The end of the year’s main gift-giving season, Christmas, likely left many people with unwanted presents discreetly hidden at the back of closets or in basements.
If uniqueness and the chance to make a difference in the world can help save gifts from that fate, the Fair Trade Alliance at the Grant Park Shopping Centre is a good place to shop at Christmas and throughout the year.
According to its Facebook profile, the Fair Trade Alliance “strives to provide Andes First Nations products and other activities, allowing for a unique perspective of the ancestral culture.”
Like many other stores of its type, the Fair Trade Alliance gives artisans the chance to earn a living and supplement their incomes by selling traditional clothing and other goods to shoppers in other parts of the world.
Many people know of fair trade chocolate and coffee, which is produced without the slavery and exploitation that is common in these industries.
However, fair trade can include many more products, such as the scarves, winter hats, backpacks, jewellery, and ornaments that the Fair Trade Alliance features.
Fair trade is all about giving people the chance to live full lives with decent incomes, but it can also help build bridges between communities.
Besides enjoying a beautiful store filled with friendly people, an employee at the store, Caroline, commented on the chance to feel that she is doing something good for people by selling the items that they have made.
The clothing in the store is made from natural fibres, such as alpaca, llama, and wool, she noted. In addition, the Ecuadorian owner of the store has brought in many unique items, such as three different blends of a fair trade coffee brand called Kichua, as well as many handmade items.
A shopper named Sarah Willman, looking for a gift for a friend, commented that she appreciates fair trade because it is “extremely important that producers are being paid fairly.” As other customers come to know the store better, they will likely find their own reasons for buying from a place that gives its producers a chance to flourish.
If consumers learn to understand and support the people of the Andes a bit better through the Fair Trade Alliance, the shop has achieved its purpose.
As the winter progresses and changes to spring, customers who want to buy something unique should consider visiting the store at its Grant Park location to see what is available. They might help to make a difference in the world.