fair trade shop

shop local: Latitudes in Staunton, VA

Latitudes Fair Trade Staunton

Finally, a fair trade boutique that carries a variety of fair trade brands and products within driving distance of Charlottesville! 


Don't get me wrong, the local Ten Thousand Villages is amazing and the staff is kind and knowledgeable, but Ten Thousand Villages' products tend to be seasonal or gift items - it's not a one stop shop for ethically produced goods.

fair trade jewelry Thistle Farms display

Daniel and I decided to spend the afternoon in nearby Staunton last Saturday, because it has a charming, historic downtown and I swore I saw a shop that carried fair trade goods last time we were there. Funnily enough, Latitudes just opened, so I wasn't thinking about this particular store (there are a couple other shops that carry Made in USA and fair trade stuff, so I was probably thinking of one of them).


It was clearly fate.


There was a Mata Traders dress on the mannequin in the front window and a huge Thistle Farms selection on display as soon as I walked in the door. I felt like a kid in a candy shop, gushing and pointing at all the familiar labels.

Manos Zapotecasstriped socks fair tradeLatitudes Fair Trade Shop

Latitudes carries Greenola Style, Matr Boomie, Manos Zapotecas, Serrv, Mata Traders, Maggie's Organics, Thistle Farms, Level Ground, Equal Exchange, and lots of other reputable fair trade brands.

They've got clothing, home goods, accessories, jewelry, food, cards, and gift items, plus lots of free literature on the fair trade movement. 


I bought a pound of Level Ground coffee and a Thistle Farms candle, which I am happily burning as I write this post.

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If you're in the Charlottesville/Staunton area, make sure to check out Latitudes at 16 East Beverly Street. You can shop some of their selection online, too. 



Learn about other local shops:
Ten Thousand Villages
Betsey Boutique
Low Vintage

spotlight: ROUTE


Special thanks to ROUTE for sponsoring this post. 

ROUTE is a nonprofit, ethical boutique with both an online and physical storefront. They place a special emphasis on supporting women artisans around the world, making sure their stories are represented lovingly and honestly to customers. Today they're introducing the brand to Style Wise readers with a guest post. 

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Our goal is to inspire conversations, think thoughtfully about where and why we are purchasing, and do it all with a little bit of style.


We created Route with the knowledge that our fashion and clothing production system is unjust and exploitative. We want to bring another voice to the growing movement of people and organizations consciously working towards industry change.

 Education, as well as a call-to-action...


We are creating a community of women who want to consciously purchase. Route considers quality, fit, style and impact in every piece, carefully curating an impactful line.  Many of our jewelry pieces are named after a strong friend or woman we know and we are always looking for new suggestions. (Drop us a line, we’d love to name an item after a friend in your life.)

We have a strong desire to create a place where anyone can purchase simple timeless items that they are confident wearing. Our pieces are simple, beautiful, affordable, and classic.  It is a line that maximizes impact in communities, both locally and around the world. Our partner organizations support and employ talented women, bringing lasting change to their families and communities.


One of our partner organizations close to home and to our hearts is FORAI (Friends of Refugees and Immigrants), based in our neighborhood in St. Louis. They teach and employ women who then work out of their own home. Our most recent collaboration with these awesome women is a unique line of classic micro-jewelry. This little project gave us an excuse to spend some sweet time with FORAI’s artisans and friends.

The takeaway...


From the customers to the makers we are thrilled to be creating routes to relationships that change lives and change the world. Join us on the journey as we grow our community by asking hard questions, and making choices that enrich our lives and the lives of many others.


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Get 15% off at ROUTE with code, STYLEWISELOVE


Shop Route's fall collections here. Follow Route on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

shop local: Betsey Boutique

betsey boutique charlottesville

Betsey Boutique is a new-to-Charlottesville women's clothing shop on Market Street near the Downtown Mall. I first heard of it while using Mata Traders' find-a-retailer search tool and was so excited to see that Mata Traders had finally come to Charlottesville. I intended to stop in several weeks ago, but it was closed before I could get there.

By a twist of fate, however, Betsey Boutique had been asked to participate in the Sew What fashion show I was set to model in, so I met owner, Lisa, during fittings for that event a couple weekends ago and got to wear a few Betsey items on the runway! In our conversations during show prep, she told me she recently relocated from a small Virginia town and loved to find unique items at reasonable price points, the latter being something sorely lacking among Charlottesville boutiques. She also features local designers when possible.

sew what fashion show
photo credit: Keith Alan Sprouse

Yes, that's me (my own mother had trouble recognizing me at first). Here I'm wearing a tunic dress from a local designer. 

I finally got a chance to check out the store a couple weekends ago and was pleasantly surprised to see a wide range of fair trade and made in USA options (Betsey is not exclusively an ethical retailer), including lots of Mata Traders' jewelry and dresses, ethical bags, and cute soaps made in New York. 

mata traders charlottesville
betsey boutique charlottesville
betsey boutique charlottesville

I plan on stopping in again to shop when I have more time (I have my eye on a dress and some earrings). 

betsey boutique charlottesville

Lisa wasn't there when I took the tour, but a friendly shop attendant welcomed me. Thanks, friendly shop attendant!

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Check out Betsey Boutique on facebook!

Ten Thousand Villages Charlottesville WFTD event

world fair trade day at ten thousand villages

I had the opportunity to check out the World Fair Trade Day event at my local Ten Thousand Villages on Saturday. Manager, Sallie, and assistant manager, Valerie, were warm and welcoming, and plenty of volunteers and staff members were on the floor to show people around and let them know about the day's special offers.

Ten Thousand Villages was the very first fair trade company and their business still serves as a model for the industry. Begun by Mennonite Edna Ruth Byler in 1946, it has since built partnerships with artisans all over the world. Artisans are paid in full before products are sold to consumers, which provides security and assists with the costs associated with production. Additionally, artisans are encouraged to use sustainable practices.

ten thousand villages charlottesville

The shop was putting on several raffles for beautiful fair trade goods, including a scarf, sarong, bag, and the book, Fair Trade: A Human Journey, full of breathtaking images and concise information about how fair trade impacts workers across the globe.

They were also offering free chocolate samples from Equal Exchange and Divine Chocolate, fair trade coffee and tea, and coloring activities for children.

ten thousand villages charlottesville
ten thousand villages charlottesville

I couldn't resist doing a little shopping while I was there, so I picked up a few things for my mom and received a delicious Equal Exchange fruit and nut chocolate bar and a sample of Level Ground dark roast coffee free with purchase!

ten thousand villages charlottesville

I had a great time getting to know some of the team, talking shop with the managers, and swapping fair trade brands and resources with others who care just as much as I do about shopping ethically.

Sallie let me know that the Charlottesville store was chosen to receive special recognition from Corporate due to its success, which means they'll have the opportunity to operate as a test market for new and exciting products in the coming months.

Congratulations on your success and thanks for having me, everyone!