One of the greatest features of Fair Trade products is their bright, colorful and inspired designs that are sure to spark a conversation with someone. When pieces are unique or colorful, people are drawn to it and tend to want to know where it came from. This is when items from Jesus Economy can really shine because you have the opportunity to share with them all that fair trade item does.

Here's a few products from our Fair Trade Shop that'll be sure to start a conversation. 

Cross Body Bags from Guatemala in Emerald Green

Baskets from Rwanda: Teardrop Tri-Color

Belts from Guatemala: 47" with Horn Buckle

Earrings from Haiti: Mafi Pendant in Blue

 

Tote Bags from Haiti: Afrique

Baskets from Rwanda: Constellation in Tea and Bordeaux with Border

Pillows from Haiti: Canvas and Leather Nouveau

Table Napkin Sets from Guatemala: Berry Jubilee Striped

There's still a week left to Fair Trade Month, so grab your Fair Trade item and get ready to tell all your friends why it's a piece of hope. 

 

October is Fair Trade Month, and that means now is the perfect time to learn about fair trade. Whether you shop fair trade exclusively, or know nothing about it at all, this is the place to be. Here are 5 things to know about shopping fair trade from Jesus’ Economy.

1. Fair Trade Improves the Global Economy

Fair trade is a way of exchanging goods for fair compensation. This means that people who make products are paid the correct amount of money for the work they’ve completed. In many of the countries Jesus’ Economy has partners in, being paid justly isn’t a normal thing. But when people aren’t paid fairly for the work they’ve done, their whole family suffers. It becomes harder to pay for food, shelter, and education, and the cycle of poverty continues.

When artisans are able to sell their products fairly, their individual finances improve. When many people in a community experience improved personal economy, their community also sees an improvement. Money is no longer just changing hands within the community, it is now coming in on a larger scale and coming from other countries. And when communities grow economically, so does the world economy.

2. Fair Trade Helps Alleviate Poverty

Jesus’ Economy partners with cooperatives around the world that create products to sell internationally. These products are sold for the fair amount of money, and the artisans who’ve made the products are better able to support their families. With more money coming in, men and women can pay for food and shelter, and even for their children to go to school. When their children go to school, the future becomes brighter for everyone.

3. Fair Trade Teaches Us about Other Cultures

International fair trade products are a great way to experience culture from around the world. Many of the cooperatives we partner with incorporate traditional designs into their products to celebrate their heritage.

The scarves from Nepal, inspired by traditional nepalese fashion, are just one of many wonderful products that are beautiful, practical, and honor the country they come from.

All of the aprons from Guatemala have colors and patterns that incorporate traditional Mayan design, helping to inspire you while you cook. 

4. Fair Trade is Environmentally Friendly

The artisans we work with responsibly use sustainable materials from around their communities. 2nd Story Goods uses recycled aluminum to create pendants for jewelry, sweet grass to weave baskets, and locally sourced goat leather to cover journals. Many retail clothing and jewelry makers use chemical dyes and non-renewable materials, but these artisans are creating goods that love the earth and eliminate waste.

 

5. Fair Trade Brings People Together

There is a real connection to be made when you shop fair trade. When you wear a scarf from Haiti, you can pray for the hands that made it and know that your purchase is helping a family gain financial stability. When you carry a goat leather wallet, you know that it was made by people who are working hard to create hope for themselves.

And when you wear your fairly traded necklace or set a fairly traded trivet on your table, you can tell the story about where it’s from and why it matters.

This October, think about shopping fair trade. And with Christmas coming up, maybe you can get ahead on some gift buying!

This post was previously published under the title "5 Things to Know about Fair Trade." 

Reviews Help You Purchase Wisely

In our day of endless options, comparison shopping is common. We love to survey all of our choices so that we can make the best possible decision on where to spend our money.

Feedback is a helpful resource. It helps us know what’s a good investment, what not to waste our money on, and gives us more detail about the product.

That’s why, in our fair trade store, we really value your feedback. Leaving product reviews helps other shoppers know what you thought about a product, so they can make an informed decision.

Reviews Help Us Improve Your Shopping Experience

Product reviews also help us gain knowledge and improve our storefront for our shoppers. When you leave a review, you let other shoppers know what you value and enjoy, which helps us to serve you better. We value knowing which products you especially love – or even what products you'd like to see in our store in the future. We are always looking to grow, and through your feedback, you can help shape the future of our store.

Reviews Help Build a Community around Fair Trade

Furthermore, when you leave product reviews it helps build the movement of Jesus’ Economy. It inspires other people to join the movement by shopping fair trade and makes shopping a truly social experience. It makes fair trade better for everyone, giving us direct feedback we can provide for artisans.

What Customers Are Saying

Handmade Glass Earrings from Haiti

“This product not only makes you feel good for providing jobs and wearing recycled materials, but they are totally fun to wear! I have a pair of these for myself (Brown) and also got a pair of the Translucent Green as a gift for my daughter. The wire against the glass provides two different kinds of sparkle that shines through even long hair without being overwhelming. While they are made of simple materials, they are really eye-catching when worn. I'm putting a blue pair on my Christmas list!” –Tricia, 4 out of 5 stars

Handmade Goat Leather Journal

“These journals are beautifully made, and the packaging details the hours of labor involved. I love seeing wise shopping choices providing jobs!” –Rachel, 5 out of 5 stars

Saddleback Goat Leather Journal

“The two journals covered in goat skin have a wonderful feel, as does the creamy smooth paper--perfect for sketching.” –Elaine, 5 out of 5 stars

 
So, if you really enjoyed that leather-bound journal, that hand-woven basket, or that beautiful woven shrug, let us know, so other shoppers can enjoy the goods too. Help the fair trade movement grow: Tell us what you enjoy by dropping us a review for any product you’ve purchased. Reviews can be found at the bottom of each product page.

Do you know where your stuff is made?

With the modernization and industrialization of trade, we are often far removed from the source of our possessions. Instead of buying our clothing, food, or other items from a specific known vendor, we go to a local superstore to purchase items—and the only clue about where it comes from is a small tag that says “Made in _____.”

But do we know anything about the production process, and how that process helps—or harms—those involved?

There Is an Alternative: Fair Trade

Fair trade is a needed alternative to shopping at superstores, whether online or in person. With fair trade, you have much more knowledge about the production process and the origin of the goods.

As we explored recently, fair trade improves the global economy; helps alleviate poverty; teaches us about other cultures; is environmentally friendly; and brings people together.

Unfortunately, the outsourced items that most superstores carry do not share the same qualities. Take clothing, for example—in countries including India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and China, child labor, unhealthy working conditions, sexual abuse and discrimination, and underpayment are commonplace within the textile industry.

The Benefits of Sourcing Directly 

These negative practices perpetuate poverty. This is why, at Jesus’ Economy, we sell products from groups that represent positive economic growth. The goods in our fair trade store come from five main sources—from single artisans we work with directly; organizations we parter with that work with artisans; people receiving Jesus’ Economy microloans; cooperatives of artisans; and small business entrepreneurs.

Buying goods from organizations and cooperatives representing artisans benefits the community at large. Buying goods directly from the artisans empowers individuals to expand their business. As their business grows, these artisans are able to employ more individuals, resulting in a ripple effect of positive economic change within the community.

Furthermore, we have fair trade standards we uphold in all of our trade relationships. We require that all our vendors pay fairly according to standard market values in their region. We require safe and healthy working conditions, sustainability, and transparency in practice. We make sure that these businesses do not discriminate in any way, do not tolerate workplace abuse, and do not employ children.

All of our direct trade entrepreneurs must take a fair trade survey in addition to sending us photographs of the working conditions. We even make sure that the companies our artisans get their supplies from are compliant with basic fair trade and environmental sustainability standards.

Making a Difference through Fair Trade

Our plans for our microloan program represent the difference that buying fair trade can make. It can transform real people’s lives. Imagine going from struggling to support your family to gaining marketable skills and growing a business—with support every step of the way.

By shopping fair trade, you can not only know where your goods are coming from, you can know that you are helping provide someone with a better quality of life. That’s why we believe choosing fair trade is an important step forward toward a better world.

October is Fair Trade Month, and that means now is the perfect time to learn about fair trade. Whether you shop fair trade exclusively, or know nothing about it at all, this is the place to be. Here are 5 things to know about shopping Jesus’ Economy’s fair trade.

1. Fair Trade Improves the Global Economy

Fair trade is a way of exchanging goods for fair compensation. This means that people who make products are paid the correct amount of money for the work they’ve completed. In many of the countries Jesus’ Economy has partners in, being paid justly isn’t a normal thing. But when people aren’t paid fairly for the work they’ve done, their whole family suffers. It becomes harder to pay for food, shelter, and education, and the cycle of poverty continues.

When artisans are able to sell their products fairly, their individual finances improve. When many people in a community experience improved personal economy, their community also sees an improvement. Money is no longer just changing hands within the community, it is now coming in on a larger scale and coming from other countries. And when communities grow economically, so does the world economy.

2. Fair Trade Helps Alleviate Poverty

Jesus’ Economy partners with cooperatives around the world that create products to sell internationally. These products are sold for the fair amount of money, and the artisans who’ve made the products are better able to support their families. With more money coming in, men and women can pay for food and shelter, and even for their children to go to school. When their children go to school, the future becomes brighter for everyone.

3. Fair Trade Teaches Us about Other Cultures

International fair trade products are a great way to experience culture from around the world. Many of the cooperatives we partner with incorporate traditional designs into their products to celebrate their heritage.

The scarves from Nepal, inspired by traditional nepalese fashion, are just one of many wonderful products that are beautiful, practical, and honor the country they come from.

The Batik printed patterns from Haiti also celebrate tradition by using bright colors and textures commonly seen all around the country.

 

4. Fair Trade is Environmentally Friendly

The artisans we work with responsibly use sustainable materials from around their communities. 2nd Story Goods uses recycled aluminum to create pendants for jewelry, sweet grass to weave baskets, and locally sourced goat leather to cover journals. Many retail clothing and jewelry makers use chemical dyes and non-renewable materials, but these artisans are creating goods that love the earth and eliminate waste.

Necklaces from Haiti: the Shield

 

Baskets from Haiti: 5" Sorting

 

Journals from Haiti: Goat Leather 

 

5. Fair Trade Brings People Together

There is a real connection to be made when you shop fair trade. When you wear a scarf from Haiti, you can pray for the hands that made it and know that your purchase is helping a family gain financial stability. When you carry a goat leather wallet, you know that it was made by people who are working hard to create hope for themselves.

And when you wear your fairly traded necklace or set a fairly traded trivet on your table, you can tell the story about where it’s from and why it matters.

This October, think about shopping fair trade. And with Christmas coming up, maybe you can get ahead on some gift buying!