Mother Earth Living

Product of the Week: Global Sistergoods Fair Trade Gifts

Global Sistergoods sells fair trade accessories, gifts and home décor that help support women in developing countries.
By Susan Melgren
January 2010 Web
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Made by women in Kenya, these earrings give new life to old soda cans. Shevaun's Recycled Earrings come in two varieties: silver and Spite can , or brass and Fanta can. At 2.5 inches long, they’re flashy and fun to wear. Pair of earrings: $14
Photo Courtesy Global Sistergoods

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Global Sistergoods sells fair trade gifts, but it’s more than just a fair trade company. It’s a place for women around the globe to connect and a platform to support causes important to women. Founded by two sisters with an interest in women’s issues and equitable international development, the site sells fair trade jewelry, handbags, home décor items, children’s toys and more. Through its sales, Global Sistergoods, a member of the Fair Trade Federation, gives female artisans the technical support they need on issues ranging from exporting and setting price points to product design and development, and in that way the company helps earn these women a living.

In addition to being fair trade, many of the items on Global Sistergoods’ website are made from recycled materials:

Shevaun’s Recycled Earrings: Made by women in Kenya, these earrings give new life to old soda cans. They come in two varieties: silver and Spite can , or brass and Fanta can. At 2.5 inches long, they’re flashy and fun to wear. Pair of earrings: $14

Autumn’s Bike Chain Picture Frame: Made from a recycled bike chain by women in India, this 5-inch-by-7-inch picture frame is surprisingly stylish for home décor made from industrial materials. Picture frame: $19

Telephone Wire Bowls: Women in South Africa turned recycled telephone wire into these funky, colorful baskets, which are perfect for holding small items or just bringing some life to your countertops and shelves. One bowl: $45

The company’s website also brings a new dimension to fair trade shopping. You can search for different types of products, or you can search for products that support a specific cause. Many of the artisans that Global Sistergoods partners with are often part of a nonprofit or non-governmental organization that provides services to the artisans apart from marketing their goods. For example, the Kenyan organization that Global Sistergoods partners with employs disabled workers.

One purchase can go a long way. By buying fair trade items from Global Sistergoods, you can help employ disabled workers, provide education, help advance access to health care or aid refugees in developing countries. You can further the good will of your purchase by going to the “Gifts that Give Back” section of the website. This page allows you to dedicate 5 percent of your sale to a U.S.-based partner, all of which focus on women’s issues. Global Sistergoods’ current partners include the Rural Development Institute, which promotes women’s land rights; Hands to Hearts, which trains women orphanage workers in India; StoveTeam International, which provides healthy indoor stoves for households in Central America; the Women’s Earth Alliance, which coordinates international resources for women working on environmental issues; and Dress for Success, which provides professional attire for low-income and returning-to-work women in the U.S.

More about fair trade products

• Test your knowledge of the fair trade market with our Fair Trade Quiz.

• Help support a Pakistani family; buy a fair trade rug.

• Relax with fair trade massage oils, soaps and body products from Mystic Masala.

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