Company Culture Page
Working at Handmade Expressions is fun and fulfilling. The team is very diverse, laid back, yet professional. Everyone brings important skills to the table, complementing each other in various ways.
As a small company, Handmade Expressions employees take on many tasks and wear many hats. Still, this environment helps them all grow as professionals and learn more about the entire Fair Trade industry. It also helps them collaborate with each other to make every project a success, be it shipping important orders, setting up a Fair Trade event, creating a communications and educational campaign, or even building this web page!
The following are some examples of the company culture at Handmade Expressions. We hope to be able to communicate what we stand for and how we operate as a mission-based, people company.
The ENTIRE Team
Our team includes more than just the people listed in the website as official employees. We believe that all of our partner artisans are part of our team, as well as important players of the Fair Trade industry such as Carmen Iezzi from the Fair Trade Federation, and Jeff Goldman from the Fair Trade Resource Network. We also believe that each one of our retailers makes up part of our team, since we are all on it together when it comes to promoting Fair Trade and sustainability. These ideas stem from the fact that Fair Trade is all about building relationships based on equity and respect.
In addition to the important members mentioned above, we can mention two of our favorite canine friends. Leda and Gordy frequently visit the office and offer us their company and support. We love talking about our dogs with our customers, and love even more hearing the stories of the dogs that also visit Fair Trade stores or wholesalers!
Leda (left) guards the phone server and doesn’t like mail men/women (except for Bonnie). Gordy usually stands there in a Zen-like manner, calming everyone around him
When the dogs are not around, Makoto, our blue Indian Ringneck parrot, makes an appearance. She delights us with songs, cute questions like “how are you doing?”, as well as entertaining jibberish!
Makoto loves to chill on the computer
Finally, we want to make a special mention of our UPS lady, Bonnie. Over the months that she has worked with us, she has learned about Fair Trade and appreciates what we are doing. She even helped us during World Fair Trade Day 2009! Bonnie got over 100 mini Divine Chocolates and flyers explaining what Fair Trade is. She distributed these at every stop on that day, helping us spread the word about what Fair Trade is. She is truly part of the team now!
At Handmade Expressions, we like to participate and even organize special events. In the past we have done the following:
Tree planting around town
We believe in environmental sustainability. Part of that belief goes into our business practices, and the other part goes into activities that improve the environment of Austin. We try to get involved in tree-planting or park-improving activities throughout the year.
Making Fair Trade Presentations
We like to give Fair Trade educational presentations, be it at local city events, Oxfam UT meetings, or other groups that are interested in socially responsible business.
Celebrating Fair Trade Events
Whether it’s Fair Trade Month, World Fair Trade Day, or any other event pertaining to Fair Trade, Handmade Expressions tries to participate or organize a way to celebrate Fair Trade! We try to give away free Fair Trade coffee and chocolate when we do this.
Handmade Expressions has asked the City of Austin to provide us only with green energy starting in September, 2009! Austin energy is now providing us with Green Choice Energy, making us a Green Choice Business Partner.
Moreover, we recycle glass, paper and plastic at the office. So, even if any of the team members of Handmade Expressions doesn’t live close to an area where they can recycle, they can bring anything that is recyclable to the office.
We have 3 recycling bins in the office to recycle plastics, glass and paper. Our team members can bring their recycling here and we take care of it at the office.
In addition, we reuse all of our boxes and make sure to use two sides of a paper sheet as often as possible. We also do our best to conserve electricity and water. Finally, we do not use synthetic/plastic peanuts or foam to fill the boxes that we are shipping out, but we use the junk mail and old magazines as fillers.