October is Fair Trade Month! Many people have heard of fair trade; but are unsure about its meaning. At its core, fair trade is a movement made up of a global network of companies, consumers and producers that believe in improved social and environmental standards. These partnerships help farmers and artisans in developing countries earn fair wages and maintain viable, equitable business relationships. It’s a win-win for manufacturers and consumers. Read on to find out how you contribute when you choose fair-trade products.
Investing in Mankind
With each fair-trade purchase, a statement is made that you believe in equality. By choosing a fair-trade product, you are investing in mankind. Your money is going to support individuals, communities and cultures while helping fight poverty and hunger.
Fair trade is one of the core principles at Eangee Home Design. We believe in our products, but more importantly, we believe in people. Artisans are empowered through our commitment to providing living wages, quality housing and ensuring safe working conditions. Continuing education is an added benefit for the artisans who create our products. By rotating responsibilities, they are able to develop additional skills and learn new trades.
Our primary producers are located in the provinces of Cavite and Bulacan in the Philippines. Like many fair-trade workers, our artisans live in small villages with limited opportunities, so the living wages they earn go a long way in supporting their families and communities.
And it doesn’t stop there. Fair trade extends beyond the people that make the products directly. Instead of relying solely on their primary crop, fair trade allows farmers to generate a secondary income by harvesting the leaves used to make many of our products. Wait—it keeps going. Individuals who transport the leaves and other raw materials also benefit from this arrangement. Buying just one fair-trade item positively impacts the entire supply chain improving many lives.
Protecting Our Planet
Could it get any better? It does actually! Choosing fair-trade products not only helps others, it positively impacts the environment. Fair-trade items are created with a limited amount of pesticides, fertilizers and in our case non-toxic dyes. These non-toxic dyes are used to color the leaves used in many Eangee lighting products.
Fair-trade items tend to be recycled, upcycled or made of sustainable materials, all of which help protect our planet’s natural resources. One example of a sustainable product is our Nito Series; a collection of lamps made of the Nito Vine. This vine is actually a fern that’s found in tropical forests and is native to the Philippines. As it grows, the vine wraps around the tree so tightly that it causes the tree to suffocate and die. By removing the vine, the tree is saved, and the vegetation is able to be repurposed. When producing the Nito lamps, our artisans recreate the vine’s natural growth pattern on a wire frame. Check out our artisans working their magic below.
Our accessories are another great example of using sustainable resources to create something artistic. Oysters are a source of food in the Philippines and a byproduct is the oyster shell. Capiz is a specific type of oyster shell named after the region. Featured in the majority of our accessories, like the Butterfly Wall Décor Black & White; the Capiz is adorned onto the accessories’ metal backing before being painted and sealed. You’re still able to see the beautiful, natural texture of the shell through the colors. These products tell a story and let you decorate with global flair.
Daring to be Different
If you need one last reason to shop fair trade, we’ve got it! Instead of buying mass-produced products seen everywhere, you have the opportunity to buy one-of-a-kind pieces. Since fair-trade products tend to be handmade, like the Nito Series and hand-painted accessories, the construction process ensures no two pieces will be the same. Every piece is unique and contain ever-so-slight variations that truly make the piece your own.
Feel good about your purchases knowing each item has a direct, positive impact on people, communities and the environment. Happy shopping!