Posts filed under ‘Online Store’
The last couple of months have been pretty difficult for Global Fayre (meaning for David and Cheri).
We had realized towards the end of last year that we were struggling to cope with the store itself and all of the other activities that Global Fayre required of us, PLUS raising our two daughters PLUS Cheri being a Doula PLUS David doing his own stuff (what is that exactly?!)
We brought someone in to help at the store (Sophie was a great help and a real asset to the team) but by the time we got to the Spring of 2011 the message had firmly sunk in. We didn’t have the resources (financial, physical and emotional) to make the store work as well as it should or as well as we wanted it to.
So in May we took the decision to close the store itself, but to leave the door open to continue with fair trade talks, outside events at local churches and the online store.
Announcing the closure, and dealing with the customer/friend reaction was truly bitter/sweet. People had some very kind words to say, and we really felt appreciated, but then to feel the process take its own momentum; after all, stores open and close all the time, and we are just one of many. An inventory sale seamlessly turned in to a closing sale, with some very loyal customers getting the “one thing” that they had been wanting for a very long time but could never afford or justify. That was very satisfying to see.
We weren’t prepared for how emotionally draining the last two weeks would be; we lost count of the number of times we had “that” conversation about why we were closing, how we would be missed etc etc. Of course, person #200 means it just as much as the person #1 – so you try hard to have the conversation, yet again.
So the store is closed, and we were preparing for life after downtown Global Fayre…..and then David had a very interesting telephone conversation……..
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.
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….
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.
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.
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?!
We’re busy putting things out on the shelves as the holiday season gets in to full swing.
We’ve always had a good selection of finger puppets, but we’ve just unpacked two adorable sets from the the Bridge of Hope Fair Trade Project in Peru.
The other is an Amazon theme, with eight hand-knit rainforest finger puppets that come in an embroidered bag. Includes a monkey, sloth, anteater, macau, caiman, jaguar, turtle and snake.
The Bridge of Hope Fair Trade Project grew out of the efforts of a network of Peruvian organizations called Joining Hands Against Poverty who are committed to addressing the root causes of poverty in Peru. Working with women who had no stable income and communities where gifted artisans lived in extreme poverty, they saw the need to create opportunities so that the women and artisans could benefit economically and socially from their work. The Bridge of Hope project was launched to respond to that need.
Bridge of Hope works with 24 artisan organizations in poor neighborhoods of Lima as well as rural areas of Peru. They assist people living in extreme poverty to form groups that can develop sustainable businesses using the values of Fair Trade. The goal is to help them become independent, successful exporting association of artisans through assistance in the areas of product development, business skills, and export procedures. The work of Bridge of Hope has benefited many artisan groups, and the increased economic security has contributed to the empowerment of women in their homes and communities.