The Most Extensive Collection of Fair Trade Goods in Chicagoland
According to the Chicago Fair Trade Organization
What is Fair Trade?
Fair Trade provides a sustainable market for handcrafted products made by artisans around the world. It gives artisans who would otherwise be under- or unemployed the opportunity to earn necessary income. In this way it provides families with food, housing, and clothing. The artisans are paid a fair price to cover costs of materials and provide compensation for their labor and skill.
Here is a sampling of some of the vendors you'll find in The Little Traveler's Fair Trade Gallery:
Ten Thousand Villages
A not-for-profit organization that builds long-term relationships in areas where skilled artisans lack the opportunity for sustainable income.
Beautiful and incredibly soft stuffed animals made with recycled Alpaca fur by an artisan from the Peruvian highlands. Your purchase helps families earn economic independence, social well-being, and self-esteem.
Helps Ugandan women to lift their families out of extreme poverty by bringing their vibrant beaded jewelry to sustainable markets.
Ayindisa Fair Trade Baskets
Brings the traditional basket weaving craft of African villagers to the US. Provides sustainable employment to marginalized communities.
Silk Road Bazaar
A collection of fine, handmade products from Krygystan and Central Asia. These areas have traditionally had limited market access.
Shares the beauty of Guatemala's art and culture. Makes a difference in the lives of the Mayan artisans and their families.
Level Ground Coffees
Level Ground Coffee's mission is to trade fairly and directly with small-scale producers in developing countries, offering customers ethical choices.
Rishi is committed to providing the highest quality teas, and that starts with tea leaves grown by farmers who care. Rishi imports tea produced by Fair Trade projects in underdeveloped areas of China, India, and Egypt.
Swahili African Modern
Swahili African Modern operates from a small warehouse in the Pacific Northwest, but its network spans the globe. Founded over 20 years ago by Leslie Mittelberg, the company develops long-term relationships and handcrafted products directly with artisans in Africa. Working in Africa presents challenges, but Swahili African Modern thrives on creative problem solving as well as inspired design. These gorgeous baskets are environmentally responsible, made with sustainable and recycled materials.
Wool Handbags from Jenny Krauss are hand woven on simple looms and embroidered by Peruvian artisans in time-tested tradition.
Mata garments and accessories re made by women's cooperatives in India and Nepal. Mata purchases directly benefit the women and their families. The co-ops provide training, fair wages, and supportive benefits like healthcare and child care, literacy classes and financial education. Mata believes that empowering women is the key to ending global poverty.
The Elephant Pants
A portion of proceeds from these fashion-forward Boho Palazzo Pants supports the African Wildlife Foundation and other organizations that protect elephants from poaching.
Wall art by Haitian metal artists in Croix-des-Bouquets. Haitian metal art dates back to the 1950s when a patron of Haitian arts was intrigued by iron crosses marking above-ground tombs in Haiti. He discovered the blacksmith who'd fashioned the crosses. Since then, the art of metal crafting has been handed down though family and mentors. Many supplies arrive in Haiti in steel oil drums, providing a ready supply of materials to be re-purposed into these stunning pieces of art.
The result of the lifelong friendship of two loyal Chicagoans. The two women love traveling, social responsibility, and beautiful jewelry. They were enchanted by Bali and were inspired to turn their passions into a business. Sandpiper Imports brings unique .925 sterling silver jewelry handcrafted by artisans in Bali to our Fair Trade Gallery.
Shona stone sculptures continue to be the company’s flagship product, but Venture Imports has expanded to bring other exciting items from developing nations to North American markets, like recycled glass jewelry from Kenya.
Minga Fair Trade Imports
Features beautiful jewelry and accessories by artisans in Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Columbia.
Pampeana Glass Art and Living Tree
This company strives to provide opportunities for individuals with low educational and economical resources—around the world and in the U.S. Pampeana focuses on use of recycled and renewable products, so their lovely fused glass nightlights, tagua belts, wooden animal pens, and wavy glass art are good for the environment too.
in India. Using recycled metal containers, each candle is hand-poured in small batches using a natural soy wax blend that burns evenly, leaving the room beautifully scented.
World Finds' mission is to make a difference in the world with ethical fashion by providing work, not charity. Jewelry, scarves, ornaments, etc. by artisans from India, Indonesia, and Nepal.
Lumily (formerly aMano Fair Trade)
partners with over 150 Mayan and Hmong women artisans in Guatemala, Mexico, and Northern Thailand. Ancient cultural traditions combine with contemporary designs in these gorgeous handmade products. The colorful purses you’ll find in our gallery this spring are crafted by Hmong women in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Beyond Sustainable Income
Sustainability doesn't just apply to market opportunities. The Silk Road Bazaar, for example, works with artisans to help them develop management techniques and teach computer skills. In addition to providing entrepreneurial training, BeadforLife sponsors bright, impoverished girls for secondary school. The group also collaborates with groups that provide health education, clean water, and malaria prevention. aMano not only provides opportunities for the artisans but also supports the communities in which they live by funding such things as tuition, books, medical procedures & food drives. In addition, Fair Trade organizations encourage environmental responsibility through use of recycled materials and sustainable processes.
Please share some of your favorite Fair Trade items with us on our Pinterest Board.