Museums and Fair Trade
Fair Trade is a trading system that creates opportunities for economically and socially marginalized producers around the world. It enables artisans and farmers to fairly participate in global trade.
Here are a few overlapping values between museums and Fair Trade:
- Fair Trade values human life and the preservation of culture and art, which are aligned with museum values.
- Museum visitors, many of which are conscious consumers, are increasingly demanding sustainable products.
- The Fair Trade market sees huge growth every year, in spite of the harsh economic times.
Handmade Expressions is a wholesaler of Fair Trade personal and home accessories. We invite you to explore this webpage to learn how your museum store can benefit from carrying Fair Trade items, and how Handmade Expressions can help you meet your needs.
What is Fair Trade?
Fair trade is both a movement and a market-based approach to alleviating global poverty and promoting sustainability. It aims to educate and empower disadvantaged producers and connect them to a market, so they too can participate in global trade. It encompasses principles such as:
- Anti-slave, anti-child labor
- Environmentally friendly processes
- A respectful relationship between producers and buyers
- A fair wage for the producers
- A healthy working environment for producers
- Gender and race equality with respects to wages and working conditions
- The development of communities for self-sustainability
In addition, Fair Trade has helped CULTURE and ART survive modern global trade. Fair Trade companies work with artisan cooperatives who, in many cases, have been practicing their art for generations. Many of the younger generations in these communities drop their artistic heritage and work for factories or migrate to cities. Fair Trade helps the artisans make their art profitable and market it around the world.
All these values are aligned with many of the values shared by museums around the world: the preservation of the planet and the people (particularly as it applies to culture, history and art).
To learn more about what Fair Trade is, please click here.
Where do museum stores and Handmade Expressions lie in the value chain?
Handmade Expressions works directly with many artisan groups in India. We provide them with design and business help so they can create products through their traditional arts. With our help, they make products that appeal to a North American market. By working directly with them, we can also modify any of our products to suit your needs. In other words, we can create products with custom dimensions and custom designs for your museum store.
Handmade Expressions can sell these products to museum stores. Museums would then make the Fair Trade products available to their customers. This way, museums help connect artisans to the American market. In the whole process, more money trickles back to the producers thanks to the Fair Trade standards.
Is Fair Trade really appealing to museum customers?
According to the Fair Trade Federation, 71.4% of US consumers have heard the term Fair Trade and more and more people are considering themselves conscious consumers. Conscious customers tend to be educated, well-traveled, cultured individuals. This kind of person often visits museums and museum stores. They will definitely APPRECIATE the Fair Trade offerings in your store, are likely to buy them, and will become a more loyal customer thanks to the responsible business image you will project. Therefore, during harsh economic times, adding ethical and sustainable goods to the product mix in your store could help give you an edge.
Moreover, Fair Trade products are produced in a sustainable way. Many are made using recycled and organic materials, which many conscious consumers appreciate. Your customers are sure to appreciate a well-made product that has a great story to back it up. We can offer you products that have added value, such as products made of recycled materials or from organic cotton. Moreover, many of our products are made through very intricate types of art such as applique, mirror-work, batik (wax printing) and embroidery. You can pick products that look very artistic, or products that look more modern. We are open to listen to what you need and provide you with the appropriate product for your customers.
How can museums sell Fair Trade more effectively?
Here are some communications tips that can help you sell Fair Trade more effectively:
1) Understand Fair Trade well. Knowing about sustainable products and being able to explain what they are will help you look authentic and honest.
2) Educate your customers. They need help to understand why the products you are offering are socially and environmentally responsible.
3) Create a visual impact in your store. A poster of an artisan/farmer is a great way to get your customers’ attention. Educational materials should also be displayed.
Can Handmade Expressions help me sell these products?
Of course! Handmade Expressions can help you with marketing material and marketing advice so you can successfully sell Fair Trade products in your store. It is essential to have an effective display in order to sell Fair Trade products.
The kinds of materials we have available for you include large posters, product specific point-of-sale materials, educational flyers and artisan images. You can take a look at what we can offer you by clicking here.
Moreover, we can offer you marketing tips and communications strategies so that you can efficiently and effectively sell Fair Trade products. You can find these strategies here.
All of our products come with tags that explain the social and environmental significance behind them. This will help your customers identify the product as Fairly Traded. We can provide you with extra information that can help you educate your customers at your request. Just e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.