This holiday season, we're celebrating stories of artisans overcoming poverty through their craft. #GiftingStories

#GiftingStories — A Better Story for a Group of Guatemala Women

Shop Handmade from Guatemala

For most families from extreme poverty situations, there is little hope of ever overcoming poverty. But in the Guatemala highlands, a group of women have come together to defeat poverty and keep their families together. They are doing so through a cultural craft that has been passed down for generations.

Ancient Craft of Weaving Creates Jobs

Mayamam Weavers, a partner of Jesus' Economy, gives artisans the ability to live a better story: the opportunity to make a living without migrating and separating their families. For most women in villages like Cajolá, Guatemala, their only choice is to travel hundreds, or even thousands, of miles to find work in another country. This story of immigration and migrant work often means leaving behind children and even spouses.

The women of Mayamam Weavers have found a way to leverage an ancient craft so they can stay in Cajoá. They creates handwoven home goods and fair trade accessories for modern living—inspired by the rich colors, patterns, and traditional weaving techniques of Mayan culture. The co-op has now grown to 20 weavers and seamstresses, all earning fair trade wages while learning the skills to run a business.

Kitchen Gift Sets from Guatemala

An Opportunity to Make a Fair Trade Living without Leaving Family

The women behind the Mayamam co-op are determined to make their lives better for themselves and their children—and with the education and fair trade wages they receive from their artistry, they are doing just that.

There are very few economic and education opportunities in the small Guatemalan village, Cajolá, where most will spend their entire lives. In fact, 94% of the entire town population live below the poverty line. Many do not have access to even basic primary education. By joining the Mayamam Weavers co-op, every woman receives fair wages, primary school education through 6th grade level, and access to scholarships for further education through university level. They are truly changing the future outlook for themselves and their entire families.  

Totes from Guatemala

 

Be Part of a Better Story for Guatemala Artists

It is difficult to overstate how much gifts from an online Fair Trade Shop, like JesusEconomy.org, changes the lives of impoverished artisans. When you gift handmade products from JesusEconomy.org, you're part of a better story for impoverished families.

Gift Handmade Goods from Guatemala 

 

Let Your Holiday Shopping Tell a Story

Every gift from JesusEconomy.org comes with a story to share ... of lives being transformed through craftculture, and a new type of commerce

Be part of the story of artisans defeating poverty. Let your holiday shopping tell a story. #GiftingStories

Gift a Better Story

Many of the products we use day-to-day are made from woven fabrics, and while machine-woven products are often cheaper, handwoven products are better for job creation, better for the environment, and they tell beautiful stories.

Here are three reasons why you should consider buying handwoven products this holiday shopping season.

1. Handwoven products are made by real people

Machines may be quicker, but when real people use their skills to hand weave fabrics, jobs are created. Millions of people around the world live in poverty, and businesses that sell handwoven products create hundreds of valuable jobs that make a positive impact on the global economy. Additionally, handwoven fabrics are higher quality because mistakes can be caught and fixed easier by a person than by a machine.  

2. Handwoven is environmentally friendly

Handwoven products don’t use heavy machinery, and because of this, these products are better for the environment. They are not made in factories that emit greenhouse gases, rather they are made carefully by people who care. Many handwoven products are made from sustainable, renewable resources such as cotton and natural dyes, while factory woven products are typically made from whatever is cheapest and quickest, often with no regard for the environment.

3. Handwoven products have heart and soul

When products are handmade, they are unique and carry stories with them. When you buy handwoven products, you get to share those stories. Many fair trade artisans around the world create their products as a source of income so they can feed and support their families, build stability, and work toward breaking the cycle of poverty. Handwoven fair trade is vital because it strengthens families and brings hope, and when you buy the products, you become part of that story. 

Shopping responsibly means looking at the bigger picture, and the big picture reveals that buying handwoven products instead of machine-woven products can create jobs, limit factory pollution, and share stories.*

The Fair Trade Shop at Jesus’ Economy.org has a wide selection of handwoven products that are gorgeous, practical, and durable.

Shop Handmade

*This article is adapted from my earlier article, "3 Reasons to Buy Hand-Woven Fair Trade Products."

It's still October which means it's still Fair Trade Month. The Jesus' Economy Fair Trade Shop is full of a plethora of quality products handmade by artisans all over the globe. Not only are they made by hand, but they're made from sustainable, renewable resources and with fair labor practices and fair pay. It's a win-win when you buy fair trade.

This month, we've put together a jewelry set for you, your friend, girlfriend, spouse, mom, daughter, whoever. 

Necklaces from Haiti: The Christella

This necklace is named after the woman who created it, Christella, who leads jewelry making in her community. It features clay beads, aluminum, and a leather cord. 

Earrings from Haiti: Aluminum Hoop

The hammered aluminum on these hoop earrings along with the small white bead will coordinate well with the Christella necklace. 

Bracelets from Haiti: Aluminum Bangles

This set of aluminum bangles completes the necklace and earring set perfectly. They are hand-hammered and made from 100% recycled aluminum. 

Whether you decide to wear these pieces all together or individually, they'll complete your outfit and possibly even start conversations with others. Or you can visit the Jesus' Economy Fair Trade Shop and put together your own jewelry set

Sometimes all you need is just a little bling; a little bling to brighten your day when you glance at it, no matter what kind of day you're having. 

These products from the Fair Trade Shop have just the right amount of bling combined with the power of economic justice. When you look at the piece, not only will the shine brighten your day, it will brighten your smile because it will remind you of the income you helped provide for a family. All with one simple purchase. 

Golden Grass Products

The beautiful capim dourado or 'golden grass' used in our Brazilian woven grass collections can be found growing in the Tocantins region of Brazil, where our artist partners, Raimunda and Moracir, live. It is a protected resource, and its raw grasses cannot be exported. Only the finished grass products of the indigenous peoples of Brazil can be brought into your home--making these items unique and valuable. It is durable, flexible and lightweight, making it perfect for jewelry and basket making. 

EARRINGS FROM BRAZIL: GOLDEN GRASS UNITY PENDANT (SMALL)

BRACELETS FROM BRAZIL: SEGMENTO GOLDEN GRASS

EARRINGS FROM BRAZIL: SOLTA GOLDEN GRASS PENDANTS

BRACELETS FROM BRAZIL: SOLTA GOLDEN GRASS BANGLE IN YELLOW


NECKLACES FROM BRAZIL: SWIRLING COILS GOLDEN GRASS

TRIVETS FROM BRAZIL: PADRÃO GOLDEN GRASS

BASKETS FROM BRAZIL: GOLDEN GRASS CESTA TRANÇITA

Find so many more golden grass products from Brazil in our Fair Trade Shop, plus even more products that, depending on your style, might just be your kind of bling to brighten your day.

Many of the products we use day-to-day are made from woven fabrics, and while machine-woven products are often cheaper, hand-woven products are better for job creation, better for the environment, and they tell beautiful stories.

Here are three reasons why you should consider buying hand-woven products.

1. Hand-woven products are made by real people

Machines may be quicker, but when real people use their skills to hand weave fabrics, jobs are created. Millions of people around the world live in poverty, and businesses that sell hand-woven products create hundreds of valuable jobs that make a positive impact on the global economy. Additionally, hand-woven fabrics are higher quality because mistakes can be caught and fixed easier by a person than by a machine.  

2. Hand-woven products are made with less energy

Hand-woven products don’t use heavy machinery, and because of this, these products are better for the environment. They are not made in factories that emit greenhouse gases, rather they are made carefully by people who care. Many hand-woven products are made from sustainable, renewable resources such as cotton and natural dyes, while factory-woven products are typically made from whatever is cheapest and quickest, often with no regard for the environment.

3. Hand-woven products have heart and soul

When products are handmade, they are unique and carry stories with them. When you buy hand-woven products, you get to share those stories. Many fair trade artisans around the world create their products as a source of income so they can feed and support their families, build stability, and work toward breaking the cycle of poverty. Hand-woven fair trade is vital because it strengthens families and brings hope, and when you buy the products, you become part of that story. 

Shopping responsibly means looking at the bigger picture, and the big picture reveals that buying hand-woven products instead of machine-woven products can create jobs, limit factory pollution, and share stories.

The Fair Trade Shop at Jesus’ Economy.org has several hand-woven products that are gorgeous, practical, and durable.

Every Sunday, we will be featuring products from the Fair Trade Shop selected by a member of the Jesus' Economy team. Every product selected is one they've personally bought, used, and fallen in love with. 

This week's pick was selected by Charlotte Van Werven, intern in content production, producing one fabulous blog post after another. 

Kitchen Gift Set from Guatemala: "Stormy Blues" Pot Holder and Towel

 

Mayamam weavers are bringing intricate, handwoven pieces of Mayan culture to your home. This pot holder and towel set from Guatemala is made of sturdy, handwoven 100% cotton while incorporating traditional Mayan design. The pot holder features grippers and an insulbrite lining and the towel has a hanging loop. Plus, they're both machine washable and dryable. 

Charlotte is a a recent college graduate who is getting ready to go to grad school. She doesn't have time for hand wash items or products that won't hold up in her kitchen. Plus, since she's on a tight college budget, she can't afford to keep buying new ones after cheap quality ones fall apart. 

"The pot holder and towel set from Guatemala are some of my favorite things in my kitchen. They hold up in the wash, and they look really nice. To me, fair trade kitchen items are a no-brainer because I need and use them daily. I try to be responsible with my shopping, and that includes shopping fair trade and eliminating waste. These items let me do both!" - Charlotte 

Check out all the colors we offer in the pot holder and towel sets, plus all the kitchen towels and cloth napkins we have!

Our moms work really hard, and we get to celebrate them in a few weeks on Mother’s Day. If you’re still looking for that special gift for the moms in your life, consider shopping fair trade, and check out all the beautiful gift options we have!

Fair Trade Products Moms Will Love

Earrings from Brazil: Solta Golden Grass Pendants

A new pair of earrings is a treat, and here is a lovely pair that is classy and fun. These earrings can be worn with formal, business, or casual outfits, which makes them practical, too!

Bracelets from Brazil: Blue Rocha Golden Grass

This bracelet has the elegance of real gold, but is much sturdier for everyday wear. Woven with golden grass, a strong Brazilian plant, this bracelet will hold its shape, too. It’s also perfect for any moms with metal-sensitive skin, and is available with stones in white, pink, and black!

Baskets from Haiti: Market Basket

A good basket is a great thing to have, and if your mom doesn’t have one yet, take a look at this one. It is the perfect size for fruits and veggies from the farmer’s market, or for a small picnic at the park. It is made from 100% sweetgrass—an all-natural, renewable, and water resistant resource in Haiti.

Kitchen Towels from Guatemala: Striped in Berry Jubilee

Handwoven with 100% cotton, these kitchen towels are vibrant and durable. There are dozens of other colors, so you can find the right pattern to match your mom’s kitchen. These towels are easy to take care of and are machine washable and dryable.

Aprons from Guatemala: Wide Caramel

Is your mom’s apron getting a little ragged? Buy her a new one that’s both fashionable and supports families around the world.

Tote Bags from Guatemala: Beach Tote in Carousel

It’s almost beach season, and this tote is just the thing for your mom to carry everything she needs as she goes out and about this summer. It’s cute, large enough to carry everything from books to snacks, and is lined with waterproof material.

Gift Card

And if you’re looking for a gift, but can’t find that ‘just right’ something, get her a gift card! A gift card for JesusEconomy.org can be used at the fair trade store, or it can be used to make a donation to one of our programs to end poverty in Bihar, India.

Honor the mothers in your life and get them something special. While you’re at it, purchase a handmade Mother’s Day card from Haiti to go with it.

Just outside Nairobi, Chamtich Kenya is creating jobs for those rising out of extreme poverty situations. This is done through leather and cattle related work. 

Alvin Sang, who leads Chamtich Kenya, is involved in many efforts to help his local people, including working against forced marriage and female genital mutilation. Alvin empowers women through creating sustainable jobs via international and local partnerships. 

Chamtich Kenya and Jesus' Economy Collaborate to Offer Fair Trade Products

Thus Chamtich products are representative of many artisans and entrepreneurs who make various items such as housewares, jewelry, and clothing. Jesus' Economy partners with Chamtich Kenya to further their vision through the purchase of Maasai beaded sandals. More than 20 men and women work to produce these sandals. 

Alvin initiates each project. The materials are then procured by young men in need of work. Other men and women then do the leather working and stitching. Finally, the sandals are handed off to a group of women to handcraft the beadwork on each pair. This results in each and every part of these sandals being handmade.

You can find these sandals for sale at the Fair Trade Shop on Jesus' Economy.

Featured Fair Trade Products by Chamtich Kenya

Spring is finally upon us and for most women that means freeing the feet and busting out the sandals. Why not start this spring season with a brand new pair of sandals that not only look gorgeous and feel comfortable but are a conversation piece about fair trade and empowering women? Chamtich Kenya creates these stunning, genuine leather sandals in two colors and two different bead styles. 

Maasai Black Leather Sandals

Maasai Brown Leather Sandals 

Whether you live where it's warm, or are looking for a gorgeous pair of sandals for your next trip, you will be thrilled to wear these. And when you're asked about them, you will have a great story to tell about how you helped those overcoming poverty through your purchase. 

See more about how Chamtich Kenya creates these sandals in the JesusEconomy.org Fair Trade Shop. 

Shopping fair trade can empower artisans like Alvin to continue to help lift the men and women he works with out of extreme poverty. Join us in helping to alleviate poverty by shopping fair trade. 

Esnart Phiri rises above difficult circumstances to provide for herself and her six children. As a self-taught seamstress, she sews gift bags for the fair trade cooperative, Mulberry Mongoose, which is located in the South Luangwa Valley in Zambia. Jewelry by Mulberry Mongoose is packaged in Esnart’s elegant bags.

Esnart was given a sewing machine 10 years ago and taught herself to use it by watching a local tailor. She now runs her own small business and also works as a housekeeper. By working with Mulberry Mongoose, she has been able to both purchase a better sewing machine and pay for her children’s education. Fair trade entrepreneurship has transformed her life.

Today the jewelry of Mulbery Mongoose is sold on JesusEconomy.org, in partnership with Dsenyo, LLC. Together, our three companies are making fair trade products that empower women available to the world.

Mulberry Mongoose and Dsenyo promote fair trade jobs

Mulberry Mongoose is an artisan initiative in the South Luangwa Valley. Located in a remote area, Mulberry Mongoose artisans design and craft jewelry inspired by the African bush. They use locally and ethically sourced materials such as tagua, semi-precious stones, wooden debris, and collected snare wires.

Mulberry Mongoose is committed to giving back to the community and supporting conservation efforts. To fight poaching, the women in the Mulberry Mongoose cooperative created the recycled snare wire collection. From snares used in animal traps have come beautiful products. For every piece of snare wire jewelry sold, a $5 donation is made to nonprofits focused on wildlife conservation and anti-poaching efforts.

The local artisans at Mulberry Mongoose work with Dsenyo, a Jesus’ Economy partner. Together, we’re empowering female artisans from Africa and Latin America. Dsenyo works alongside artisans to improve situations for impoverished people, promote a holistic economy, respect cultural traditions, and build global relationships.

Dsenyo is also committed to limiting negative environmental impact, and uses sustainable dyes and fibers, such as buriti palm, jute, and organic cotton whenever possible. They compost organic scraps and repurpose textile remnants.

Featured Fair Trade Products by Mulberry Mongoose

The Kitana Necklace in Daybreak from Zambia

This beautiful necklace is the sum of many unique parts. The Kitana necklace is made from locally-sourced abalone and freshwater pearls. Its driftwood beads come from the banks of the South Luangwa, where heavy African rains twist and turn the landscape, bringing trees down from the banks. The crushing power of the water creates the beautiful forms of our driftwood pieces. Enjoy a piece of art from the ingenuity and creativity of the African bush. Pick up your Kitana necklace today.  

Earrings from Zambia: Tagua Leaf

The name Malaika is a strong girl’s name from Zambia meaning angel. The Malaika collection of jewelry is inspired by thoughts of angels. The tribal inspiration and strong natural elements featured in this collection are completed by using sustainable materials from the African bush. Stand out while supporting fair trade jewelry made in Zambia.

 

Jewelry that Fights Poaching

The Zimba Snare Wire jewelry collection makes a statement against poaching. Each item in the collection turns wire from poaching traps into jewelry. Help reshape the world by buying from this collection. For every piece of snare wire jewelry sold, a $5 donation is made to nonprofits focused on wildlife conservation and anti-poaching efforts. Support conservation with an incredible conversation piece from the Snare Wire jewelry collection.

Necklaces from Zambia: Snare Wire Long


See the entire collection of jewelry that fights poaching.

 

See more handmade products by Mulberry Mongoose in the JesusEconomy.org Fair Trade Shop.

Shopping fair trade can transform and empower artisans like Esnart. Join us in transforming lives through fair trade.

In Jubilee, an impoverished village in Haiti just outside of Gonaives, Benson Thermidor uses his skills in business and entrepreneurship to create stable jobs. He and other artisans craft leather goods to sell locally and internationally, with the help of 2nd Story Goods and Jesus' Economy.

Beautiful handmade leather products create jobs

Benson was binding song books, Bibles, and texts for friends when 2nd Story Goods, a local nonprofit, asked him if he would be willing to teach his skills to others in the village who needed work.

Since that time, Benson's leather business has expanded greatly. He has trained other artisans in his community, and together they're making computer cases, totes, briefcases, wallets, and other items. Through this partnership, Benson's business has grown to include 25 men and women and a full-sized workshop. In this impoverished village, where work is often unreliable and low paying, Benson's studio is a grace to the community.

Promoting fair trade

Benson works with 2nd Story Goods, a Jesus’ Economy partner, to market his products in the United States. 2nd Story Goods co-labors with Haitian men and women on the outskirts of Gonaives, Haiti, to make beautiful products that create sustainable incomes for Haitian families.

It is 2nd Story Goods' vision to help people move from poverty to abundance through education, creativity, and practical life experiences. In Haiti, which has a 40 percent unemployment rate (World Bank, 2010), the work of 2nd Story Goods and Benson Thermidor is desperately needed. For all these reasons, Jesus' Economy has partnered with 2nd Story Goods to give Benson's products a wider market.

Benson’s Fair Trade Products from Haiti

Cross Body Bags from Haiti: Sheepskin

Made from 100 percent sheep leather, this bag is the elegance you've been looking for. Each bag is handmade in Jubilee, Haiti's famous leather shop, run by Benson.

Cuff Bracelets from Haiti: Split Leather

What goes great with your favorite pair of leather boots? These leather cuffs. In an elegant gray or yellow, their understatement will be your definitiveness.

Genuine Goat Leather Tote Bag from Haiti

Made from 100 percent goat leather, this bag is the elegance you've been looking for. Each one is handmade in Jubilee, Haiti's famous leather shop, run by Benson.

Journals from Haiti: Burlap

Handmade in Haiti with locally sourced burlap, this journal is what you need to express yourself. The cover is made from recycled coffee bags—each with a slightly different design.

Sheep Leather Tote Bag from Haiti

Made from sheep leather, this bag is the elegance you've been looking for. Each bag is handmade in Jubilee, Haiti's famous leather shop, run by Benson.

Clutch Purses from Haiti: Sheepskin

Made from 100 percent locally sourced sheepskin, this clutch is sure to impress.

Leather Luggage Tags from Haiti

Made from sheep goat skin, you'll never have a problem finding your bag with these tags. They are so unique that they will immediately stand out in the baggage carousel.

Goat Leather Executive Portfolio from Haiti

You're sitting at your desk and you need to write a very important note to yourself. Where else do you look, except to your fair trade executive portfolio from Haiti? It has pockets for everything you need--from business cards to credit cards. Keep all your important thoughts in the one item that's got your back: the executive portfolio from Haiti.

Leather Passport Covers from Haiti

The perfect traveling partner to hold your most valuable tool: your passport. You won't lose sight of your I.D. in this sturdy cover with elastic closure. These covers come in either sheepskin or goat leather.

Saddleback Leather Journal, Made in Haiti

When it comes time to take notes, why settle for boring? This journal is a perfect conversation piece for your school or workplace. Handmade and sewn, with a goat leather cover, it will feel and seem different than any other journal you've owned.

Sheep Leather Executive Portfolio from Haiti

You're sitting at your desk and you need to write a very important note to yourself. Where else do you look, except to your fair trade executive portfolio from Haiti? It has pockets for everything you need--from business cards to credit cards. Keep all your important thoughts in the one item that's got your back: the executive portfolio from Haiti.

Sheepskin Leather Journal from Haiti

When it comes time to take notes, why settle for boring? This journal is a perfect conversation piece for your school or workplace. Handmade and sewn, with a sheep leather cover, it will feel and seem different than any other journal you've owned.

Baby Booties from Haiti: Goat Leather

Made from locally-sourced goat leather in Gonaives, Haiti, these booties will make cozy covers for your baby's little toes. They come in three sizes for babies through toddlers—small, medium, and large.

Baby Booties from Haiti: Soft Sheepskin

Slide your baby's tiny toes in these cushy slippers and they'll never toss their shoes off again. Okay, we can't promise that, but we can promise that they'll look adorable in these fashionable booties. Made from locally-sourced leather; you can feel good about this purchase. Plus, you are helping put food on the table for several families in Jubilee, Haiti.

Cuff Bracelets from Haiti: Leather

Wrap your wrist in this smooth, creamy-brown goat leather bracelet. Made to the snap from locally sourced, locally-tanned goat leather from Gonaives, Haiti. Enjoy this hip addition to your accessory collection.

Journals from Haiti: Goat Leather

Store your most secret thoughts in this sleek leather journal from Haiti. Handmade and sewn with genuine, locally-sourced goat leather, it will feel and seem different than any other journal you've owned.

Each purchase 2nd Story Goods' product supports the livelihood of artisans in poverty situations. Shop Fair Trade on JesusEconomy.org for 2nd Story Goods' products to create jobs and transform lives.