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Everything You Need to Know About Fair Trade

Fair Trade Children's Shoes

At Spearman Artisanry, we primarily offer Fair Trade products both in our store and online. Most of these are from countries in South America and created by artisans that the owner, Jannett Spearman knows personally. So, we describe our shop as “A Fair Trade Boutique.” This means that we purposefully select clothing, jewelry, accessories and homegoods that follow Fair Trade principles.

This matters to us because we have a personal connection with makers and care about the economies of developing nations. If you feel similarly, you might be interested in learning more about Fair Trade. Below is everything you need to know about Fair Trade.

What is “Fair Trade”?

A relatively new social movement, Fair Trade aims to help producers in developing countries through better trading terms, better working conditions, and sustainable production methods. Often, this means that the prices of items are higher than other imported goods because the workers make fair wages and work in safer conditions. In an age where unethical labor practices dominate the international marketplace, Fair Trade companies offer an alternative for thoughtful consumers.

Fair Trade promotes greater equity in international trading partnerships through dialogue, transparency and respect. They want to secure the rights of marginalized producers and workers in developing countries. Fair Trade focuses on “Three Core Beliefs” to help producers in developing countries:

  • Producers have the power to express unity with consumers
  • Current world trade practices promote unequal distribution of wealth between nations
  • Buying products from producers in developing countries at a fair price is a more efficient way of promoting sustainable development than charity or aid.

Which Goods Need Fair Trade?

The U.S. Department of Labor lists some of the worst offenders of forced and child labor by product and country. There are many common items that are typically made with child labor or forced labor. Worse yet, many of these goods are created in unsafe working conditions. If bought from overseas, the following items are often made using unethical labor:

  • Accessories, especially handbags
  • Carpets
  • Chocolate
  • Clothing
  • Cocoa
  • Coffee
  • Coal
  • Cotton
  • Diamonds
  • Gold
  • Electronic Devices
  • Leather
  • Rice
  • Rubber
  • Tobacco
  • Sugarcane

Recently, stories of clothing and accessory factories have made the news with many popular brands accused of operating sweatshops.

How do you shop “Fair Trade”?

While there are certifiers, the movement is somewhat new and still defining its practices. So, the best way to shop “Fair Trade” is to do your own research. Get to know the people behind the companies and the workers that they employ. Instead of falling for slick marketing, you will likely need to communicate with a store owner or importer to understand how they source their goods. Then, you will get a better picture of how those items are produced and imported to America.

Fair Trade Alpaca Scarf
Handmade in Peru

What make Spearman Artisanry “A Fair Trade Boutique”?

Spearman Artisanry brings you handcrafted gifts from artisans both in the US and around the globe. Our goods are primarily fair trade or made locally to ensure that each piece matches our ethical and quality standards. In fact, the owner, Jannett Spearman sources all of the items in our shop directly from the artists.

Jannett started her career in Peru which included learning how to make jewelry by hand. Additionally, she worked alongside her husband and family as a part of various international ministries and nonprofits. Now, her jewelry business has expanded into a fair trade boutique.

Part of the mission of Spearman Artisanry is to support our artists, especially those in South America. By purchasing directly from artisans, and visiting them in person, Jannett can ensure the process by which the goods were produced. Mostly, these are family businesses where relatives work together to handmake homegoods, accessories and clothing.

Everything in Spearman Artisanry is…

  • Ethically Sourced: Jannett knows each of the artisans personally, allowing her to ensure they are treated fairly.
  • Fairly Priced: We want to share our artist’s work with as many people as possible and keeping fair prices allows us to reach more shoppers.
  • High Quality: We only sell items of the highest quality handmade by artists and artisans around the world.
  • Unique to You: All of our gifts bear a bespoke quality and many are one-of-a-kind.

If you want to know more about Fair Trade or how Spearman Artisanry sources our products, feel free to contact us. We’d love to talk to you more about how to be a thoughtful consumer. Stay in touch with us by following our Facebook page.

One thought on “Everything You Need to Know About Fair Trade

  1. […] To summarize, Fair Trade focuses on “Three Core Beliefs”: […]

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