Monday, September 24, 2012

Fair Trade Fair

Think about this: Just one Fair Trade purchase from every American churchgoer 
this Christmas would lift one million families out of abusive poverty for one whole year.  

I've been dreaming about a Fair Trade Fair in our town for years.  I was really excited when my friend, Juliette, said she has had the same vision and was willing to help make this market a reality.  Juliette is a Type-A, organized, go-getter, so she's basically the reason this market has moved from the "I'd love for this to happen" phase to the "Get out!  I can't believe this is actually happening" phase.  What would this world be like without Type A's?  If you've been dreaming of a Fair Trade Fair in your town, I wanted to pass along some information that will hopefully inspire you and give you some great pointers for getting your market ready.

1.  Form a Team

Thankfully, a solid group of women from our church and from our community have offered to help us before, during, and after the Fair.  If you live locally and want to help out, let me know!  Our market will run for two days, and we will have a lot of products available.  We'll need plenty of people to help spread the word, set up, man the tables during the event, and help us pack up and return the products we don't sell.  Without a team, this would be impossible.  Even if your event will be smaller, it would still be nice to have some help.  Maybe you'll get lucky and even end up with a "Juliette" on your team.

2.  Pick a Location

You could host the Fair Trade Market in your home or at your church. If you don't want to host the event at your home or having it at your church won't work, it might be nice to think of a local business that can hopefully benefit in some way from hosting the Fair Trade Fair at their location. Our first choice was a local frame/art gallery.  Thankfully, Greta, the owner goes to our church.  She is a huge supporter of the arts and is graciously giving us some space for the fair in her gallery. I'm personally hoping that having the market at The Frame Gallery will not only be a great venue for our market, but will also encourage guests to shop locally and buy some of the fabulous art and products in Greta's shop.  Plus, we get to hang out with Greta for the weekend.  That's what I call a win-win.

3.  Decide what Products You want to Sell

There are several fair trade businesses that will allow you to order product, sell what you can, and then return the products that do not sell.  There is no financial risk involved!  Here's a great list of companies that offer product on consignment:

Come Together Trading

If you live near the Dallas area you can pick up a large variety of great fair trade products from this Texas-based company.  There is no risk involved.  Simply return the items that do not sell.


This organization has been around for a very long time.  They work directly with farmers and artisans in developing worlds.  They offer a large variety of product to choose from for a fair trade market. Once again, there is no risk involved.  To find out how to host a Servv Sale, go here.

Apparent Project

One of my favorite companies, Apparent Project in Haiti, is working to keep families together by teaching Haitians a craft.  The jewelry from The Apparent Project is beautiful.  Apparent Project will send you a party box filled with an assortment of jewelry (and other items if requested.)  Sell what you can and return the rest.  Email to get the ball rolling.

Batik Boutique

This is an incredible company making a huge difference in the lives of women in Malaysia.(Our friends run this company).
You can find beautiful scarves, products for kids, and baby slings at the Batik Boutique.  To order products, risk free, for your Fair Trade 
Market, email

Global Mamas

You can find a variety of products to sell at your Fair Trade Market from Global Mamas.  Simply contact them at or call 800-338-3032.

4.  Spread the Word

Did you know anyone can write a press release and submit it to the media?  As long as your Fair Trade Market is not for profit, most media outlets don't mind spreading the word free of charge.  We've also created a Facebook group for our market, and will count on Facebook a great deal to get the word out to people in our community.  On our Facebook page, we'll post photos of the products we'll have available. Hopefully this will get people excited about all the great products they can find at the Fair Trade Fair.  Don't forget to contact local churches and let them know about your market.  We'll ask to hang up posters at local churches and businesses.

I'm really excited about the Fair Trade Fair this year.   Have you ever hosted or organized a Fair Trade Market?  If so, got any pointers for us? 
Know of any other companies that offer products on consignment without any risk?

My next project - spending way too much time on Pinterest looking for display ideas.  Got any simple display ideas that you love?


Carrie said...

We're doing this same thing at our church in November - great minds think alike! We're still looking for vendors, so I will contact some of the ones you've listed. We're in Virginia so we won't be competition!:)

Anonymous said...

How long did this all take to organize? If I started now, worked really hard, and already have a location... Do you think we could pull it off this year at my church?

Carrie said...

I have about 20 vendors coming to my fair, but they are not all certified fair trade, but all work with marginalized woman or microenterprise ventures. Would you like my list?

Hendrick Family said...

Yes! Carrie. I'd love it. My email -

Thanks! Keep me posted on your fair. I'd love to see pictures and hear how it went.


nicole moses said...

Heather/ Carrie-

I am organizing one in Greenwood, SC now too! Would you mind to share more vendors with me as well? My email is

Dollar Store Merchandise said...

Thank you for providing such great info and service. More power to you!

Christine said...

I would love a list of your vendors as well. I would like to try and make something like this (on a very small scale!) happen late November in my home. Any way you could email a list? I sold Apparent Project jewelry last year, thanks to hearing about it from your blog! Are there other vendors like that who will send you a box of items to sell, with you returning the unwanted pieces. Thanks!!

Christine said...

Oops... email is