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Blog - fair trade

The Impact of Buying Fair Trade

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Fair Anita products are made fair trade by women in 16 countries. Learn why this matters.

At Fair Anita, we strive to create beautiful products that you love to wear-- pretty pieces that can add a little-something-extra to any outfit. Because our customers are usually shopping with style and price point in mind first, often times the fact that our products are all made fair trade can be missed. 

We are glad you love the style and pricing of our Fair Anita products :) We want to share the impact of fair trade with you, so you can love that aspect, too!

Fair Anita is a member of the Fair Trade Federation.  This means that our work has been reviewed by an outside board and unbiased organization to make sure we follow fair trade standards and are running an ethical business.  There are 9 principles of fair trade, and all are really important, but here are some of the highlights that we've already seen create real impact for artisans. 

Principle #1: Create Opportunities for Economically and Socially Marginalized Producers

This principle is often an overlooked aspect of fair trade.  Selling beautiful, handmade products is not just about paying artisans a fair price and exporting their products, but it's about seeking out artisans that wouldn't otherwise have that opportunity.  Our new artisan partners in Chimbote, Peru are a great example of this.  This group of 10 women is tremendously talented, but because they live in one of the largest, poorest cities in the world, their products largely go unsold. Chimbote is a difficult city to export from, and they don't have easy access to raw materials to create products, so it's not the easiest situation to work with, but we make it work!  In a city with 80% unemployment rate, these women are living with physical disabilities and struggle to find other work.  Working with them to create beautiful designs that our customers love has been such an honor-- and being part of the team that got to give these women their first pay checks was one of the greatest privileges. Fair trade isn't just about paying fairly-- it's about who you're paying, too.

Principle #3: Build Capacity

In Taxco, Mexico, we're working with a group of 16 talented women to create sterling silver and alpaca silver jewelry. (Some of these ladies are pictured above). Very few women do this work-- it has to be like 98% men globally that are making precious metal jewelry.  It took us a long time to find this women's cooperative, but we're so glad we did!  They know how to make jewelry from sterling silver, having often learned from their fathers, but as they don't regularly have work, they don't have the capital needed to purchase the raw sterling silver, nor do they have the tools to work with it.  They were making jewelry from cheap metals, as it's what they were able to get their hands on, but because of this, their earning potential was significantly less.  As a fair trade organization committed to building artisans' capacity, we purchased sterling silver soldering materials for this group, so they're able to work with higher quality metals. We also pay them upfront, so they have the money needed to purchase the raw materials, as well as pay themselves while they're working on our big orders.  This capacity-building allows the group to expand their offering of products and earn significantly more.  Now, we're proud to sell sterling silver products made by one of the only women's metal-working cooperatives in Mexico!

Principle #5: Pay Promptly and Fairly

This principle is what fair trade is best-known for: paying fair wages to artisans. We also pay artisans when we first place the order, as opposed to after the order arrives with us, like more traditional retail models.  Of course, a fair wage and reliable income makes a huge difference in women's lives, and they reinvest this money back into their families and communities. Working with 8,000 women globally, we have many stories we could share, but I'll choose to focus on one woman: Ana.  Ana lives in Santiago, Chile, and she taught herself how to make metal jewelry after her physical disability left her time and time again without a job. Ana creates stunning pieces (like our Donna Cuff and Ana Drop Earrings), and she's long sold them on the streets of Santiago to passersby.  However, she wasn't selling many pieces, so her earnings were minimal.  The minimum wage in Chile is about $13.50 USD/day, and Ana wasn't earning this before she joined a fair trade partnership with us.  Now, when Ana is working on our orders, she earns up to $233 USD/day-- an enormous jump from before!  As we are the only exporters of Ana's products, we strive to place regular orders so she can rely on this daily income and hire additional women in her community. 

Principle #8: Cultivate Environmental Stewardship

Most of our jewelry is made from recycled metals. Our Ethiopia Collection is made from recycled bullet casings, our Chile Collection is made from recycled brass and copper, our Peru Collection is recycled sterling silver, and most pieces from our India Collection are made using recycled materials (apart from the chain... finding recycled chain is really difficult!).  But did you know that our clothing is made with eco-friendly materials as well?  Our Mexico Collection is made from eco-friendly rayon (a.k.a. recycled wood pulp), and our tees from India are made from 100% organic cotton.  Organic cotton not only means harmful pesticides are kept out of farmers' fields, but it also uses 71% less water and 62% less energy to create.  That's a big impact!

We have countless stories of how women's lives are impacted by fair trade, and you can always read more at www.fairanita.com/artisans We hope you keep these stories with you as you wear their beautiful creations! 

Remember: how you spend your money matters. Vote with your dollar and purchase with purpose!

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