the start of our new chapter

Before getting back to David’s telephone conversation, a couple of  background information “nuggets” might be useful.

Nugget #1

David’s first “proper” job after first graduating from college was with his brother Peter. Peter had earlier launched a jewellery design and manufacturing company called Vipa Designs. Like many other manufacturing businesses, jewellery has changed dramatically in the UK over the past 20 or 30 years. Most of the small to medium manufacturing companies have disappeared, and the bulk of mass manufacturing is now shipped overseas. During that time Vipa has bucked the trend and grown steadily, gaining a reputation for innovative design and high quality manufacturing whether for one-off pieces or for larger quantities.

Nugget #2

Before opening Global Fayre, we had no idea of just how complex the topic of fair trade is. Three years later, our understanding of the whole issue is deeper, but our awareness of some of the complexities is deeper too. Just what “fair trade” actually means differs widely from product to product. When something like coffee is certified as fair trade, we all know that this means that the growers have been paid a fair trade price; it doesn’t tell us anything about the importer or the roaster. Conversely, when you purchase a typical piece of fair trade jewellery, you know that the producer group that made the piece has been treated fairly, but you probably don’t know anything about how the raw materials were produced.

Nugget #3

A really exciting announcement was made in the UK this year on Valentines Day; the Fairtrade Foundation and the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM) had come together to certify the world’s first fair trade and fair mined gold. Around 15% of the world’s gold production is sourced from small scale miners, numbering around 15 million. Conditions in these small scale mines are often hazardous both to the people working there and the local environment. (more about this in a later blog). The UK initiative focuses on the three core areas of the gold supply chain: a cluster of small-scale mines, a handful of gold traders, and around 20 designer jewelers (again – more of this in a later blog).

So – nuggets over, back to that phone call.

David and Peter have often used each other as sounding boards, personally and professionally. David was doing exactly that with Peter after the closure of Global Fayre when Peter said “come and help me make this fair trade gold thing work” (or something to that effect). Vipa Designs is one of the 8 companies currently licensed to trade in fair trade gold. Quite where this will lead is not clear, but it’s exciting to find a new challenge and to be able to contribute in some way to the growth of fair trade and ethical business.

So – we’re off to England! David, Cheri and the girls are very very excited. We’ll be living near our family there in the middle of the country.

For now at least, this means that Global Fayre is on hold in terms of having an online store and doing educational work. Our hope is that once we get settled in England (we move in August) we can pick the reins back up; however that works out, we’ll keep posting here and on our facebook page. We remain just as passionate about fair trade as ever, and get a real sense that more and more people are joining us in wanting to become conscious consumers.

 

July 1, 2011 at 17:04 7 comments

The end of a chapter

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……..

 

June 10, 2011 at 19:51 5 comments

“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

Springfield Saint Patrick’s Day Parade and Celebration

It’s that time of year again!

This year’s Parade and Celebration will take place on March 19th.

Want to take part in the parade? Go to the St Pat’s website and register….it’s free!

Want to enter the Irish Idol Contest – click here!

We’re always looking for new sponsors….this year you will get space in the booklet PLUS a presence on the website / facebook…AND we’ll twitter about you!!!! If you want to know more, just add a comment here or send an email to info@springfieldstpatsparade.org

What’s the weather going to be like on March 19? Take our poll!





January 26, 2011 at 21:33 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

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is on fire!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 11,000 times in 2010. That’s about 26 full 747s.

 

In 2010, there were 19 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 174 posts. There were 20 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 8mb. That’s about 2 pictures per month.

The busiest day of the year was June 24th with 91 views. The most popular post that day was First Friday at Global Fayre, featuring “Images from Africa” by Cher Piche.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were blogsurfer.us, globalfayre.com, facebook.com, community.worldofgood.com, and en.wordpress.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for african baskets, quetzal bird, hand made cards, baskets, and ostrich egg jewelry.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

First Friday at Global Fayre, featuring “Images from Africa” by Cher Piche April 2009
1 comment

2

Zulu Ilala Palm African Baskets woven in South Africa May 2009

3

Fair Trade Hemp and ‘no kill’ leather Bags from Nepal March 2009
6 comments

4

Fair Trade Ostrich Egg jewelry from the San Bushmen Women of the Kalahari June 2009

5

How candles protect the Resplendent Quetzal November 2008

January 2, 2011 at 23:44 Leave a comment

http://myemail.constantcontact.com/News-from-Global-Fayre.html?soid=1101992522024&aid=Kp4_v75xwtA

http://myemail.constantcontact.com/News-from-Global-Fayre.html?soid=1101992522024&aid=Kp4_v75xwtA.

December 15, 2010 at 00:20 Leave a comment

“Autumn” By the children of the Parents’ Cooperative Preschool

Parents’ Cooperative Preschool, Inc. presents a fantastic display of Autumn inspired artwork created by it’s students. PCPS (a non-profit organization) has been serving children ages two and a half through five and their families for over 30 years. The cooperative concept brings parents of our students into the classrooms on a regular basis, thus becoming an integral part of the child’s first formal learning experience. Through this hands-on experience, parents begin to realize more clearly the pleasures of childhood and the challenges of parenthood. For more information on PCPS please visit Parentscoop.org

Find out more in general about November’s art walk at http://www.ffaw.org

We’re delighted to be hosting en exhibition of work by these children (of course, we’re just a little bit biased since our youngest daughter is one of them!)

 

November 4, 2010 at 23:25 Leave a comment

“Hiding in Plain Sight” by Kim Peterson, opening at Global Fayre on October 1st, 2010

Kim Peterson stays busy creating art and chasing her two young daughters with her husband. She likes to think of herself as an eclectic being, so she also spends her time obsessing over music, reading, being passionate about politics, and writing freelance articles for the Ozarks Moms Like Me Magazine. Kim grew up in Tacoma, Wa but has lived in Upstate New York, Wyoming and eventually landed in in the Ozarks three years ago. She now calls Springfield home.

"She's out on a Whim"

"She's out on a Whim"

Kim says she “likes the idea of playing with the things that people do, what they think and dream. The unmentionable acts hidden by the subconscious or a spy like quickness. People are afraid to let others know who they really are. Hiding in plain sight is what we, as people, do everyday.” The pieces being viewed will be her interpretation of this concept.

This is Kim’s debut showing at Global Fayre and First Friday Art Walk. To see more of her work, you can visit “Kim’s Eclectic” on facebook.

Find out what else is happening on First Friday here.

Check out the latest with Global Fayre here.

September 11, 2010 at 15:17 2 comments

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