Fair Trade Products
The Little Market seeks out handmade products that are meaningful for their beauty, as well as the change they create for the artisans who crafted them. While corporations and businesses have bottom lines that are in dollars and cents, The Little Market measures success by how many lives are improved or positively impacted through our work. We are proud to be a part of a fair trade community that shares our values.
Fair Trade is an approach to international trade centered around equitable partnerships, transparency and respect. It seeks to empower marginalized producers by providing them safe working conditions, fair pay, and a means to establish a sustainable business free from exploitation. As a member of the Fair Trade Federation, we are committed to the following principles:
Fair Trade Federation Principles
Create Opportunities for Economically and Socially Marginalized Producers
We help artisans living in rural and disadvantaged communities by providing them with a wider reach of customers beyond tourists and their local communities. The individual artisans we work with have experienced extreme poverty and hardships. For instance, they have survived homelessness, escaped domestic violence, or have physical disabilities in communities that discriminate. We focus on working with groups that are women-led and that primarily work with women. When selecting the groups we’d like to partner with, we ensure that they provide a safe and supportive environment.
Develop Transparent and Accountable Relationships
Through our artisan application and a thorough evaluation process, we ensure that we work with groups that are like-minded and that share our mission for and dedication to fair trade. Our artisan partners have similar goals and values, which creates a productive and empowering partnership.
With fair trade principles, producers become independent and are able to learn and enhance their skills. Many of our artisan partners provide training programs, such as job and skills training programs, which help individual artisans work toward a brighter future and to rise above the poverty line.
Promote Fair Trade
We aim to share our passion for fair trade with others, and we use multiple platforms, such as our website and social media accounts, to do so. We are committed to educating others about the meaning and power behind fair trade and its benefits, such as an improvement in education, health, and the environment. We encourage conscious shopping by thinking thoughtfully about each purchase.
Pay Promptly and Fairly
Fair trade principles allow producers, such as our artisan partners, to set their prices based on the true costs of labor, time, materials, sustainable growth, and other relevant factors. We make sure to comply with and/or exceed the local, national, international, and fair trade minimum standards to make sure the artisans we work with are paid on a prompt and fair basis. Many retailers work on a consignment basis in which artisans are only paid if their product sells. Every item available at The Little Market has been paid for in full.
Support Safe and Empowering Working Conditions
We choose to work with artisan partners that provide supportive and safe working conditions for the individual artisans. Many of the female artisans we work with are able to work from their homes, meaning they can earn a sustainable income while taking care of their families at home. The social enterprises and co-ops we work with often provide training programs, resources, and safe tools for the individual artisans.
Ensure the Rights of Children
Empowering women and children is a core part of The Little Market’s mission. In fact, when Lauren and Hannah started to develop the idea behind The Little Market, they met with nonprofits in Africa that focus on women and children. We support the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child, and we do not condone child trafficking and exploitative child labor.
Cultivate Environmental Stewardship
We strive to offer environmentally friendly products that are made from materials such as repurposed or recycled materials. For instance, our huipil products are repurposed from the traditional blouse of Mayan women, and our glassware is made using our recycled glassware. Our Senegalese baskets are made using recycled plastic. Our iringa baskets are made using locally grown and locally available reed grass.
Respect Cultural Identity
We take pride in the fact that the handmade products we carry preserve cultural and traditional techniques. We feel that this is part of what makes these products so special. Each product we carry has a story behind it, and a particular technique is followed to make each fair trade good. We love sharing the stories behind our products with our audience.
To learn more about the Fair Trade Federation and the fair trade principles, please visit the Fair Trade Federation’s website. We take pride in our membership and are dedicated to these important fair trade principles.