Do you remember when I became obsessed with only buying fair trade items?
Dan does. It was the year I told him exactly what I wanted for Mother’s Day but said I only wanted it if he could find it made of recycled glass by people in fair working conditions or previously-owned. He spent hours with the kids in an antique store finding me the perfect glass pitcher. I bought him a bathrobe and called the company to verify the working conditions of the textile workers. I wanted to know they had air conditioning, a fair wage.
Yeah. We got tired and lazy and we just started buying stuff again, trying not to think about where it came from or how it was made. But I still think about it, a bit. It just takes work to know what you’re buying.
That’s why I love Novica. It’s a website that partners with National Geographic to bring fair trade items from artisans around the world to consumers worldwide. Each of the items offered for sale comes with an artist bio and information about where and how it’s made. You can view these profiles online as you’re browsing and feel secure that you’re helping small businesses flourish, often in impoverished countries.
Novica also partners with Kiva.org to provide microcredit loans to their artisans, allowing them to start or grow businesses, employ others, and preserve ancient artistic techniques. You can offer a zero interest loan to an artisan through their website.
To give me an experience to blog about, Novica offered me a $150 gift card, which I spent $75 of and I’m giving the other $75 to you.
There are a ton of great products to choose from. It took me days, and sadly, by the time I made my mind up, the item I wanted had sold. I’ll have to check back later. Stock varies from day to day as artists sell out and get back to work creating. So, if you find something you love, snatch it up right away. It’s a great way to buy gifts and feel good about what you’re purchasing.
I went with this great Ica Traveler cotton handbag with leather accents. It is big enough without being enormous and has great organization with pen holders, cell phone pocket and two zipper pockets. It’s really pretty and well-made and I’m enjoying carrying it around.
It came quickly, considering it made its journey all the way from the Andes in Peru. When I placed my order, the website was glitching so I called the number on the screen and they completed my purchase over the phone.
Leave a comment if you love shopping fair trade and want to do it for free. I’ll use a random number generator to choose a winner at 10pm PST on Thursday, April 3rd, 2014. Good luck!