The idea of starting a fair trade business began in 2010. I had completed a 30-week course, created by JustFaith Ministries, which comprehensively explores such issues as poverty, homelessness, the environment, and unfair trade. With an MBA and years of business experience, I was immediately attracted to the idea of fair trade.
But like many others in the U.S., I thought it involved just chocolate and coffee. What I didn’t realize, until I delved into it more, is fair trade also offers beautifully handcrafted, on-trend fashion accessories.
With this in mind, my fellow JustFaith graduates and I put together a few fair trade market days in our community. The interest and response was far beyond any of our expectations.
Seeing people so drawn to making a difference with their purchases, I decided to launch Fair Trade Designs. The result is a thoughtfully curated selection of chic, eco-friendly and fairly traded fashion accessories from marginalized artisans around the world.
My products come from wholesalers who are either members of the Fair Trade Federation or who strictly adhere to fair trade practices. After an extensive application process, I'm proud to announce that in August 2013, Fair Trade Designs became a proud member of the Fair Trade Federation as well.
My intent in starting the business went beyond just selling products. I also want to sell the concept of fair trade to a broader audience. I'm happy to say I've made some inroads on spreading the word, as evidenced by the many feature articles and product reviews I've received. You can read a sampling of some of them here.
As part of my own ongoing education process, I traveled to Guatemala in October 2013 to visit artisans who make some of the products I sell. You can read about the trip on my blog and view the short video below of an artisan trying to teach me how to make the beautiful Princesa necklaces sold on the site.
Your purchases are a vote for the kind of world you want to live in. Make your vote count and buy fair trade!
Stephanie A. King
Founder, Fair Trade Designs