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What is Fair Trade?

The long-standing image of business in popular culture is that of one small business owner gradually climbing his (and it is always “his”) way to the top, where he is then the owner of a large business that has significant impact on his employees, his customers and his community. However, an integral part of this image is missing—the producers of this business remain behind the scenes, and usually only come to mind as an afterthought. Producers commonly reside in developing or underdeveloped countries, and are criminally underpaid for their work.

woman artisan weaving fabric in India

Jamdani weaver making one of Sevya’s fair trade scarves

Fair trade is a social movement that ensures one very simple thing: that producers and workers are paid fair prices for their product and labor. The movement strives to dispel the current air of the commercial market system, where profits are divided between numerous intermediaries. With fair trade, producers are prepaid for their services, and prices and payment terms are determined by an assessment of all economic, social and environmental factors, not simply by current market conditions. In addition to fair wages, sellers commit to a long-term trading partnership, as opposed to anonymous labor for an indeterminate period of time.

micro-finance with women in India

Women’s micro-finance group in India

The fair trade movement invests not only in the monetary well-being of workers, but the well-being of their communities as well. Fair trade devotes time and money in social programs to help improve the conditions of workers in developing countries, through education, health care, fighting poverty, improving the lives of women and children, and building a sustainable business while providing viable and marketable skills.

Sevya works with cooperatives and non-profit organizations throughout India to keep artisan traditions alive and sustainable. We are also dedicated to using organic natural dyes, helping to reduce the impact of chemical byproducts in the environment, as well as using ethically produced materials.

Fair trade blue cotton tunic

Sevya’s Asanga blue tunic is a bestseller

Our fair trade clothing, accessories and home furnishings are all handmade, using traditional crafts of block-printing, tie-dye, handloom and embroidery. Sevya’s products use 100% natural cotton, silk and wool, and incorporate artistic traditions that stem from indigenous cultures.

By buying retail and wholesale fair trade products, you help to:

  • Preserve Indigenous Cultures
  • Support Traditional Artisan Communities
  • Invest in Community-Based Development Programs
  • Safeguard Natural Resources
  • Protect the Earth from Exploitation & Pollution
Fair trade silk infinity scarf

Sevya’s Kalinda copper silk infinity scarf

Each purchase of a fair trade product directly benefits the producers and their communities, and contributes towards making the global economy more equitable and sustainable.