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The Basement Beginnings of the Fair Trade Movement

Edna Ruth Byler sale

In 1946, Edna Ruth Byler stockpiled a small inventory of needlework sewn by Puerto Rican women in her central Pennsylvania basement. She began selling the products to friends and neighbors from the trunk of her car. Continue Reading »

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Rescue, Refuge, and Renewal for Exploited Women

Jenny McGee, a native of Elkhart, Indiana, had been living in Asia for 4 years with her husband when a friend asked for a favor.  The friend wanted her to find a translator so she could reach out to women who worked in the local brothels.

Since Jenny was fluent in the language, she agreed to help.  Little did she know how heartbreaking the women’s stories would be and how young some of them were.

red light districtAs is usually the case with trafficked persons, the women thought they were coming to the “big city” to work in restaurants or hair salons so they could earn money to send to their families in far-away towns and villages. Instead, they were forced to live in small, dark shops and sell themselves day in and day out.

Drawn in by the women’s plight, Jenny continued her translation work.  She built friendships with them and began to teach them English.

But she wanted to do more. So she started a jewelry business where the women could make the jewelry and earn enough money to keep them off the street and work in a dignified environment. Continue Reading »

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Prompt and Fair Pay–Fair Trade Principle #5

Malia artisans2

Photo courtesy of Malia Designs.

If the average consumer knows anything about fair trade, it’s that the farmers and artisans producing the products are paid fairly.

But what consumers probably don’t know is when they buy fair trade they’re Continue Reading »

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Promoting Fair Trade-Principle #4


Graphic courtesy of myrawsli.wordpress.com


Do you ever wonder what it means if something is fair trade?  That’s the question the fourth fair trade principle was created to answer.

Any business that sells fair trade products, whether food, fashion, or home accessories, is tasked with the job of not only answering that question but also spreading the word about fair trade.

Promoting fair trade can involve a variety of activities.  For me, it starts with Continue Reading »

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How I Became A Fair Trade Federation Member

FTF logo resizeWhen you visit my web site, do you ever notice the logo on the left? You might pass over it without much thought and move on to the joy of shopping.

But behind that logo is a guarantee that my business has passed a rigorous screening process that ensures it’s in full compliance with the 9 fair trade principles and the Fair Trade Federation Code of Practice.  It “represents membership in a network of organizations that have demonstrated a deep and lasting commitment to fair trade practices.” 1

What did that screening process involve?  Continue Reading »

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8 Things That Can Happen When You Buy Fair Trade

Whether you do so consciously or not, when you purchase a fair trade product you’re making a statement that the poor should get to participate fully in and benefit from global trade.

But if you want to know more specifically how your purchase makes a difference, at least one of these eight things happen when you buy fair trade crafts and food: Continue Reading »


What I do all day.

busyWorkI was talking with some friends recently and they asked me what I’d been up to lately.  “I’m super busy with the business,” I said. That prompted them to ask, “Well, what do you do all day?”

When I finished answering that question, they told me they had no idea how much went into running an online business.  So, I thought some of you might be curious to know all the ins and outs of how I keep things running here.   Continue Reading »

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