The Heart of Fair Trade is Collaboration
“You are most welcome here. We are happy you joined us.”
That’s the message I’ve received this past month as I have participated in a pop-up store with Global Village Nanaimo.
Global Village is an independent non-profit society that has been operating in Nanaimo, BC for 25 years. It sells a range of fair trade products from artisans around the world, and opens a store each year in May, Fair Trade Month, and in the fall leading up to Christmas.
For Fair Trade Month this year, manager Joan Hiemstra invited some organizations to join Global Village as guests in their store, selling their own products. I jumped at the opportunity to sell items that are not on my website, and to be a part of the local fair trade community.
So, we have become three stores in one – Global Village is up front, and in the back corners of the space are Didi Bahini and Divineya Society. Divineya has yoga mat bags, backpacks, laptop bags and pyjama pants made in India of vibrant textiles, and also special malas made by women who chant as they make them and add extra blessings by dipping the finished pieces in the Ganges River.
The beautiful thing about the partnership at Global Village is that it involves only cooperation and respect. There is overlap in the products we offer – all three stores have laptop cases – but we don’t see each other as competitors. We are all working together in support of the artisans in developing countries.
I find this cooperation everywhere I look in the fair trade community. Organizations work together and help each other. We know that when we sell more, we buy more, which supports our artisan partners in growing and thriving. It’s a demonstration of the belief that a rising tide lifts all boats.
As Fair Trade Month comes to an end and the Global Village Nanaimo store closes, I am grateful for the amazing movement that puts the dignity and equality of all people ahead of egos and profits. Thank you, Global Village Nanaimo for being a leader in this.