Great Products, Better Lives

The de Young brings you the world—in our galleries you might see a ceremonial knife from Mexico made of obsidian and turquoise, or a coffin from Ghana carved in the shape of a cocoa pod. At the 4th annual Fair Trade Bazaar at the de Young on Friday, July 25 and Saturday, July 26, you’ll have the opportunity to purchase goods made by artisans from all over the globe—from the windswept deserts of Mauritania to the craggy peaks of the Andes. We spoke to a few of the participating vendors about what they appreciate about the museum, some products they’re particularly excited about, and how Fair Trade principles influence the way they do business.

Petel

Julie Wagne
co-founder and owner with Ibrahima Wagne
Petel

Q: What are some of your favorite aspects of participating in this event at the de Young?

A: Our most memorable experience at the previous Fair Trade Bazaar was the huge group of people with a deep appreciation and knowledge of the craft of hand-woven textiles. We’re honored to be a part of the event, and it’s been a wonderful outlet to find recognition for our business, and a great opportunity to meet other vendors running similar kinds of businesses in other parts of the world.

Q: Are there any particular pieces that you’re excited about this year?

A:  We sold quite a few bags; they’re practical and beautiful, and the accents are all made from locally-sourced leather. We had a variety of things and everything seemed to do well, but people really responded to the bags. We're also really excited to introduce limited edition, one-of-a-kind vintage textile pillows at this Fair Trade Bazaar.

Q: Can you tell us a little about what Fair Trade means to your business?

A:  It really means treating our artisans fairly, both locally and in Mauritania where we source our hand-woven textiles. All of our weavers are elderly men, and we hope they will continue their craft by training a younger generation of weavers. We’re also able to pay above-markets rates for all their textiles, and for custom work we can pay double what they would normally make.

 

Encanto

Alyson Collom
Operations manager
Encanto Jewels

Q: What are some of your favorite parts about participating in this event at the de Young?

A: I live in a very small town, and there’s not always a lot that goes on here. When I come to the de Young, there’s a ton of diversity, people of different ages and ethnicities, and a sense of culture that I don’t always find in Grass Valley. I love the museum, I love being a part of this event, and I love the people who help manage it!

Q: Are there any particular pieces that you’re excited about this year?

A: All of our jewelry is made from Tagua, a seed from a palm-like tree that grows in the rainforests of South America, but the Kayuna necklace is always a best seller. It’s sort of a retro, funky piece and it’s both striking and really easy to wear.

Q: Can you tell us a little about what Fair Trade means to your business?

A: Fair Trade is really the centerpiece of our business. We started with the aim of providing economic independence, both for ourselves and our suppliers, and it was important that we found a workshop that really took care of their employees. In everything we do, we look for that: everyone should be treated fairly. But it’s bigger than just money. The freedom and independence has had a significant effect on so many people’s lives.

 

Ruraq Maki

Amanda Smiles
Founder
Ruraq Maki

Q: What are some of your favorite parts about participating in this event at the de Young?

A: We’re really excited to meet customers who are actively looking for Fair Trade items. Often we find that customers aren’t aware of what Fair Trade really means and we love educating people and getting buyers excited about what we’re doing. It’s also exciting to work with a museum like the de Young, because many of these items can be viewed as both functional objects and beautiful pieces of art.

Q: Are there any particular pieces that you’re excited about this year?

A: I’m the founder of the company so I love everything we have! I’m excited though about work done by a group of women in Peru who do hand-embroidery with motifs and styles that are really different than others you see elsewhere in South and Central America. We’ve also been working with traditional weavers in the Andes, people who raise and shear the sheep themselves, collect the plants to make dyes, and do all their weaving on rustic looms. It’s a very traditional process and there’s been very little change, even with the advent of new technologies.

Q: Can you tell us a little about what Fair Trade means to your business?

A: One of the most important parts of our mission is educating and empowering our artisans about Fair Trade practices and pricing. Many of these artisans have tried to sell their goods in the past and found that they’re being taken advantage of, but Fair Trade gives them the skills and the feeling of agency that helps them to enter the global market without being exploited.  Artisans often want to sell their goods this way, and Fair Trade really helps to tap that opportunity.

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