Fair Trade in Austin is Breaking New Ground
-written by Kitty Bird, Ten Thousand Villages Store Manager
I’ve jumped feet first into a whole new world. My feet are stumbling over planning permits, three pole switches and paint cans to launch a much larger Ten Thousand Villages store on Burnet Road in Austin, Texas. This new world, although confusing at times, is very exciting, especially knowing our new store is going to be nearly double in size and will feature parking lots – more than one… with actual parking spaces!
Sadly, we have to move from our current home of more than ten years on South Congress Avenue. We will miss our neighbors and the eclectic and spontaneous atmosphere that South Congress exudes. Really, anything can happen at anytime. Remember Guitar Shawn? Or the rush hour horseback riders in the bike lane and the fair trade parade of 2014?
Leaving South Congress is bittersweet.
Helping to sustain the livelihoods of thousands of people in Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East is what we do. We work with over 114 artisan groups who count on our orders for long term, fair, sustainable income. They are waiting on our orders so they can work hard, produce product and earn income. With a bigger location, we will increase our orders to artisans, provide a larger selection of beautiful fair trade merchandise and expand fair trade in Austin. To achieve this we have to leave South Congress.
In 2014, the Ten Thousand Villages network of stores created over 7 million dollars in sustainable income for 20,000 artisans in 34 underdeveloped countries around the world. Our mission is long term. Artisans I met in Bangladesh, Kenya, Uganda and India all demanded of me on more than one occasion; “Send us more orders!” They are counting on us and we are counting on our network of fair traders and the Austin community.
Our Burnet road location will be bigger and better than ever. But we aren’t there yet. Our February roll out has been held back a month due to permitting issues. Our new place needs some TLC and unexpected build out costs have overwhelmingly surpassed our budget. This is where we need your help.
We are asking for donations in any dollar amount to help us cover our relocation costs so we can continue to provide a fair trade destination for beautiful, handmade and eco-friendly products from people around the world.
Please donate HERE what you can to support our sustainable, fair trade mission here in Austin. Remember our vision, and help us achieve it: that one day all artisans in the developing countries will earn a fair wage, be treated with dignity and respect and be able to live a life of quality.
Thank you advance for your support. Stay tuned for more exciting updates as we discover all the gems and surprises in our new neighborhood. Plus we have some really exciting new fair trade products on the way!
More to come…. Kitty