Skip to content

Spread the Holiday Cheer by Buying Fair Trade Gifts

As we get closer to the holiday season here in America, it is a good opportunity for us to reflect on the choices we make when we select gifts for spreading holiday cheer. Purchasing fair trade gifts helps to spread that cheer far beyond the confines of our own country, and makes a very tangible difference in the lives of artisans in developing countries throughout the world.

Fair Trade Artisan in India

Embroidery Artisan Making a Bedspread for Sevya

When we choose to purchase a beautiful handmade, fair trade gift item, we are choosing to invest in a more sustainable and healthy international system of trade; we are choosing to invest in people, in their creativity, and in their human dignity.  In sharing these beautiful gifts with those we love, we are helping to spread a deeper understanding of global connectivity based on caring for one another and for our environment.

According to the Fair Trade Federation, “Fair trade is an approach to business and to development based on dialogue, transparency, and respect that seeks to create greater equity in the international trading system.” Fair Trade companies and organizations work directly with artisans and farmers in developing countries to market their goods in the global arena.  Fair Trade is about building and maintaining relationships between producers and consumers, and bringing great handmade products to the market while following these fair trade principles:

  • Fair Trade means fair pay and working conditions for artisans and producers.

Fair Trade products are made in safe and healthy working conditions, where artisans receive a fair price and have a voice in how their workplace is run. Rather than migrating to urban slums to work in factories, these artisans are able to stay with their families in their native villages, keeping their culture and communities intact.

  • Fair Trade means sustainable local economies.

Fair Trade gives farmers and artisans control of their own future. They can build their own businesses, rather than working for a middleman, and the profits stay in their communities and go back into their businesses.

  • Fair Trade is better for the environment.

Fair Trade supports sustainable practices that minimize our environmental footprint. Most large-scale commercial production creates massive pollution issues for developing countries. Fair Trade companies like Sevya work hard to invest in traditional methods of production that reduce the amount of toxic chemicals in the environment. A good example of this is reviving the traditions of using organic natural dyes, which helps to reduce the impact of chemical byproducts in the environment, and in the garments that we wear.

Herbal Dyes from India

Turmeric is a Medicinal Herbal Dye used for Golden Color on Cotton Fabric

  • Fair Trade means higher quality goods.

Sevya Artisans take pride in their work. The artisans use methods, techniques and knowledge that date back thousands of years. Fair Trade products are handmade, which translates into closer attention to detail and higher-quality products. You will recognize this superior quality when you examine any of the beautiful handmade scarves, jewelry and fair trade clothing in Sevya’s collection.

  • Fair Trade is safe.

Fair Trade actively promotes integrated farm management systems that improve soil fertility and preserve valuable ecosystems, and limit the use of harmful agrochemicals that present dangers to farmers’ health. That means organically grown cotton and naturally cultivated silk are used in the creation of our many textile products.

  • Fair Trade supports communities.

By working through cooperative structures, Fair Trade artisans and small farmers are able to invest Fair Trade earnings in their communities, improving housing, healthcare, and schools. Sevya artisans are part of cooperatives and non-profit organizations and most often, the entire village is involved in some aspect of the craft–from dyeing the yarn to setting the loom, weaving and hand tasseling the scarf.

  • Fair Trade is trade artisans can count on.

Fair Trade is committed to strengthening direct partnerships between buyers and producers. These partnerships provide an avenue for buyers to purchase quality products from people they trust, and offer a sustainable and reliable way for farmers, artisans and their families to improve their livelihood. Every purchase of a Sevya product directly benefits these artisan groups and enables them to pass their rich traditions on to the next generation.

  • Fair Trade connects you with other cultures.

Fair Trade products are unique to the places they come from and the people who make them. Art forms such as hand weaving, hand embroidery, block printing, and tie-dye have unique designs and techniques in each region, and the Fair Trade products reflect the people, their culture, and their local environment.

  • Fair Trade means what you buy matters.

By choosing Fair Trade products, you are not only accessing high quality products, you are making a difference in the lives of the people who grow the food you eat and the goods you use. Fair Trade empowers over 1.3 million people around the world, about 30 percent of whom are women.

Microfinance and Women in India

Women’s Self Help Group in Jharkhand India

When you choose to buy Fair Trade products, you become part of the change you want to see in the world.  As the concept of Fair Trade grows, we will see a dynamic shift in our societies, with people everywhere being treated with dignity and respect, and being paid a fair wage for their labors and artistic abilities. The cycle of poverty can be broken through the application of Fair Trade principles, and every purchase of a Fair Trade Gift helps to spread true holiday cheer around the world.