Hello Friends of Fair Trade!
When we talk about Fair Trade, we can include a variety of facets. First and foremost, Fair Trade means a fair price for the artisan, but Fair Trade also encompasses nine other principles recognized by the World Fair Trade Organization.
The 10th principle on that list is Respect of the Environment, and Mai Vietnamese Handicrafts exemplifies this by supplying recycled coiled magazine products. Mai Vietnamese Handicrafts was founded in 1991 as a program to assist Vietnamese street children who could not pay for school tuition and lacked the necessary legal papers. Since schooling in Vietnam is now offered for free, Mai has expanded its focus to marginalized ethnic minorities and disadvantaged women in rural regions. Mai works with several craft production companies by providing marketing and design assistance, and 90 percent of the 1,669 artisans working for Mai are women. Some of the proceeds from the sales of handicrafts still go to the program for children.
The small business that makes the coiled magazine products, GAP Co. Ltd. based in Ho Chi Minh City, was founded and began working with Mai in 2006. The popularity of these products has allowed this small business to expand from 15 employees to 20 workers coiling paper in the workshop and 40 workers folding paper from their home. The paper comes from excess printings, purchased from a publishing house, that would otherwise be thrown away. Artisans use traditional basket-making techniques to create super fun, contemporary, eco-friendly coiled magazine bowls. Check out these new, smaller “World News” bowls:
You can also enjoy some of Mai’s other amazing products — like this Silk Market Jacquard Pillow, which was recently featured in Austin Woman magazine’s “Home” issue! It’s also available as a cool circular yoga pillow.
Mai’s products are incredibly diverse, too. They also paint these koi fish paperweights by hand:
And here’s everyone’s favorite measuring tape:
Lastly, don’t forget these fun and deliciously fragrant cinnamon bark boxes: