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June 22, 2016

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Fair Trade, How do I love thee? Let me count the ways....

People ask me all of the time; what got me into this fair trade world and do I enjoy it? The answer, regardless of the day, is a resounding Yes! The fair trade world, for the lucky ones it touches, whether here in the US or abroad, is an atmosphere of fairness, togetherness, and the believe that we are all "agents of change."  I can honestly say, I have not met one person who works in the fair trade world who is not one of "my kind of people." Whether an artisan, or wholesaler, or fellow retailer like myself, we all take great pains to help each other. If business is down, we fret for each other, if it's up, we congratulate each other. One for all and all for one. I feel so fortunate to be able to pursue a career that not only does good, but is good. For me, my family, the Arlington, VA community and artisans near and far.
April 05, 2016

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Nepal and India fair trade adventure

Just spent an amazing three weeks in Nepal and India, experiencing the people, culture and most importantly, their beautiful handicrafts. Fair trade is about so many things; allowing people a fair wage for their beautiful work, working in a safe environment, respecting child labor laws, but it's also about sustaining an art form and a culture which is quickly dieing in the techno world in which we live. Like all over the world, including the US, so many of the Nepalese and Indian young are flocking to the big city with the hopes of making it big, or even just making it, in the cities. Village life is slow, but also has very few resources to sustain a family. Fair trade enables village to life to thrive by sustaining the art forms and hand crafts which has sustained these villages for decades. Woodworking, bell making, jewelry and embroidery making are all crafts which have been passed down for centuries. Today, in Nepal, felting has become a craft which helps sustain communities.

Watching our friend and fair trade distributor, Manish Gupta of Matre Boomie, interacting with the artisans throughout Northern India, makes me proud to say I work in the fair trade world. Manish treats each and every artisan as co-worker, showing that their relationship is truly two sided. Not only does Matre Boomie provide work for so many artisan groups but they also provide literacy classes, new kilns, pay in advance for their orders and ensure when something isn't working that they find a new design that will work. 

Working in the fair trade world and seeing it up close and personal has been a dream. Fair trade works. And people who shop at fair trade stores make that dream happen every day for so many people in small villages throughout the world.


March 23, 2016

Posted in artisan, coffee, fair trade, gifts, handcrafted, jewelry

We are officially PROUD members of the Fair Trade Federation

In fair trade circles, the talk today is often about the willfully ignorant. In the article do-these-jeans-make-me-look-unethical, Nurith Azenman explores the human psyche behind decisions such as fair trade purchases. "The study, which will be published in the July edition of the Journal of Consumer Psychology but is already available online, builds on earlieresearch suggesting that most shoppers experience a kind of ethical dissonance: If we're actually told that a specific product was produced in an unethical way, we won't want to buy it. Yet given the choice, most of us would rather not know the backstory. 

Shopping at fair trade stores, online on Fair Trade sites or even at big box stores that have a fair trade section, allows consumers to make a conscious decision about how they want to spend their money. As the movement grows, so does the number and styles of products one can find that are also treat producers fairly. What was once only a term applied to coffee, cocoa and olive farmers has blossomed into hundreds of gifts in the forms of clothing, housewares, jewelry and food. Fair trade networks work hard to solidify a transparent and sustainable relationship which often means encouraging styles and colors that appeal to different audiences, both in the US and overseas. Don't fall for the misconception that fair trade means bohemian or ethnic. Fair trade products can be every bit as stylish as any non fair trade items.

This is not to say that anything and everything can be found to be produced fairly - I wish! But when you can buy something that has supported artisans in lesser developed countries, why not do so? You can't change the world overnight, but your purchase truly MAKES A DIFFERENCE in someone's world.

March 22, 2016

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Trade Roots featured in Washingtonian Magazine!

January 12, 2016

Posted in arlington va, coffee, fair trade, tea

Our fair trade gift store sells coffee too!

After two years promoting and selling hand crafted fair trade products, this past September we celebrated our one year anniversary of selling fair trade coffee and tea as well. Situated in a cozy room, decorated much like a Turkish tea house, Trade Roots' coffee/tea shop has become a popular destination for friends to meet up over a latte, or for tele commuters to take a break and work away from home. The intimate, casual atmosphere has led many people to reserve the room for private parties and book clubs!
January 09, 2016

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fair trade so much more than coffee!

Did you know fair trade is so much more than coffee and sugar? While fair trade and direct trade coffee has been supporting small family farms for decades now, fair trade has expanded to so many beautiful products that reflect a culture and craft of a people. For example, these oil drums were once discarded off the coast of Haiti and now make an incredible work of art for both inside and outside one's home. Gift shops like Trade Roots, show case the culture and talent from artisans all over the world. Fair trade; it's trade not aid!
December 09, 2015

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Fair trade is so much more than fair wages

Trade Roots is fortunate to partner with so many wonderful groups doing great work in developing countries. One such group is Acacia Creations which was founded in 2007, working in rural Kenya. Acacia goes beyond fair trade by creating jobs, providing training, and giving back to communities through their education and healthcare initiatives. They work directly with thousands of craftsmen and women at their Nairobi, Kenya studio and across Asia to improve their skills and product designs. Besides helping Kenyan artisans get their crafts to market, Acacia Creations has helped provide books, uniforms and school supplies as well as been instrumental in forming health and eye clinics as well as raised money to distribute mosquito bedding to all of its employees.
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