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.
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.
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!
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!