Histoire Lesson: Mercado Global

This week, we’re thrilled to highlight one of our newest partners, Mercado Global. Founded in 2004 by Ruth DeGolia, Mercado Global is a nonprofit organization whose distinctive fair trade collections demonstrate the power of partnership to change the world, one purchase at a time. Each Mercado collection starts with a journey to the highlands of Guatemala, where designers partner with indigenous women artisans to develop unique creations that fuse exceptional Mayan craftsmanship with modern design.

To give you some context to Mercado Global’s work, indigenous Guatemalans remain on the periphery of the global economy. 93% percent of the indigenous population lives in poverty and fewer than two out of ten girls complete the sixth grade.  Furthermore, Guatemala has the highest rate of chronic malnutrition in the Western Hemisphere – about 73% of children younger than 5 years old are malnourished.

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Our Deepti Lanterns are FINALLY back in stock! Perfect for Diwali,  Halloween, the holidays, you name it, these lanterns are handmade in  India from 100% recycled glass and are, not to mention, fair-trade. Get em while they’re hot!

Our Deepti Lanterns are FINALLY back in stock! Perfect for Diwali, Halloween, the holidays, you name it, these lanterns are handmade in India from 100% recycled glass and are, not to mention, fair-trade. Get em while they’re hot!

What’s Fair Trade?

Fair trade has been a buzz phrase for many years and is far from a new idea. Yet many of us have no idea what it really means. So what is fair trade and why should we care about buying things made under fair trade principles?

There are several different fair trade organizations, including the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO), the Fair Trade Federation (FTF) and Fairtrade International (FLO), which certify members or products as “Fair Trade” after going through a rigorous evaluation process. While each has a slightly different definition of the principle, there are some common threads between the different organizations. They all believe in working towards creating trade partnerships that encourage transparency and respect, that seek greater equity in international trade. They believe in sustainable development and securing the rights of marginalized producers and workers. They also believe in actively supporting producers and raising awareness about fair trade. Some organizations also include environmental stewardship and respecting cultural identity in their definition. While this is only the tip of the iceberg, fair trade can loosely be defined as using a fairer system of exchange to create sustainable positive change for marginalized producers.

So why should we think about buying products made under fair trade principles? Because it’s not just about a handout or charity - it’s about helping to create sustainable businesses and a long-term impact on producers and communities while delivering great products. It’s about tangible results like building wells to gain access to clean water for the first time ever. It’s about building schools and having enough resources to actually send your children to those schools. It’s about becoming a valued stakeholder in the community. To witness such change in not only an individual’s life but in an entire community is pretty incredible. Why not be a part of it?