Posts filed under ‘New products’

“Cloud 9” Fair Trade silver and Murano glass pendants

We don’t carry many glass products, partly because one of our closest downtown neighbors is a glass blower  (if you ever visit Springfield, aside from coming to Global Fayre, you should make sure to check out Terry and Gabe’s work at Springfield Hot Glass.

But when we saw these beautiful pendants, we just couldn’t resist.

Sterling silver and murano glass pendantThe maker is a woman from Coapango, Guerrero in southern Mexico, Guadalupe Ramos Rios. Our source, Tom Costello tells us that “As far back as the stories go, and as far back as Ms. Ramos Rios can remember, her parent’s parent’s parent’s were artisans who made dresses, shoes, chairs, flatware, jewelry, and other items for everyday use and for personal dress. I have worked with three generations of her family. Every pendant has six components. When the chain or necklace are counted, that makes seven. We christened them “Cloud 9″ because of there light, floating colors and designs.”

For the moment, we are selling them only in our store at 324 S Campbell, Springfield, MO – but in a few weeks we will add them to our online store.

They have arrived just in time for Valentines Day – and to celebrate, we are giving away a Fair Trade Rose with every purchase from Feb 10 to Feb 14.

February 9, 2011 at 00:59 Leave a comment

Shona Sculptures from Zimbabwe

We just delivery of our first piece of Shona Sculpture from our friends at Venture Imports.

Serpentine is the stone most commonly used by the Shona Carvers;  Shona ranges in hardness from 2.0 to 5.5 on “Mohs Scale of Hardness.” It has a huge range of color variations, but most pieces will have some brown, green or black in them.

Our first piece is this beautiful “Kissing Couple” in natural stone.

 

Jennie from Venture Imports describes the carving process this way:

“The artists chip, chisel, sand and then wet-sand each piece. (Before sandpaper, artists would use river sand and a rag in their hands to smooth out the pieces.) Then they place the piece around, or in some cases actually in, a fire. They finish by putting floor polish on the heated piece which sinks into the piece and brings out the natural colors of the stone and makes it shiny. They keep reapplying the floor wax (they use Cobra wax, I use Johnson paste wax) until the surface cools. Then they buff it with a cloth which makes it nice and shiny.”

Jennie also explains how the carvers learn their craft:

“Most of the artists have no formal training, but they often learn as apprentices under a master sculptor. They begin by washing and polishing the master’s pieces and then start working on small pieces of their own. Some of the artists work in cooperatives which is a fun site to see. They are so quick and sing and talk while they chip away.”

More pieces will arrive soon, and will be added to our online store.

February 5, 2011 at 13:18 Leave a comment

Fair Trade Roses – just in time for Valentines Day!

Over the past few years, an ever growing number of products have gained Fair Trade certification in the US (Fair Trade Certification is usually given via TransFair USA).

As a retail store with limited space (we have around 1,000 sq feet of retail space) we’re always faced with the dilemma of whether or not we can take new product lines as they become available on a Fair Trade basis; not only because they are great products, but also because we know what a difference they will make to the communities that they come from.

Sometimes though, the products shout SO LOUD that we just have to make room for them. Which is a long way round to saying that we have just ordered our first delivery of Fair Trade Roses – just in time for Valentines Day. Fair Trade flowers have been available in the US for a couple of years now, but so far do not seem to have made the inroads that everyone had hoped for. Why not? A few reasons spring to mind; too far removed from the other lines that Fair Trade retailers carry, not enough margin for conventional florists to carry them……

So we figured that we should at least try. We’re just ordered a bunch (pun intended) from One World Flowers – due to arrive on Feb 10th.

Here’s what One World has to say about Fair Trade flowers and themselves:

One World Flowers and Fair Trade

One World Flowers believes in supporting sustainable business practices, human rights compliance, and fair compensation for workers in countries all over the world. We started our company to do just that by offering beautiful Fair Trade Certified™ flowers in the United States. Suppliers of agricultural products are often pressured by American and European companies to lower costs in order to keep prices low for consumers. Many people don’t realize that because of this, hundreds of thousands of workers in South America, Asia, and Africa are exposed to physical, mental, and sexual abuse each day at work. In the floral industry, most of these workers are women who are not paid fairly for the long hours they are sometimes forced to work. In addition, workers are not given protective gear to wear when dealing with the dozens of harmful chemicals that are used to grow flowers. As a result, many of their children are stillborn or have major birth defects. Fair Trade is changing all of this!

Fair Trade Certification means farms that grow flowers are given a fair price for their produce, workers enjoy safe working conditions, fair living wages are paid to workers, and environmentally friendly growing practices are used. It is a commitment made by each company in the supply chain to maintain higher standards in our business practices, even if it costs a little more. In short, everyone can benefit from Fair Trade from the worker in the field, to the company that owns the farm, the environment, and even you!

One World Flowers is a TransFair USA licensed importer and distributor of Fair Trade Certified™ flowers. We currently sell our beautiful wholesale flowers to customers throughout the United States including individuals, grocers, florists, and co-op markets. We are expanding quickly, and are always looking for people and busineses to partner with who share our passion for Fair Trade and corporate social responsibility. If we are not yet in your area, we’d love for you to request One World Fair Trade flowers from your local florist.

We strive to be the market leader in Fair Trade Certified™ flowers by educating consumers about Fair Trade practices, and how to be aware of the human rights violations that happen every day in the global supply chain. One World Flowers doesn’t just want to sell flowers; we want to make a world of difference.


January 25, 2011 at 01:34 3 comments

It’s Memorial Day Weekend!

If you are on our email e-blast list, you will already know that you can get 25% discount on any single item on Saturday and Monday (YES – you can come back again and get the discounts on both days!). If you are NOT on our e-blast list, you should be….sign up by clicking here!

May 27, 2010 at 19:39 Leave a comment

Another great roast from Kickapoo Coffee

We’re really pleased that we found Kickapoo Coffee last year.

We started with the Organic Colombia, which they describe as “syrupy sweet and aromatic with an effervescent intensity and a core of candied red fruits and dark chocolate”. How do we describe it? “just a GREAT coffee”! It quickly became our best seller, with a steady stream of regulars bringing their cans back for a refill.

After that we added the Organic Guatemala; “Deliciously fragrant and complex with juicy sweet acidity and notes of lemon and berry in the sweet finish”. Another hit.

So this week we tried our third, Organic Peru AA.  This roast is described thus; “Impeccable depth and balance with notes of mandarin and toffee, a chocolaty core and a clean, sweet finish. The producer is the Cenfrocafe Cooperative – more of that in a later post.

April 10, 2010 at 16:10 4 comments

Fair Trade market baskets from Ghana

We just got a new batch of Bolga baskets from Ghana. The full size ones were a mixture of the traditional leather handles and the cloth-handled ones that we started having made last year for our vegan customers.

The baby Bolga baskets all had leather handles – we’re still waiting for our first batch of cloth-handled ones.

We’ll add a selection of the baskets to our online store in the next day or so.

I had a very special helper when it was time to shape them….

March 31, 2010 at 19:08 2 comments

One example of reconstruction in Haiti; a strategic plan to save 500 artisan jobs

Recent events in Haiti has prompted Global Fayre to step up its level of commitment to the artisans of that country (we talked previously about the need for sustained support in the long term as well as short term crisis relief).

As a result of our search for new sources, we came across Caribbean Craft.

Based in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Caribbean Craft was founded in 1990 by young Dutch and Belgian entrepreneurs who wanted to address Haiti’s high unemployment with artisan training, design assistance and new export market outlets. In 2006 Caribbean Craft became a Haitian women owned company.

They encourage their artisans to work in a sustainable way with recycled products.  As you would expect, a large part of their output is concentrated on the highly original and internationally renowned “oil drum art”, made from recycled steel drums.  They also use paper maché made from empty cement bags and starch made from locally grown, renewable arrowroot to create beautiful and festive ornaments, money or “piggy” banks, serving trays, and other useful creations. They even produce their own glue from the starch of locally grown manioc and use plastic bottles and gallon containers.

Prior to the January earthquake, Caribbean Craft employed over 300 people in Port-au-Prince and another 200 artisans in the regions. The earthquake rendered their rented premises too dangerous to use, leaving these 500 artisans on the street (literally, in many cases, with their houses also being destroyed).

Far from being knocked back by this, Caribbean Craft quickly responded by putting together a short term plan to get their people back to work as quickly as possible, as well as a longer term plan to build their own facility capable of withstanding future earthquakes.

You can read the whole plan here.

We got our first consignment of products from Caribbean Craft last week. The pieces are beautiful, and response to them has been great!

Here are a few examples:

March 6, 2010 at 18:24 Leave a comment

Oil Drum Wall Art from Haiti

It’s heart warming to see the contribution being made by so many people to the relief effort for Haiti.

A concern, of course, is what happens after the media attention switches to another story, when the relief agencies have another crisis to rush….when people just forget and move on.

That’s why Fair Trade is so critical. Fair Trade is not about short-term fixes and fire-fighting (important though those things are); Fair Trade IS about empowering communities to make a difference in the long term, to break their cycle of poverty.

At Global Fayre we don’t have many products from Haiti, but what we do have is simply stunning, especially the oil drum wall art. The cut metal ironwork from Croix des Bouquets, a small village outside of Port-au-Prince is one of Haiti’s most original art forms.  In the early 1930s Georges Liautaud formed imaginative cemetery crosses from recycled metal cut from oil drums. An artistic tradition has grown from those humble beginnings and now the village has become a center for this art, with more than 60 workshops.

Cut metal artisans cut open 55-gallon drums, hammer them flat, and then mark designs on the black metal with chalk. Using a hammer and chisel, they pound and cut through the metal to make designs. Some are left black, others are painted with bright colors.

We source our oil drum wall art from the Haitian Committee of Artisans (CAH). Since 1972, the nonprofit CAH has marketed and exported crafts made by Haitian artisans, cooperatives and craft groups. The craftspeople whose work CAH promotes have organized themselves in a variety of ways. Some are cooperative associations, some are family workshops and some are independent artisans; all depend on the efforts of CAH to market their handicrafts for a fair wage. In 1999 CAH became part of the “Fondation pour le Developpement de l’Artisanat Haitien.” CAH provides marketing and promotional expertise, other sections provide training for artisans and reference resources on handicrafts.

Here’s just a few examples:

These pieces are available in our store at 324 S Campbell, Springfield, MO and online at http://www.globalfayre.com.

You’ll find the Haiti pieces here.

20% of the proceeds from these beautiful works of art is being contributed to relief agencies working in Haiti.

February 5, 2010 at 00:08 1 comment

Bundles of Divine in a Baby Bolga Basket

We just added some bundles of Divine chocolate to our online store.

It gives you the chance to sample no less than 8 (EIGHT!) different flavors from Divine. The bars of 3.5oz chocolate come in a wicker basket as standard, or you can upgrade to a beautiful baby bolga basket, also from Ghana.

Here’s a bit of background about Divine (courtesy of their website):

The story starts in 1879 when Tetteh Quarshie first brought cocoa to Ghana from Equatorial Guinea. Since then, Ghanaian cocoa has developed a global reputation for its quality and its taste. Today it is one of the country’s main exports. Ghana is the second largest exporter of cocoa in the world. Most of the cocoa is grown by small-scale family farmers on 4-5 acres of land. Cocoa farming is a precarious business. The trees are vulnerable to various diseases and pests and although chocolate is one of the world’s favorite treats, the cocoa price often dips below the level at which it pays enough for cocoa small-scale farmers to survive.

In the early 1990’s, the cocoa market in Ghana become partially liberalized, allowing for the formation of licensed buying companies to purchase cocoa beans from farmers and sell them to Cocoa Marketing Company that would continue to be the single exporter of Ghana cocoa. A number of farmers, including a visionary farmer representative on the Ghana Cocoa Board, Nana Frimpong Abrebrese, came to realize that they had the opportunity to organize farmers in an industry where their voices were not being heard and set up a licensed buying company that would be run by farmers and for their benefit. These farmers pooled resources to set up Kuapa Kokoo, a farmers’ co-op, which would trade its own cocoa, and thus manage the selling process more efficiently than the government cocoa agents. Kuapa Kokoo – which means good cocoa growers – has a mission to empower farmers in their efforts to gain a dignified livelihood, to increase women’s participation in all of Kuapa’s activities, and to develop environmentally friendly cultivation of cocoa.

Kuapa Kokoo quickly developed a reputation for being fair and honest. In Ghana, the cocoa scale and control of the scale is tremendously important. A cocoa farmer can easily be robbed by unscrupulous clerks that rigged the scales to cheat farmers out of the full value of their crop. Kuapa Kokoo put power over the scales in the hands of farmers by making sure that each village had its own scale and its own elected clerk or village recorder. Further, through its commitment to Fair Trade and sale of cocoa to the Fair Trade market, Kuapa Kokoo was able to return greater benefits to cocoa farmers. Its membership quickly grew. In 1997, at their annual general meeting, the farmers of Kuapa Kokoo voted to set up a chocolate company of their own in order to return even more benefits to cocoa farmers. And with investment from The Body Shop and Twin Trading, and support from Comic Relief and Christian Aid, Divine Chocolate was born.

Divine Chocolate is today a leading Fair Trade brand in the UK and a pioneer in the world of socially responsible enterprise. The success of Divine means that farmers have a secure source of Fair Trade income that continues to grow year on year. Kuapa Kokoo has invested its Fair Trade income in building schools, sinking wells for clean drinking water to villages, providing mobile medical clinics for farmers in remote growing regions, and fostering women’s income generation projects to help women earn additional income for their families when the cocoa season is over. The farmers’ ownership stake in Divine Chocolate means that Kuapa Kokoo has a meaningful input into decisions about how Divine is produced and sold. In addition, Kuapa Kokoo receives a share in the profits from their ownership shares and in 2007 celebrated the first distribution of dividends from Divine in the UK. To further its mission and further increase benefits for cocoa farmers, Divine Chocolate launched a US company to expand into $13 billion American market. In 2006, Divine Chocolate Inc opened in Washington DC to bring fantastic Fair Trade chocolate to US consumers. The farmers of Kuapa Kokoo own one-third of Divine Chocolate in the US.

January 18, 2010 at 17:56 Leave a comment

Fair Trade and the fun of working directly with producer groups

One of the unexpected delights of working in the world of Fair Trade has been the opportunity to work on customized products with our producer groups. Unexpected, because as a retailer we source our products primarily through importer/wholesalers who have the direct relationship with the producers.

However, in several cases now we’ve been able to work through the importer to request custom products (we talked about this before when we launched the vegan market baskets from Ghana).

Our latest adventure in product design has been in the world of finger puppets, working with our friends at Inca Kids.

Since we are based in Springfield, natural habitat of the Red Cardinal (and home of the Springfield Cardinals!) it seemed obvious to have some Red Cardinals made…..this is how they turned out:

The next major event coming to downtown Springfield is the 30th Annual Saint Patricks Day Parade, so now we’re scratching our heads thinking about what finger puppets we should have made……ideas anyone?!

January 11, 2010 at 23:04 2 comments

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