our teas because we support Fair Trade. They want to be sure that the teas they are enjoying are produced by people that are being paid a reasonable price for their teas. Fair Trade Certification empowers farmers and farm workers to lift themselves out of poverty by investing in their farms and communities, protecting the environment, and developing the business skills necessary to compete in the global marketplace. Storehouse Tea’s suppliers purchase from Fair Trade producer groups as directly as possible, guaranteeing to pay above market prices, though only pennies more for the consumer, eliminating unnecessary middlemen and empowering farmers to develop the business capacity necessary to compete in the global marketplace. We try to purchase as much Fair Trade teas as possible, so that we can give back to these communities. The majority of tea pickers are women, as a female owner we are grateful to these beautiful, skillful and hard-working tea pickers for providing our company with amazing tea leaves and want to pay them fairly for the work they do. At Storehouse Tea we feel connected to these organic and Fair Trade Tea Gardens and Farms and their owners, some of which have even become our friends. We appreciate their hard work and dedication to putting out the most amazing organic and Fair Trade tea.
Get to know Paula!
What inspired you to social justice and/or the fair trade movement? I was 45 when I started Storehouse Tea, my kids were pretty much self sufficient, and I had a good sense of my gifts and talents in those life living years. I also realized at that point in my life I needed to get healthier, so I gave up coffee and started drinking tea I became a fanatic which inspired me to create Storehouse Tea. I knew that this business would be different because of my 2 passions in life, health and people. I wanted to create a product that was extremely good for you and a business that had a deeper meaning and purpose. Organic and Fair Trade were the two certifications we received before we started blending our own teas. I am committed to purchasing Fair Trade because most of the tea pickers are females and I wanted them to be paid fairly for their work and treated fairly. When it came time to hire employees I felt a strong connection and purpose to hire people who really needed the work. I found these people through the refugee resettlement groups and Thomas Jefferson International academy right around the corner from our production facility in the Clark Fulton neighborhood of Cleveland. These young people needed compassion, mentoring and help, as a mother of 3 it was very natural for me to connect to these beautiful hard working refugees who were brand new to Cleveland and this part of the world. By simply giving them encouragement and love I have seen them thrive in their new life here. This is the most meaningful part to Storehouse Tea.
What do you want Expo shoppers to know about your booth? We will bring 25 -30 of our top selling Organic Fair Trade teas to the Fair Trade Expo as well as a private label brand of teas that help a safe house and school in Northern Iraq.
Do you have any upcoming events you would like us to promote? Our Production Facility will be open to the public Thanksgiving Weekend, November 30th and December 1st from 10 am. – 5 pm. The Hildebrandt Building 3619 Walton Ave. Suite 101, Cleveland, Ohio 44113
Beyond Borders has been working with and nurturing Haitian metal artists in Croix-des-Bouquets for fifteen years. We meet directly with them to ensure that quality and craftsmanship standards remain high. We love the constant exchange and blossoming of new product and design ideas. Most importantly, we see real economic improvement and lives bettered through the creation and sharing of their beautiful art. This success is about a true partnership between the Haitian artists, Beyond Borders, you as our retail customers, and your customers… all who get to love this art and share in the story.
Get to know Victoria! How is fair trade changing the life of your artisans? We see real economic improvement and lives bettered through the creation and sharing of their beautiful art. When the earthquake of 2010 destroyed all of the homes of our artists, Beyond Borders was able to respond immediately with money to rebuild. While governments and large NGOs struggled for weeks (sometimes even months) to figure out how to assist those in need, the Beyond Borders’ bank account in Petionville, Haiti (under the direction of Beyond Borders founder Casey Riddell) was able to distribute funds within days enabling our artists to get back to work and share their art with those of us in the United States and Canada.
What do you want Expo shoppers to know about your booth? All the artwork is created by using just 3 simple hand tools – a hammer, a chisel and a nail. It is all protected for indoor/outdoor display and usage.
Do you have any upcoming events you would like us to promote? This will unfortunately be the last expo/event Beyond Borders will participate in for a while due to employees taking time off to raise their baby’s being born. Come out and see us at the Ohio Fair Trade Expo and check out the latest product line!
Bring out the best in your skin with the all-natural and organic products available at Shema Store. Here, we use only the highest-quality unrefined premium fair trade African Shea butter to create a full line of skin and hair care products. Give your body the natural pampering it deserves when you use Shema’s all-organic products. We offer moisturizers, hair and body soaps, lip balms, beard oils, and lotions among others. Rest assured that all that we offer are made only from quality ingredients that are carefully formulated to nourish and rejuvenate your hair and skin. Check out our official online store to see what we have in store for you.
Get to know Mark! What inspired you to the social justice and/or fair trade movement? I want to help people be able to sustain and support their communities. Providing a market for their fair trade products helps.
How is fair trade changing the life of your artisans? Our artisans are able to make a living and sustainable wages when we purchase their shea butter.
What do you want Expo shoppers to know about your booth? We support Fair Trade Shea Butter women/famers and their communities.
Santa Rosa Stitches provides the resources for impoverished women in El Salvador to support themselves and their families through the creation of artisan, handmade jewelry, knit/crochet items, greeting cards, and more. Our artisans (16-60 years) live in a village on a remote mountaintop in the country outside of San Salvador. This is one of the poorest villages in El Salvador, as there is a 98% unemployment rate in the village. Most of these women don’t have electricity and work at night by candle light. Their homes are made of corrugated steel and have a dirt floor. They are faith-filled, relationship-oriented, beautiful people with whom we have developed lifelong friendships and connections.
With the proceeds from Santa Rosa Stitches these women have been able to send their children to school, make improvements to their homes, obtain healthcare, and help feed their families. Santa Rosa Stitches has helped these ladies develop a new sense of confidence and a stronger voice in their village.
Get to know Rita!
What inspired you to social justice and/or the fair trade movement? About 7 years ago, I started working at the St. Dominic parish office, which has a robust mission program with the small mountain village of Chiltiupan, El Salvador. The pastor, Fr. Tom Fanta, wants every church employee to go on a mission trip so I went with him and a group of people about six months after I started the job. One of the women on my trip was Angie Gallan, the founder of Santa Rosa Stitches. She and I had been acquaintances up to that point (our sons are the same age and were in classes together). I met the Salvadoran women of Santa Rosa Stitches on that trip and soon after, Angie asked me to become more involved with the group. We are now an independent non-profit organization and I have been traveling to El Salvador ever since, approximately three times a year, to bring materials and supplies, help the women design new products, and bring the finished goods back to the USA for sale.
How is fair trade changing the life of your artisans? The women are able to send their children to school; upgrade to concrete floors, install electricity & running water. They take pride in the work they produce and have become more vocal in their hopes for the future.
What do you want Expo shoppers to know about your booth? All of our items are handmade in El Salvador. Our artisans are the only people who pull a paycheck in out business. All of the staff in our booth and behind the scenes are volunteers.
Do you have any upcoming events you would like us to promote? Our Holiday Open House is December 6th and 7th at the home of one of our supporters. Stop by our booth for an invitation to this free event!
Come to Saint Hilary located in the Akron area for this two day fair trade boutique. Hours on Saturday are noon to 6:00 and 8:30 to 1:30 on Sunday. A variety of vendors will be on hand with great products from around the world.
Global Gifts, Inc has been a non-profit organization for over 3o years and has had a fair trade storefront in the Short North district of Columbus for over 5 years. They offer verified fair trade goods from over 40 different countries as well as items from local social enterprise organizations. While Global Gifts purchase from artisans, farmers, and producers from over 40 different countries, they have a special relationship with Imani Workshops, based in Eldoret, Kenya. The Workshop is an economic development program for people who are HIV+ or living with AIDS. They make colorful beaded and clay jewelry, textiles, toys, and more. To learn more about Imani, read this blog. Fair Trade provides opportunities for skillful artisans to improve their lives, fully educate their children (and themselves), and to have a wider market for their goods.
Get to know Amy! What is your favorite fair trade product? Dish towels made from recycled kantha textiles! I love them because they are upcycled from sari textiles, they are versatile – dish towel, end table or dresser topper, and they come in an array of wonderful colors that brighten any room! Although the dish towel may not be one of a kind (because they are made of recycled material) each one is unique. They come to us from Sasha Craft Producers in India that supports at-risk artisan communities. The purchase of these kantha towels builds the skills of poor & marginalized artisans, enhancing their access to markets and information, and increasing their income and productivity in a sustainable way. Nearly 70% of producers are women.
What inspired you to social justice and/or the fair trade movement? A desire to be a part of a movement with a mission to make a positive impact.
What do you want Expo shoppers to know about your booth? We’re excited to be at the Ohio Fair Trade Expo again this year and look forward to bringing a collection of new and favorite products! I will have extra kantha towels with me, come early for the best selection.
The Tremont Arts Festival is a wonderful two day event in September which bring vendors from throughout Northeast Ohio together for the weekend. Many will be offering fair trade products from around the world. It runs from noon to 7:00 on Saturday and noon to 5:00 on Sunday.