Since it's my spring break, my mom and I planned a local shopping extravaganza. Our plan was to hit the local, "little man" stores that we never make our way to. They're the fun gift shop stores that we just find ourselves moseying through when we have some down time. Obviously that doesn't happen a lot. But what a blessing it was to be able to have fun with my mom out today and browse some of the amazing stores we have close to us. Each shop we went to is locally owned and most contain fair trade products.
We found the cutest stuff! We also found quite a few stores that helped rejuvenate the "artsy fartsy", creative side of us. My mom was a wonderful hippy, granola gal herself when she was younger (still is deep down) and she pulls that out of me quite a bit. I love it. (I think it all started when they dressed me in tie-died shirts, took me to gobs of arts and crafts fairs when I was little, signed me up for art classes as an itty bitty, and took my little bro and me hiking at every chance they got...I even learned to "potty" in the woods at a very young age...not easy for a girl.)
Check out some of our great finds today! (My mom was sweet and purchased a few of these as "spring break treats" for me!)
-Sketchbook made from recycled paper
-Drawing pencil and eraser
-Two art canvases
-Birthday gift for someone (not pictured so it's a surprise)
*The art supplies came from two local art supply stores we found that we had no idea even existed. They were an artist's dream. I got lost in those stores (both literally and figuratively). Amazing items for awesome prices. Perfect to get that artist within me stirring again. (That side of me sadly takes a back seat during the school year.)
*The headband was bought at a local fair trade store. It was handmade in Guatemala. Almost the entire proceeds of the sale will go back to the community in which the headband was created.
*And the change purse? This one went straight to my heart. On the tag it has the specific name of the lady that created this in Guatemala with her own hands. Macaria Quisquina. It also has the specific community in which she lives checked. These Mayan women are directly benefited from the purchase of their handmade items. From this small purchase...something that seems so small to me...Macaria receives proceeds to go toward her family for food and schooling. Amazing.
So what is all this "buying local" and "fair trade" talk all about? It's all about making choices about where you spend your money to benefit others and your own community. (And no, it was not created by Al Gore, it's not a party-specific way to shop, ha, and it is not for specifically "green" people. Just in case you were wondering.)
In a nutshell....
Fair trade means the items were created without any harm to others (think, "no sweatshops") because it honors the producers and consumers of the product, the communities in which the product is created or sold, and also the environment. Fair trade products means that the individual that created the product will receive appropriate wages for their trade....wages that will go toward necessities such as food, shelter, clothing, education, and medical care.
Buying local means that at least 45 cents of every dollar you spend will go back to the local economy, a huge increase to the 15 cents that will be returned locally when you purchase items at a corporate chain store. You are assisting local merchants in your own community, keeping jobs in the community, helping keep local options available, and simply doing a good deed. I may be a little partial coming from entrepreneur parents....but who doesn't want to support a small business?
So my challenge to you is to find some local shops, preferably that sells some or all fair trade items, and start supporting them! You'll be amazed by the quality of the products. The hullabaloo about things being more expensive in small businesses isn't always true, either. And personally, I don't mind to pay a dollar or two more knowing that I'm helping others in the great ways listed above.Happy local shopping! Be inspired.
(If you know me beyond blogging world and live in the area...let me know and I can give you specific store names and locations if you're interested. I just don't wanna disclose that on here due to all the "creepies" out there in internet world.)