when i used to imagine having a shop, i would imagine the dusting and sweeping.  i would imagine wearing an apron and arranging things.  i would also imagine standing behind the counter arranging flowers and such things.

what i didn't realize was that i would establish long term relationships that were based in fair trade, and based in the shop--   relationships with customers and clients, certainly-- but also relationships with the wholesale vendors of my products.

i am quite shy, and it used to be that the idea of chatting with the people i was buying things from seemed overwhelming-- but i soon realized that my vendors were telling me the stories about my products that would best help me to sell them.  they were also talking with me about what is selling best, how to display things, and how to pay for things in a way that was going to be sustainable for my business-- they very much taught me how to do this thing that i do-- because it is beneficial for them for me to stay in business and do well.  AND they are looking to me for information-- i am the link to the consumers, after all.  my vendors want to know what am i hearing from customers, what my sales are like, how much am i selling things for-- all the information they most need to continue to do what they do.

and over time i have personally gotten to know many of the people that i work with-- we are co-workers, after all.   over the years-- as we talk about the change in products, the market, and about doing the business that we do-- we have also gone through divorces, moves, new babies, and the deaths of our parents-- and we talk about these parts of our lives as well as the work that we do.

this is fair trade.  we are all in this together, all working to support each other, all working to sustain our livelihoods, all aware that we are completely dependent on each other.   we are not out to screw each other, not out to beat each other, not out to win--

i like it.


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