Tag Archive: fair trade

the girl effect

Last night, I went to a benefit dinner for a campus organization that my friends in Caldwell Fellows founded called Bricks Breaking Boundaries.  It is a response to the call for action in this year’s common reading initiative, “Half the Sky.”  In the book, the authors reveal that human sex trafficking is one of the major issues affecting women worldwide.

We heard a speaker from NC Stop Human Trafficking who discussed trafficking issues in our own back yard.  She proposed that to end trafficking worldwide there are many actions Americans can take in the form of activism.  She also told the audience the importance of how we spend our dollar, and devoted a good five minutes to the topic of fair trade.

After she presented, we had the chance to discuss with our tables and pose questions.  I was amazed that the entire conversation turned to fair trade.  Everyone wanted to know more about it and how it made a difference!  I am so glad that the word is getting out.  After the session, a student in nuclear engineering came up to me to ask me more information and we had a great discussion while on the bus.

We also watched this video, which will give an overview of the horrors facing impoverished girls around the world.

So…how does fair trade make a difference?  When a mother is able to make a higher income through fair trade, she can have savings.  These savings can pay for her daughter’s education, just like you saw in the movie.


eBay success!

I’m feeling good about the eBay project.  We had a few sales and the store has been up for about a month.  This is more than we ever would sell on the old store, which was also costing us a lot more to run per month.  eBay is much faster – with the combined help of Lindsay writing the descriptions, we’re getting the new Turkish jewelry put up.

PDail is talking about running a special to get people who live outside of Raleigh ordering products…It’s probably going to involve the store customers having an incentive to contact their friends/relatives and encourage them to get on our store!

If you still haven’t seen the site, check it out here:  http://stores.ebay.com/Beleza-jewelry-and-accessories

spring break

Hi everyone!  If you have landed here from either the Poole College of Management or the NCSU Bulletin, thanks for taking time to read about our project!  The interns are not in the “office” this week (aka the library); we are all going on break.

If this is the first time you have heard about our project, check out the rest of the blog!

Here are links to find out more:  Beleza Beleza on eBay

Interested in fair trade?  Contact me at ajmarti2@ncsu.edu

Also…some very good friends of mine from the Caldwell Fellows program are headed to Atencingo, México for spring break.  Check out Saul Flores’s story here: The Walk of the Immigrants

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:

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.

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?