Monday, April 25, 2011

Fair trade soap!!!!

Hi it's Caroline!
I have to say, if there's one thing that gets me REALLY excited, it would have to be soap. And yes, I said soap, as in the slimy lump that is sitting on the bottom of your  bathtub right now. Seriously, I really love it. :) In Red Bank, the next town over from Fair Haven, there's a shop called the Soap Market. Judging on my first sentence, you can guess my reaction to that store :) When Ginger and I went on our little fair trade adventure earlier this year, one of the stores listed as fair trade was Soap Market. When we finally got there, we found there were 2 kinds of fair trade soap in the store. So, I took one brand, and Ginger took the other. Of course, I've completely forgotten what brand of soap Ginger has, but I have mine!
My soap:
Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps
All-One Hemp Almond Pure-Castile Soap
This soap supports fair trade, organic agriculture, and a healthy environment.
My review:
The soap was very light and clean, plus it smelled really good, like sweet almonds. The only thing I didn't like was that the scent faded way too quickly, like after 3 minutes. Overall, I really liked this soap, plus it's 100% vegan, and packaged in recycled paper. :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Why I Care

Hey its Ginger!

Today I wanted to talk about how I learned about fair trade things, and why I care now.
I knew about fair trade for a long time because of Ten Thousand Villages in Red Bank where my sister volunteered and I spent a lot of time in. Even though this was a great source of information it never really hit me until I went.

on a social justice trip to Dominican Republic the summer of 2010. On this trip I went and visited a fair trade factory in Villa Altagracia that makes Alta Gracia clothing. There, a manager explained how these workers got fair wages, fair rules and a clean environment. The workers seemed happy and friendly toward us (they couldn't talk more than just a smile or wave because they were working). Alta Garcia, the fair trade clothing line, is affiliated with over 175 collages and universities.
After going to the factory I met with people who work in this Fair Trade factory that used to work in sweat shops. They described (through a translator) some of the things they used to go through every day to keep their job. They described violence in the factory, workers weren't allowed to take breaks (not even a bathroom break), no sick days, Pregnant women were fired.

and that's only the things I can remember.

So when I came back to the U.S.A. I felt like I had to do something. Even if it was just sharing experiences and knowledge. something.

At the end of the meeting with the workers, someone asked, "what can we do to help?" the answered, "talk. tell people about whats happening. Then try and influence people to buy things from fair trade consumers. Anything will help"

to learn more about Alta Gracia clothing line visit this website 


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Fair-Trade Clothing

Hi it's Caroline!
A few days ago, while I was reserching for my next blog, I decided to look up fair trade clothing. In the aspect of fair trade, clothes are probably one of the worst offenders. See, people will go and buy fair-trade coffee, or chocolate, but clothes? Yeah... no thanks. I see their point, thant a lot people are super-picky about the clothes they wear, or have an allergy to materials used in some clothes. I think that the real difference is that most clothing brands don't offer fair- trade clothing, and people aren't going out and looking for fair-trade clothing. I know we've all seen "made in China" printed on the tag of our shirts at least once, but does it make you think? About those workers in China, making the clothes you're wearing now? It's probabaly not fair-trade made clothing, so the workers probably don't have safe working conditions or even minimum-wage pay. Just so you can wear that nice shirt to school one day. People ask, "Why don't they just stop working there?" Like Ginger mentioned in one of her blogs, they can't, because there is literally no other work where they live. So maybe, if we buy from fair-trade companies, say Ten Thousand Villages, over non fair-trade companies, like Gap, or Target, we can convince these non fair-trade companies to incorperate some fair-trade items. I'm not saying you all have to stop shopping at stores that aren't fair-trade, since, let's face it, fair-trade companies don't make every single thing that we use daily, but just switching over small things, like coffee, a fair-trade shirt, maybe some skin care products, is what really makes a difference :)
  While I was reserching fair-trade clothing, I found the company Avatar Imports, an all fair-trade clothing company. This is probably one of my favorite things from there, thanks to the awesome owls on the front :)                       

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Where Fair Trade Red Bank Started

Hey it's Ginger again!
This was awhile ago when Caroline and I went to Red Bank to look at Fair Trade stores. 
Ten Thousand Villages plays a big role in making Red Bank a fair trade town to begin with. They have a TON of fair trade items in the store, and the people working can tell you where everything was made and sometimes even the person who made it.
This video was made for people to see what the store looks like on the inside of the store (it was also fun to just to play with the things they have in there.).  
Ten Thousand Villages is a chain that is in many different states in the US. I've seen them in both Connecticut and New York (around Albany I think). 

Take a look in one sometime. It's a great store to buy gifts because it is a gift that gives twice (it's the only store my dad will shop for Christmas gifts). 

For any questions e-mail us at
keep checking back on our blog. We update it at least once a week. 

See you next time! -Ginger 

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Why is This Important?

Hi it's Ginger!
Now that both Caroline and I have talked about some places we've been in town that have Fair Trade items it occurred to me that some people may be wondering why this has any importance whatsoever.
These two images appear on on fair trade items so you know what is or isn't fair trade when you are shopping.

Fair trade is about giving farmers or factory workers or other workers fair wages, safe working conditions, and avoids child labor. 
When you buy that coffee, chocolate, tea, anything really, you are paying someone, somewhere.  
The question is:
How much? 
Under what conditions? 
When buying fair trade products these questions do not need to be asked. Everyone is treated fairly in fair trade environments (hence the name).
A common question is: Do fair trade items cost more than non fair trade items? Not necessarily, when I bought fair trade items in Red Bank the other day I did not notice a vast difference in cost while purchasing. 
This may be surprising to some when I say that companies that are not fair trade sometimes are still extremely expensive. Not because of the supplies they need to make the product, because of the greedy "higher ups" of the company. It's simple really, they take money that the lower workers would be getting and move it into their large bulging paycheck.
Another common question: Why don't the workers that are being mistreated in sweatshops just quit?
My answer to this is that if they quit they will have no money whatsoever. In many cases the worker is getting by on the little amount of income they have for food and shelter and other basic supplies. If there was a factory next door that had a help wanted sign in the window. Then yes, they probably would quit. Unfortunately in many places this is simply not an option. In the slums of many countries there are tons of people looking for a job. If they quit there are plenty of people that are practically lined up to take the job.
The only way to stop this is through the buyers. Us. We can make a difference to these people if we make the effort together. 
If the companies realize that their businesses would grow if they changed the way they are treating their workers, chances are they probably would.

For any other questions e-mail  

Remember to follow our blog!          <3 Ginger