October is Fair Trade Month and we’d like to share a story that happened this year.
Slowing retail sales. Supply chain issues. Lack of resources. Soaring shipping costs. Not enough employees. These are real issues facing every small business right now. And the sad truth is that even business with the best of intentions may not survive these hardships.
Most companies make purchases on “terms” where the manufacturer sends the products and the company pays for it later. What happens when a company places an order and then can’t pay for it? Usually they go out of business and the manufacturer has to absorb that loss. But what happens when a small business with a good mission can’t pay for the items they ordered from makers in developing countries? This can mean literal devastation for the makers (and sometimes even the whole village) who have invested their own funds into the materials and paying the workers before it’s shipped to the business buyer. It means families may go without food, without the ability to pay for school, and may even lose their homes.
We recently learned that of a few brands with a similar mission to ours found themselves in this situation, and thinking of the sweet makers who would be caught in the middle of this literally kept us up at night. As a team, we decided to step in and make it right. We purchased the inventory and have integrated those pieces into our next few launches. Some of the brands who originally made these orders have since gone out of business while some are staying open but are focusing on restructuring, but our hearts and minds can rest easy knowing that hardworking people in India (who we now are so proud to call “our” makers!) aren’t going without.
Did we budget for this? No. Could we know this was happening without doing something about it? Absolutely not. The Fair Trade community reaches far beyond brands—it’s a mission to do good whenever we have the ability to.
I hope you can keep our newly expanded team of makers in mind this holiday season as you begin shopping for gifts. The unwavering support of our customers makes miracles like this possible.