I am late getting a friend of mine a wedding gift. Actually, I think I am about 6 months late but I think you have up to a year to send a gift, so there is plenty of wiggle room. A couple of weekends ago, I took the bus down to Denver to get my hair cut and stopped in this shop called Ten Thousand Villages. From the outside it looked like it would be a typical ethnic shop with your standard offerings of ornately carved dark woods and woven blankets. They did have some of those things but they also had an amazing variety of items produced by artisans all over the world.
This store was staffed by volunteers, who explained how the store operates and the goal behind the shop. Now, I think if I remember correctly, the artisans are given half up front so they are not waiting on the sale and then given the remaining amount once an item is sold. More importantly, the programs strives to promote fair trade practices with their artisans. There were a couple of pages on their site that further define fair trade and they were:
I particularly liked this one:
Fair Trade means that women’s work is properly valued and rewarded. Women are always paid for their contribution to the production process and are empowered in their organizations.
as I think most countries struggle with pay inequalities.
I bought a salad bowl and spoons made by someone in Kenya. I wonder if something like this would work here, where the works of young artists are promoted in a similar way. It would promote local artisans and local resources and the cost of shipping would be less. If you are interested, the store is located in the Cherry Creek area.