Every time I start to think about shopping for something, I always start looking at the main shopping sites and I always look for the best deal. But what is the sacrifice of buying something at the lowest cost possible? I’m already quite aware of the existence of slave labor and how companies do whatever possible to maximize their profit (even at the expense of the quality of life of actual human beings). I realize that just because something is handmade, doesn’t make it socially responsible. And I realize that especially now with much of our shopping done through a computer screen, we are even more disconnected with where our products come from. So, I wanted to put together a Fair Trade Shopping Guide for myself and you.
My fair trade shopping guide includes a variety of shops that include homewares, clothing, travel gear, etc. But, I wanted to hone in on home goods specifically because this seems to be an area where people are most in the dark. We eat our cruelty free snacks while wearing our pact apparel all while shopping for goods that promote the use of slave labor (or labor quite comprable). Just because a shop is paying their employees, doesn’t mean they’re paying them fairly/ giving them fair work hours/ being conscious of the effects of their facilities on these people’s land/ giving them a clean and safe environment to work in.
I have a lot of fun decorating my home. I really love looking at pretty interiors. I don’t think I’d be living a content, fulfilled life if I got rid of all my decor. But I do realize the effects of my actions. I know my heart wants to do the right thing, but my brain wants the best deal. I’ve tried to strike a balance. And I hope you try to work in some fair trade goods in your purchases, too.
If you have an appreciation for global goods, this is the culturally appreciative way of enjoying them.
Viva Terra – Fair trade, Handmade, Recycled, All Natural Made In USA, Responsibly Sourced Wood
Viva Terra values human and environmental well being (read more about their values in their own words here). Their main focus is green living, but they recognize that part of green living is fair trade so it’s engraved in their mission. With practices like sourcing recycled and reclaimed materials to shorten their carbon footprint and promoting local artisans for their reduced transportation requirements, Viva Terra shows that fair trade truly is a global good.
What can you shop at Viva Terra?
Home Accents– vases, clocks, shelves, pillows, rugs, tabletop decor, wall decor, candles, frames, statues, lighting, tables, trays, poufs, baskets, storage… if you haven’t gathered, they have a very extensive catalog of accents for the home.
Holiday Accents– candle holders, ornaments, twinkle lights, pillows, table runners, garland, vases, stockings, tabletop decor.. Essentially everything you’d need minus the tree.
Wreaths– seasonal and year round wreaths, flower bulb delivery (one-time and monthly)
Lighting– pendants, tabletop, hard-wired, plug-in, twinkle lights, himalayan salt lamps, lanterns, floor lamps, nightlights, candle holders,
Zen Style– candle holders, statues, poufs, tables, chairs, wall art, dinnerware, towels, bells, decor, pillows, wind chime, beds, fire pit
Kitchen & Dining– dinnerware, tabletop decor, drinkware, flatware, table runners, placemats, coasters, trays, cheeseboards, barware, cookware, utensils, storage
Furniture– sofas, chairs, dining chairs and tables, console tables, chests, coffee tables, accent tables, beds, shelving, bookcases, dressers, nightstands, desks
As you can see, Viva Terra is massive and well established with goods for every inch of the home. You could very well buy exclusively at Viva Terra should you want to and if you like the selection for the need you have.
Mayamiko – Fair Trade, Sustainable Practices, Community Building Initiatives
Mostly a fashion boutique, Mayamiko has a smaller home goods selection but they’re not without an awesome story. That story includes providing nutritious meals, education, women’s sanitary supplies, regularly fairly paid and scheduled work, training and the list goes on and on. They are their own supplier, so the website you shop at is the brand you’ll receive. Read more about Mayamiko’ principals here.
What can you shop at Mayamiko?
Home & Gifts– soaps, tassels, totes, pillows
Global Goods Partners – Fair Trade, Non-Profit, Women Empowering, Handcrafted
This is kind of a jack of all trades site where you can get fashion, toys, gifts and home goods. They’re a non profit which is especially exciting to see. Their focus is on empowering women especially since they’re disproportionaly disadvantaged especially when looking at countries without strict systems in place. Global Goods Partners is the platform, voice and policing agency (they ensure the workers are treated fairly as there is no universal accreditation for Fair Trade home goods) for these artisans, social enterprises and community-based organizations.
What can you shop at Global Goods Partners?
Home– baskets, bowls, trays, canisters, felt flowers and plants, vases, hooks, candles, storage
Office– trays, journals
Kitchen/Dining– cups, trays, utensil holder, coasters
Gifts– bags, journals, candles, jewelry, scarves, baskets
Novica – Fair Trade, World Wide Reach, Artisan Made with local materials
This is a huge resource for buying fair trade goods. With an investor like National Geographic and many others, they are able to have artisans in countries all over the world and provide them with 0% interest loans to obtain the materials needed to create their goods. Each item shares the story of the artisan behind the good. There are fashion and jewelry sections on the website, which is nice to see, but there’s an extensive gift and home decor section, too. They are established and have been for many years. You can even shop Novica goods on Amazon.
What can you shop at Novica?
Sculptures – wood, ceramic, cultural, recycled metal, romantic and abstract
Home Accents – pillows, throws, musical instruments, vases, decorative boxes, chess sets and games, decorative accessories
Lighting – table lamps, wall sconces, ceramic lamps, candle holders, wood lamps, incense and oil burners
Masks – African, Balinese, Brazilian, Peruvian, wood and ceramic
Area Rugs – 2×3, 3×5, 4×6, 5×6, runners, zapotec
Furniture – accent tables, leather furniture, coffee tables, wood furniture, ottomans, chairs
Tableware – drinkware, dinnerware, serveware, table linens, kitchen accessories, barware
Wall Decor – mirrors, wall hanging, wall art, tapestries, relief panels, paintings
Jewelry Boxes – reserve painted glass, leather, floral, soapstone, marble inlay
Hammocks – rope, fabric, mayan, portable, hammock stands
Outdoor – garden decor, bird houses, wind chimes, welcome signs, outdoor furniture, recreation
Holiday – ornaments, cards, wrapping paper, tree skirts, stockings, nativity scenes, decor
You can even shopped themed collections, like bohemian!
Fair Trade Winds – Fair Trade, Empowering Women, Eco-Friendly, Anti Sex Trafficking Measures
What started as selling fair trade chocolates and coffee through their church, it stemmed into a comprehensive selection of fair trade goods including fashion, jewelry and home. They work with artisan wholesalers to bring a selection of fairly traded artisan made goods. They have symbols on the goods which represent women empowerment, traditional craft, use of sustainable materials, fights human trafficking, and children protection. They also have a really good guide to deciphering fair trade labels that I suggest you read. They also have food on their site, too!
What can you shop at Fair Trade Winds?
Kitchen & Dining – table runners, pot holders, oven mits, towels, aprons, trivets, napkins, placemats, salad servers, bowls, infused oils, pitchers, mugs, drinking glasses, bread warmers, salt and pepper shakers, coffee bar art, coasters
Home Goods – Pillows, throw blankets, dream catchers, desk accessories, felt decor, garland, boxes, lamps, paper lanterns, quilts, recycled can figurines, wall art, banners, hooks, knobs
Garden & Patio – birdhouses, hammocks, tota, lanterns, wreaths
They also have a section labelled bohemian style with jewelry, fashion and home goods
One World Fair Trade – Fair Trade Federation member, Green America Certified Business
Aiming to make a genuine difference in the individual lives of artisans and their communities. The site has a section to learn about the artisans, the goods made and where they’re made with pictures. They value equality and have a clear commitment statement on their our story page that encompasses social, economic and environment responsibility.
What can you shop at One World Fair Trade?
Decor – nativity Scenes, Sculptures, soap dishes, coin boxes, soda can cars, eyeglass holder, picture frames, candle holders, wall art, bowls, stone hearts, boxes, textile hangers
Kitchen – bowls, wine glasses, serving spoons, tea pots, mugs, trivet, colander, cheese plate, bread warmer, salt and pepper shakers, oven mits, pot holders, spice containers and bowls, napkins
Outdoor/Patio/Garden – wreath, sculptures, garland, yard ornaments, birdhouses, chimes, disks, rain chain, candle holders, prayer flags
Baskets/Bowls – decorative and utilitarian
Servv – Fair Trade, Handmade, Non-Profit
Goods from 25 countries and 55 artisan/farmer organizations/cooperatives brings you a large selection of fashion, gift and home goods. They have a really cool system in place that sets aside 2.5% of every sale for employees’ children education, personal development and HIV/AIDS classes. They’re also a founder of the World Fair Trade Organization and Fair Trade Federation. That’s a lot of good going into the world for goods.
What can you shop at Servv?
Home Accents – platters, bowls, figurines, vases, tabletop chests, lanterns, candle holders, trays
Baskets – decorative, handled, storage
Home Textiles – bedding, throws, pillows, rugs
Wall Art – crosses, hooks, wall decoration
Office – boxes, banks, frames, chimes, paperweight, trays, bookends, magnifying glass
Fun & Games – chess, labyrinth, puzzles, drums
Furniture – stools, tables
Kitchen -trivets, trays, breadwarmers, tools, mugs, teapots, linens, serveware, ceramics, acacia wood
Gifts – gift baskets, hostess gifts, housewarming, stocking stuffers, green gifts, gifts for guys
The Little Market – Non Profit founded by Women, Members of the Fair Trade Federation and the Alliance for Artisan Enterprise
One of the founders in Lauren Conrad which I found pretty interesting and I love that a woman duo founded the company. They are a non profit as all profits are directed towards buying more products and working with more artisans. The company provides design advice so that the traditional techniques of these artisans can be made to appeal to a buying audience. Meet the artisans here.
What can you shop at The Little Market?
Baskets – laundry baskets, lidded baskets, floor baskets, market baskets, planters, trash bins
Boxes – gift boxes, ceramic boxes, wood boxes, hand painted boxes
Trays – ceramic, metal, woven
Blankets – serape, kantha, hand blocked, frazadas, striped guatemalan
Throws – fringe, kantha, mudcloth
Towels – bath, hand, beach
Decor – glass jars, frames, shelf decor, frazada rugs, woven bowls
Furniture – benches and stools
Vases – ceramic, woven, glass
Wall Decor – woven bowls, wall hangings, pom pom garland
Worthy Village – Non Profit, Fair Trade
This one is unique in that it’s specifically focused on one country, Guatemala. With a focus so tight, it’s easy for them to direct surplus funds to education and healthcare initiatives, truly uplifting the locals out of poverty. They work with over 60 women in the Lake Atitlan and Totonicapan areas. You can buy goods (mostly fashion) and that will in turn help their mission, but you can also sponsor a family and go on a volunteer trip.
What can you shop at Worthy Village?
Fair Trade Decor – Fair Trade Federation certified
Family owned company with a physical store in Del Mar, CA. They carry goods from over 40 counties around the world bringing you an expansive collection of artisanal goods. Both the business and all the goods it carries are certified fair trade. They bring the world to an online marketplace while also building community in their own neighborhood.
What can you shop at Fair Trade Decor?
Bedding & Bath – blankets, pillows, brush, hampers
Dining – dinnerware, drinkware, napkins, napkin rings, serveware, placemats, runners
Home Furnishings – vases, bread warmers, sculptures, paperweights, candle holder, wreath, chimes, baskets, rugs, wall decor, clocks, chests, garland
Society B (BADALA Collection) – 10% of sales go to charity
Goods come from different brands. Not all of the site is fair trade. The BADALA collection is fair trade and has home goods though, so that’s what we will focus on. Society B likes to focus on good doing, and part of their action for that is by donating 10% of every sale (not just the profit)
What can you shop from Society B BADALA collection?
Kitchen Goods – bowls, trays, napkins, spoon rest, utensils, mortar and pestel, cheeseboard, utensil holder
Enrou – Socially Conscious Goods
Aesthetically curated artisan made goods. They carry 47 brands and employ over 7,000 people. The partnership firstly empowers a person with work and job training, and secondly provides health education, financial coaching and women empowerment programs.
What can you shop from Enrou?
Bed & Bath – pillows, frames
Kitchen & Dining – wine holder, cups, trays, bowls, salad tongs, bottle opener, towels, table runner
Gifts – planter, stationary
Arts Crafts Shop – Fair Trade, based out of Alberta Canada
This one is simple, they offer fair trade goods and they’re based out of Alberta, Canada.
What can you shop at Arts Crafts Shop?
Home Decor – pillows, sculptures, textiles, boxes, baskets, frames
Homewares – cups, plates, bowls, placemats, mugs, utensil
Bambeco – Recently joined with Viva Terra, Fair Trade, Clean Water, Forest Preservation
With every purchase, Bambeco plants a tree in an American Forest. The company is aiming to be carbon neutral by 2020. Obviously, they have a very strong focus on earth-friendly goods while also keeping fair trade as a core value.
What can you shop at Bambeco?
Home Accents – pillow covers, vases, candle holders, coasters
Furniture – benches, stools, armchair
Kitchen & Dining – bakeware, drinkware, cutting boards, serveware, coasters, plates, mugs, bowls, wine rack, forks/spoons/knives
Bed & Bath – bath mat, brush, shower curtain
Patio – bird feeder, planters, birdhouses
Ten Thousand Villages – Fair Trade, Non Profit, World Fair Trade Ornagization, Fair Trade Federation member
Feel good about purchasing home goods, and an extensive selection of home goods at that. Artisans use skills that have been part of their culture for countless generations while having a global platform to sell those goods to. Makers earn fair wages allowing them quality of life and education that is uncommon for many parts of the world.
What can you shop at Ten Thousand Villages?
Kitchen & Dining – bar tools, napkins, tablecloth, napkin rings, mugs, glasses, serveware, fruit baskets, chopsticks, sea sets, trays
Home Decor – puzzles, pillows, boxes, frames, bedding, key hooks, fireplace screen, table, rugs, vases, tables, throws
Wall Decor – wall hangings, mirrors, wall decor
Outdoor – planters, hammocks, chimes, birdhouses, fountains, grow bags
Green Fibres – Organic
Renewable sources and ethical practices are at the core of this brand. Their about shows these two values at the forefront. Fair wages for everyone involved in the process and natural and organic materials wherever available. The company is UK based.
What can you shop at Green Fibres?
Kitchen – cleanings supplies, towels, sponges
Bathroom – bath mats, towels
Bedroom – sheets, pillows, duvets, mattress covers, blankets
Rawganique – Vegan, Ethically Made, Sustainable, Organic
Focused on purely good products without chemicals, slave labor or animal cruelty. Peace of mind for vegans who are looking for home goods without animal products.
What can you shop at Rawganique?
Bed – sheets, mattress toppers, comforters, blankets, pillows
Bath – towels, bath mats, shower curtains
Living Room – curtains, blinds, rugs, carpets
Kitchen – oven mitts, aprons, scrubbers, placemats, napkin
All of the products are fair trade but you can find additional labels for handmade, sustainable and recycled goods. They are focused more on goods for the home which is a great contrast to the ones that are more fashion focused with a small home goods section. There is also a meet the makers page and I love seeing that on fair trade websites because it helps better tie the whole story together.
What can you shop at The Dharma Door USA?
Baskets & Storage – sacks, bowls, baskets, laundry basket
Homewares – bowls, bunting, towels
At the end of the day, we are all human and we all have to share this earth. We should be kinder to one another, because it could be you on the other end of that purchase. And you’d want to eat and be clothed and be healthy.