Hello Hippie Go Lucky readers! Gabrielle asked if I could share a bit about my shop with you, share some items, and explain why I think fair trade is so important. I’m super excited for her interest, and am so honored to get to borrow her little corner of the internet today! But first of all, you might be wondering who the heck I am.
Well, I’m Dus. I have a little (life)style blog where I include a bit about my love of travel, eco-friendly living, and my style, which always includes some vintage and lots of Mexican, artisan goods, which I fell in love with while living in Mexico through a grant between 2010 and 2011. My husband and I are a car-free family and we’re passionate about living an eco-friendly lifestyle, supporting handmade and fairly made items, re-using and secondhand, and social entrepreneurship (the foundation for my shop and plans for several future endeavors!).
So, now onto my shop. My mission for Mitla Moda is to share some of the beautiful artisan traditions of Mexico with a greater public to make an, albeit small, contribution in maintaining their handicraft traditions and lifestyles. I’ve been interested in fairly made, fair trade items for some time, but really became passionate about creating a shop centered around it when my husband travelled to Oaxaca, Mexico and explored the artisan markets. Mexico, like many countries, has a very strong bargaining culture in the markets. This was all fine and well when we needed things for around the house, but it really saddened us to see people try to bargain down a detailed piece of handiwork to the price of a factory-made item.
The methods my husband and I used to determine a fair price for my shop items was nowhere near methodic based on time constraints (I worked full-time in Mexico City, so we were always on few-day trips). We did though, always let the artisans set the price, have conversations with the families to learn about the process and the time involved, and always ask who made the item to purchase from that individual, their family, or a neighbor (in the rural communities, neighbors often swapped items so they could have a more diverse offering at a table and would point to the person who made it, giving us another artisan meet). We avoided many larger, indoor markets where it was apparent the person was simply a local reseller so we could make sure the artisan benefited.
You can find many of the items I offer in my shop also on Etsy and Ebay, but sadly I’ve never seen any mention of fair trade or giving back to the communities that make their items (see “handmade or hand-picked” as a red flag, many are obvious resellers that do not explain their purchasing methods). Both of these items are key for my shop. I want to make sure that first, artisans felt happy in selling me the items they created, and secondly, that I can give back to their communities, which is the “más” part of my “fair trade más” motto. Especially in countries with low wages, when an individual takes the time to make something by hand, providing a fair initial price allows this person to continue his or her work.
When the item is a style and design that has been passed down through the generations, the need for fair trade rings even louder. I’m certainly not saying you should only purchase Mexican artisan goods from my shop, but wanted to tell you a bit about my experience, my shop, and send a general reminder about fair trade, whether it be apparel or even coffee and chocolate (some notoriously icky industrials you’ll also want to be careful of).
Thanks so much for featuring me Gabrielle and thanks for having me everyone! I’d love if you came and said hello over on my blog.