8 Etsy Shops Selling Fair Trade And African Products
Etsy means, “Oh yes” in Italian and that’s fitting considering that the website by that name enables artists and craftspeople from around the world to realize their dreams. Retailers on Etsy make their crafts as their main source of income, or sell on Etsy and use the profits to fund other ambitions. Etsy is an incredibly easy-to-use platform. The seller can communicate directly with the buyer. Buyers can personally message the sellers, which has in a way created an entirely new type of economy.
The website is a natural platform for retailers who make and sell products for a cause. Setting up a shop requires little effort and overhead.
Fair trade is as a trade movement with the goal of helping producers in developing countries to get a fair price for their products so as to reduce poverty, provide for the ethical treatment of workers and farmers, and promote environmentally sustainable practices.
Here are 8 Etsy shops selling fair trade and African products.
WireBeadedAnimals is owned by an American artist and businessman who, when he was traveling in Jerusalem, met two South African artists making wire-beaded animals by hand. Impressed by the vibrant colors and details of the animals,he started working with the pair, along with other artists in South Africa and Zimbabwe, to sell more of these animals through his Fair Trade site on Etsy. The animals range from keychain size to life size.
KenyanGifts is a collaborative project run by a Nairobi native and a woman living in the U.S. The shop says it gives all its profits to programs that feed and educate local Kenyan youth. Gifts in the Etsy shop are all handmade by Kenyan villagers. You can find shoes, handbags, jewelry, home goods and art in the shop. KenyanGifts specializes in handmade, beaded sandals with stunning decorative straps.
ElephantLoveKazuri supports and stands for several causes. The shop uses Kazuri beads and tagua nut for all its handmade products. Kazuri means “small and beautiful” in Swahili. The beads are all 100 percent fair trade and made by disadvantaged women in Kenya. Tagua nut is an eco-friendly material that can be sourced without disturbing rainforests. All of the shop’s profits go to saving baby elephants who have been orphaned due to poaching in Africa.
SatchelandCompass makes accessories and home goods, with most of its fair trade materials sourced from developing communities in West Africa and Central America that “exhibit a passion for tradition and hand craftsmanship.” All items are handmade to order including plush decorative animals and tribal print accent pillows.
AllAcrossAfrica creates market-driven employment opportunities to improve and empower the lives of rural and poor people across Africa. One of the ways it does that is by employing African artisans to make products for its Etsy shop. The shop specializes in hand-made baskets with gorgeous colors and patterns that buyers can fill with gifts — many of those also handmade in Africa. You can read more about this company in an AFKInsider profile.
GiftswithaStory is owned by an African-American husband and wife team based out of Virginia. The pair works with artists from around Africa, giving them access to the U.S. market via their Etsy shop. The shop offers statement-piece jewelry, housewares, accessories and Disney-themed products, all made from fair trade materials. The shop owners try to add new products every day.
On DarajaImports, you’ll find a fusion of African designs because the shop employs artists from groups in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Ghana, Malawi, Swaziland and South Africa. Artists making the products range from widowed women to physically disabled individuals and young adults orphaned by genocide. All products are made from materials that are sustainable and often recycled. The shop owners work closely with all artists to help them realize their dreams and goals.
The Nyaka Grandmother Shop is a part of the Nyaka AIDS Orphan Project, which helps grandmothers who lost their children to AIDS. Many are raising their grandchildren—as well as other children of their community—without social security, health care, retirement, child welfare, or basic housing. Through the program, the grandmothers can get microloans to purchase materials to make their products. The program then sells their products at fair trade prices and directs profits back into the Nyaka Grandmother Project. The grannies make items like gardening hats, hand-woven dolls and baskets.
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