This month Merida is recognizing the amazing work of global artisans and the companies that support them. One such company is Ten Thousand Villages – a boutique franchise that exclusively sells fairly traded, sustainable artisan goods. Like Merida, Ten Thousand Villages builds longstanding relationships with the makers of the products they sell so that the company can better support the craftsmen and their communities. Founded in 1946, Ten Thousand Villages has been named one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies for five years in a row, including this year.
Ten Thousand Villages is also a founding member of the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO). The WFTO now has over 350 member organizations in 70 countries. In order to become a member of the WFTO, a company or organization must demonstrate a 100% commitment to fair trade practices. The goal is to use fair trade as a means to improve the lives of artisans, farmers, and factory workers around the world. Ten Thousand Villages has lead the way in this movement for over twenty years while also making strides in environmental sustainability by encouraging artisans to use rapidly renewable and recycled materials.
What drew me in to Ten Thousand Villages (which has a location in downtown Boston), is their unique array of goods. I frequently go there for fair trade jewelry and gifts for family and friends, but as I’m re-decorating my bedroom, I’ve also been drawn to their baskets, picture frames, bookends, mirrors and other décor items. Every time I purchase something, the cashier asks if I’d like more information on the item, and when I say yes, they provide a detailed write-up about the artisans that created the object and the materials it is made from. I love this transparency! It is great to know exactly where your new purchase comes from.
These stores will also appeal to those that love the “Gypset” trend because all of the goods are so worldly and unique. I am a huge fan of the gypset look (Gypsy + Jet Set) and am constantly finding things on the Ten Thousand Villages website that would be perfect to complete a decor style like those pictured below: