local and fair trade

in celebration of international workers day the claw foot tub will be closed today, may 1st.

when we first opened almost seven years ago we were not exclusively fair trade.  we sold products made in china and india that we knew could have been made in sweatshops.  over those first couple of years in business i started to pay attention more and more to where our products were coming from-- and i realized that they could have been made by people who were perhaps locked-in to the room in which they were working; who perhaps had no heat, or no fan to cool them as they worked; people who perhaps worked 18 or more hours a day taking home barely enough pay to buy food; or that our products could have been made by any of the more than 250 million children between the ages of 5 and 14 who are currently forced to work in sweatshops.  the more i learned about the supply chain (the connection between the people who make the products, the company that employs them, and me-- the retailer who sells the product to the consumer) that i had become part of, the less i felt comfortable with it.

most of our customers didn't ask where our products were made-- or in what working conditions-- but every now and then someone asked and to be perfectly honest it didn't feel that great to have to tell my customers the truth.  but i certainly couldn't lie.

many, many retailers dodge those questions.  there are the big companies like 'target', 'macy's', and 'pottery barn'-- who don't generally have to answer questions about where their products are made.  but for those of us who are small retailers in local communities-- our customers are our neighbors and friends and they are more comfortable asking us all kinds of questions.  it can be hard to have to tell the truth about where our products come from.  for me it got to a point that i felt a sense of responsibility-- to the people making the products i sold, to my customers, and ultimately to myself-- i just simply didn't feel good about making money on the backs of people who were being exploited.

four years ago we made the decision to be totally fair trade.  and over the years since then we have become increasingly enamored with the idea of being as local as possible-- so that our environmental footprint is small, and our support for our community is big.  our products are now almost exclusively locally made-- with a hefty dose of fair trade and vintage products thrown in.

our mission is to make the world more beautiful-- ethically.  every day.


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