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Look, I am not going to lie to you: these sites are not all that snazzy; actually, some are not even all that functional. You won’t find a link to similar items in your cart that other shoppers have bought and you won’t find reviews. BUT, if you are patient, you will find unique gifts that aren’t available at Target or Amazon. You will find items that are lovingly sourced and distributed with fair practices that give a fair percentage to the collectives, villages and women (and some men too!) that make them. Here is a list of fair trade sites where we (including Isabel) are doing the bulk of our holiday shopping this year.
Buying Thistle Farms products is an act of love. The products are made with the finest ingredients, by artisans who nourish and heal their bodies and souls through their work.
Thistle is spreading the love with products distributed by Shared Trade and giving a fair share to the women who make them.
Threads Worldwide’s model aims to educate and involve other concerned women who want to host or sell to expand the reach of their partners. This is a win-win, helping women worldwide through the creation and sale of fair trade accessories. www.threadsworldwide.com
Artisan Connect sells beautiful things—really lovely gifts. Here is their motto: We source exclusively from non profits, artisan collectives and other organizations that ensure a fair wage is paid to the artisans. http://www.artisanconnect.com/
On a personal note, I would like to highlight Heifer International. My daughter and I have been rolling quarters (gleaned from our chicken-scratch gumball machine on the street in front of our chicken coop) and collecting money for this group for about four years now. Buy your beloved a symbolic pig and sit back and reap the rewards. Now that’s pure love! http://www.heifer.org
With the goal of alleviating poverty and promoting social justice, Global Goods is on the right track. They’ve partnered with 40 groups in 20 different countries and brought back the goods here. http://globalgoodspartners.org/?cat=s8
If you have a little more money—okay, gobs of it—shop Pippa Small and support a beautiful mix of anthropology and jewelry, which is merged to better the lives of the artisans. From cooperatively owned gold mines in Bolivia to fairly paid craftspeople in Afghanistan, Pippa Small rocks. http://www.pippasmall.com/#&panel1-1
Article 22 sells sleek and simple jewelry that utilizes the metal from bombs dropped in Laos—local craftspeople transforming bullets in to jewelry. Yes, you can buy back the bombs dropped on the rural Vietnamese countryside in the form of pretty. http://article22.com/ARTICLE22/a22_beachtote.html
One hundred percent of Soulgems’ profits go directly to charities working to combat the sex trafficking of women and girls. Their selection is small but their mission is expansive. http://www.soulgems.org/
Feel free to send us links to your favorite fair trade sites. This list was gleaned from friends and does not even scratch the surface of what’s available. Looking through these sites I learned a lot about various artisans around the world. It kind of felt like traveling!