Archive for February, 2011


our eBay store

Today’s the official day!  Check out our fair trade store on eBay!

Beleza on eBay

Beleza on eBay

eBay update

Our team is working on putting the store on ebay still. Today, Christian and I tried to put more lambas up, but for some reason ebay wouldn’t accept atll 27 of them so we’ll have to continue that later. Lindsay and I put up the alpaca and brass semiprecious bracelets and rings from our fair trade store as well as the pashmina scarves. We also had David Hunt from News Services, who is a public communication specialist, visit us today and take pictures for an article that will be posted in the ncsu.edu website about our fair trade store, Beleza.

beleza in the news

We made it to the Technician, NC State’s Student Newspaper!  Check out the story:

Local Shop Founded on Fair Trade Philosophy

Beleza specials at the party

This just in!!! Beleza specials on Saturday:

10-2 PM: E V E R Y T H I N G in the store 20%-50% off!

2-4 PM: Lucky prize! Draw a prize from a jar – discounts for 20% off, 50% off and FREE products!

Click here to RSVP to the event on Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=131457720256058

eBay can be personal, too

We’ve taken some steps to make sure our eBay store has a personal touch: one difference between our old online fair trade store and the eBay one is that we don’t have complete control over its appearance.  We can modify a lot of settings, but in the end eBay is eBay.  This is great because it’s a familiar and highly functional interface for customers.  However, it might seem a little impersonal.

Here are some things we’re doing to set ourselves apart from other eBay stores:

  • writing catchy product descriptions that say more than the specs of each product
  • including information on the artisans
  • putting the story of Beleza on our seller profile
  • using pictures of ourselves to model the jewelry (no worries, you won’t have to see any of the guys modeling)

I think we’re all having a lot of fun with this project; it’s definitely keeping us busy but I’m really enjoying myself!

We don't want to be this guy.

Another day’s work

Today I learned how to put the fair trade store‘s items on ebay. This is not a hard task, just time consuming.  Tomorrow Lindsey and IJ are going to take more pictures to put up for the store, hopefully they’ll portray the lambas in a way that provides the customer with a better view of them. By putting our items on ebay, our fair trade store is hopefully going to become more successful.

beleza products are beautiful

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Here are some of the pictures that Lindsay and IJ took last weekend.  These are all fair trade products.

major milestone!

Our pagerank for http://www.shopbeleza.com increased from a 3 to a 4!!!  This is huge!  Thanks to all of the other interns for their help over the past several months.

page rank

We are one step closer on the path to universal recognition!

under the fair trade label: cryptic coffee

lesson of the day:  fair trade impacts the coffee industry differently from other industries: in order for a farmer to get the fair trade label, she must sell her beans to a local distributor.  this distributor will combine her beans with other farmers’ beans to create a mixed product.  as a result, the farmer gets a lower price than they would selling directly to a buyer in the US.  therefore… the coffee growers with the best quality coffee don’t need fair trade.  instead, institutional conflict behind the fair trade distributors acts as a crutch to producers who make bad products – fair trade can sustain bad quality coffee.

I learned all of this by calling Global Village, our local organic café on Hillsborough.  Take note that fair trade itself is not the reason that the coffee producers earn less – the distributors who are fair-trade certified cause the price to go down.  But, the distributors are the ones who are “fair trade certified.”  What we need to do to fix this is to encourage NGOs like the Fair Trade Federation (FTF) to certify individual farmers instead of distributors.

In an example, the owner of Global Village has chosen to pay a small farmer in Nicaragua directly for his coffee because the quality is unbeatable.  If he bought it from the distributor, it would be mixed with everyone else’s lower-quality coffee.  But now he can’t call it fair trade, even though he has paid the farmer more.

The fair trade practices at Beleza are such that the owner either pays the artisans directly or through a co-op.  Again, because we are not working with a fair-trade certified distributor, the products aren’t necessarily “fair trade certified.”  But what’s the ultimate goal?  Having a stamp of approval or directly improving the lives of the producers?