Holiday Gifting: Say hello to #FairTuesday (and farewell to Black Friday)
It’s the most magical time of the year! San Francisco is already aglow with holiday lights and sparkle adorning the streets and boutiques. If you’re like me, you can’t wait to find the perfect gifts for friends and family. And gift giving should be embraced! Studies show that simple acts of generosity actually boost our immune systems, relieve pain and can even make our hearts stronger. If that’s not enough of a reason to give-give-give, how about knowing your gift directly impacts the life of a female artisan and her family thousands of miles away?
Here’s the Be BETTER challenge this week to spread the cheer near and far: shop fair trade. “Fair trade” is a bit of a buzz term – what exactly does it mean? To get to the bottom of it, we spoke with Hannah Skvarla, a human rights activist who partnered with Lauren Conrad to found The Little Market – an online marketplace supporting artisans around the world.
Hannah spells it out for us: “Fair trade is an ethical approach to business that provides artisans with living wages so they can support themselves. And it’s a commitment to a sustainable relationship with open dialogue between all parties.” Hannah and Lauren created The Little Market with the goal of improving the lives of female artisans around the world: “Many of the women we work with had not even considered charging an hourly wage and more often than not, were setting a product’s price just above the cost of the goods.” By embracing fair trade practices, The Little Market and similar organizations help artisans fine-tune designs, market their products and teach them to cover basic costs of materials, transportation and labor – with the end goal of empowerment and improved livelihoods for female artisans and their families.
Every purchase made directly impacts the artisan that created it. And you don’t have to compromise on style. Their goodies are one-of-a kind and include festive holiday wreaths and ornaments, hand-painted jewelry boxes, cozy alpaca scarves, hand-blown glassware, block-printed aprons and toddler-wear, to name a few.
The fair trade movement is taking off and thanks to our tech-savvy world, navigating the larger fair trade marketplace has never been easier. For more gift ideas, check out #FairTuesday which features more than 150 fair trade and eco-friendly brands, including The Little Market. #FairTuesday – which takes place on Tuesday, December 3 – is an ethical shopping movement that started last year to promote “conscious consumerism” in response to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. To support the movement, close friends Hannah Skvarla, Lauren Conrad and Haylie Duff will be hosting a #FairTuesday Gift Contest on Pinterest. Enter by November 30 for a chance to win a basket of fair trade holiday gifts, more details are available here.
So this holiday season, be a conscious consumer and shop fair trade. You’ll spread the joy not only to those near and dear – but to an artisan and her family thousands of miles away!
About Emily Bosworth
Emily is a communications professional and global health advocate who works to provide a voice for women and girls in under-resourced settings around the globe. She has traveled and worked in Africa, Central America, Haiti, Southeast Asia and the South Pacific. Emily believes that by empowering girls through education and social enterprise, entire communities can thrive. In addition to her work overseas, Emily serves as a consultant to programs promoting nutrition, health and wellness at schools in the US. She has a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley and a BA in Environmental Studies from UC Santa Barbara. Emily is a college lacrosse alumna and a proud supporter of the Be Better Movement. She lives in San Francisco with her husband, Aron
Follow her on Twitter at @emilymurph