I’m Brandi and I am an Ambassador with Noonday Collection and I blog over at the fair trade fashionistas. This Saturday, May 11, is World Fair Trade Day, so I asked Vend Raleigh if I could guest post about fair trade. It’s my passion – my crazy thing. And the great news? It’s becoming more and more a “hot topic.” The not so great news? Things like building collapses in India, will garner some attention (and I pray, public outcry).
Are you wondering “What is Fair Trade?”
“Fair Trade is a global trade model that allows shoppers to quickly identify products that were produced in an ethical manner. For consumers, Fair Trade offers a powerful way to reduce poverty through their everyday shopping. For farmers and workers in developing countries, Fair Trade offers better prices, improved terms of trade, and the business skills necessary to produce high-quality products that can compete in the global marketplace.” – Fair Trade USA
The concept of fair trade has been around for decades. There are books, stores, blogs, jewelry, clothing, COFFEE AND CHOCOLATE… (bet those last four got your attention). But here’s what I want you to know about fair trade: purchasing with purpose, changing your standards, and making even small changes in your daily purchases can change the world!
People are literally dying for the fast fashion, cheap prices, and overconsumption we demand. It’s also killing our environment. I read somewhere that China’s rivers and waterways are every color under the sun because of all the dyes that are being used in their garment industry. I don’t know how to even process that workers are dying from fires in factories, or of the 600+ who died in the total collapse of the factory in India a couple weeks ago. And these accidents are not innocent. They are happening because too many corners are being cut. Please hear me: there is nothing wrong with trying to save money. I strongly advocate for good stewardship of finances. The problem is when we try to save money at the expense of someone else.
Yes, I know I can get a little intense. Like I said at the onset, this is my passion… Here’s my point and hope, I read a crazy-good book last year “7” by Jen Hatmaker, where she stated the following: ”What if all my silly little individual purchases do matter? What if I joined a different movement, one that was less enticed by luxuries and more interested in justice? What if I believed every dollar spent is vital, a potential soldier in the war on inequality?” I took it as a challenge, and I want you to do the same. Because we, with our “first world problems,” can do some things differently and help alleviate these mostly third world issues. I want you to think big, but START SMALL. Your first foray into fair trade may be picking up a fair trade bag of coffee – even Wal-Mart has it. I really love Target’s Archer Farms Organic Fair Trade Tierra Del Sol coffee. And it’s about the same price as the other bagged coffee. While drinking that good cup of fair trade coffee, crack a book! I’m an avid reader and am not sure where to start with this. I love Don Miller’s A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, even though it has nothing to do with fair trade. It’s about living a better story. Or see 7 above. I can’t forget Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunns Half the Sky. And, for the love, when you decide to go shopping for clothes, jewelry, shoes, hats, or even makeup, come check my blog and see if there are any suggestions there for shopping fair trade. I’ve spent a small fortune on “research” for it and it pleases me, and especially my budget-conscious husband, to no end if people get something out of it.
And last, but not least, what can you do to celebrate World Fair Trade Day this weekend? You can shop my Noonday Collection website or contact me about hosting a trunk show. Noonday is what got me on this fair trade path in the first place. Visit your local Whole Foods grocery store. They have lots of fair trade products! Ten Thousand Villages in both Raleigh and Chapel Hill have some events happening. It’d be a great opportunity to check out more fair trade products.
I hope this encourages and empowers you to start raising your standard of living to fair trade standards. By raising our standards, we’ll help raise the rest of the world’s too.