Posts filed under ‘Uncategorized’

Fair Trade Sales Soar

It’s a New Year and the number of fair trade products is expanding, you can see this just by walking down an isle of the grocery store. This growing number of products, choices and availability is a direct response to consumer demand. That means you! First, sales are no longer small: retail sales of Fair Trade items passed $6 billion worldwide in 2010, growing 27% over 2009. Sales in just the U.S. since 1998 have generated additional income paid to producers, beyond normal market rates, of $220 million. As of 2011, 827 producer organizations in 58 developing countries are Fair trade Certified. (3)

“Fair Trade is part of a larger movement about corporate social responsibility, influenced by the public’s desire to deal with companies that are (committed) to workplace quality, the environment and employee well-being.”
~ Mac McCoy, president, dZi–The Tibet Collection (2)

When we make the choice to buy fair trade products we support producers on many levels. Unlike mainstream trade agreements fair trade agreements are rooted in supporting farmers and artisans. These relationships often lead to an increase in a producer group’s ability improve their daily lives. Sales from fair trade products pay for community development, to build schools, provide clean drinking water, pay for sickness benefit and pilot organic conversion schemes among other things. In conventional trade, the producer generally receives only 1% of the retail price consumer’s pay but in Fair Trade the producer generally receives 20 – 45% of the retail price. (3)

Fair trade products have financed a magnitude of programs that impact producers lives daily. The Union of Indigenous Communities of the Isthmus coffee growing cooperative in Oaxaca dedicated funds from the sale of Fair trade products for a variety of social purposes. They paid for the construction of latrines; fuel-efficient household stoves to reduce disease, smoke related respiratory problems; training local youth as community development workers. But also for environmentally focused activities for combating deforestation, and training young people in appropriate composting technologies intercropping of coffee and legumes, animal husbandry, and alternative food and cash cropping. At the Majomunt’s organic coffee cooperative in Chiapas, Mexico the soil conservation used has helped reduce soil loss erosion by 38,000 tons per year. In these ways fair trade is helping to preserve cultural identity and pride. (4)

A significant number of studies identified increased self-confidence gained by producers particularly women who participate in fair trade.

Sonia Anahue Uscamayta

“In the beginning when we were struggling to make money and find customers, when one person would want to give up, the others were beside them and encouraging them to stick with it.” – Sonia Anahue Uscamayta has been working in Peru with the Munay Rumi jewelry cooperative for four years. (1)

There is evidence that participation in fair trade improves quality of life for producers as well as product quality. Relationships between buyers and producers are long term when fair trade. This leads to substantial improvements in product quality as long-term direct trade relationships create incentive improve in years to come. Producers are allowed to plan for the future they can depend on stability; both their buyers and their market thanks to fair trade  products. Murry et al (2003) reported that the Majomunt cooperative in Chiapas is planning for the future by investing in a community organic farming promoter, which has allowed farmers to convert their coffee and other crops to higher-income generating, diversified and more ecologically sound production. (4)

“With Fair Trade we have an incentive to invest in social programs that benefit producers and the community. We also receive higher incomes to sustain ourselves. If it weren’t for Fair Trade, we wouldn’t exist as banana producers since the amount we receive for a box of conventional bananas does not cover our expenses.” ~ Edinson Cabana Zapata, co-op member, ASOPROBAN banana cooperative, Colombia (2)

When we buy Fair Trade products, we know that:

  • Artisans and farmers are paid a fair and livable wage
  • No child labor is involved
  • Safe working conditions are provided
  • Environmentally sustainable production methods are used.
  • Profits are reinvested into the community for education, health care, and social services
  • Communities become self-sustaining and can raise themselves out of poverty

Thanks for supporting fair trade!

Works Cited

1. “Crafting Change: Fair Trade Artisan Tour.” Green America: Economic Action for a Just Planet. Web. 19 Jan. 2012. <;.

2. Fair Trade Community. Web. 24 Jan. 2012. <;.

3. Fair Trade Resource Network » Our Goal: To Create a Market That Values the People Who Make the Food We Eat and the Goods We Use. Web. 24 Jan. 2012. <;.

4. Nelson, Valerie, and Barry Pound. “The Last Ten Years: A Comprehensive Review of Literature on the Impact of Fairtrade.” Review. Print.

5. “Fairtrade Certification.” Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 24 Jan. 2012. <;.




January 30, 2012 at 8:34 pm 2 comments

Marigold sponsors this year’s bike commuter contest

Marigold is an annual sponsor of the Bike Commuter Contest. This week we wanted to highlight another sponsor who is also a fair trade business based in Olympia and works with a women’s co-op in Togo, West Africa to create shea butter products such as lotions, creams, hair care and now baby products! Alaffia is not only selling great fair trade products but they are also involved in a number of community projects such as the “Bikes for Togo” project. For the past 5 years, Alaffia has collected used bikes at fundraisers across the country and sent them by container full to  Togo. These bikes help girls access to education by proving means of transportation for the girls to get to school. To read more about the project , Alaffia and the Commuter Contest  visit:

May 25, 2011 at 8:14 pm Leave a comment

Olympia Joins SweatFree Consortium

After an incredible weekend at the National SweatFree Summit, we are thrilled to announce that Olympia has officially joined the Sweatfree Consortium! For over 9 years, the South Sound Clean Clothes Campaign, a coalition of Olympia, Tumwater, and Lacey students, union members, people of faith, and concerned citizens have been working to raise awareness about the sweatshop industry, and challenge individuals as well as public and private institutions to create positive change by altering their purchasing practices.

At Olympia’s final City Council meeting in 2009, the council voted unanimously to join the Consortium. Now the official papers have been signed and Olympia will join cities and states throughout the country as members of the Sweatfree Purchasing Consortium which “assists member governments in meeting their goals for responsible sweatshop-free purchasing.  It meets a critical need for information about supplier factories by providing expertise and pooling resources to monitor working conditions and enforce “sweatfree” procurement standards”.

This weekend Marigold staff joined over 50 sweatfree activists throughout the country gathered in Olympia for a series of workshops and strategy sessions.

Pictured here is Liana from Sweatfree Communitites, Trina from Intl Labor Rights Forum and Reynaldo Corporan Donastorg, FEDOTRAZONAS Union, Dominican Republic.

November 17, 2010 at 8:36 am 2 comments

Part 4 of “Fair Trade from the Seed to the Consumer”: The Retailer & Consumer

In recognition of Fair Trade Month, Marigold Fair Trade Clothing has a new blog series entitled: “Fair Trade From the Seed to the Consumer.” Our beautiful, fashion-forward products represent a completely fair trade supply chain, and you can be assured that from the cotton seed to the finished product, your Marigold purchase is helping to transform the lives of workers and t heir communities. Holding true to our value of transparency, and in an effort to educate and advocate for the Fair Trade model, we are opening up, and explaining, our complete value chain to the consumer public.

In Part 4 (and the final installment of this series), we will explore the fourth major link in the supply chain, and the one that you are probably most familiar with: Distribution & The Consumer.

In addition to selling directly to our consumers at events around the Seattle, Washington, area, and through our online catalog and shopping cart, we have the privilege of working with an amazing set of 60+ retailers across the country. Marigold is based on a wholesaler model, and so we really rely on our retail partners to spread the word about fair trade and distribute our products to the end consumer. We love working in close collaboration with stores to develop new products that suit the needs of their customers, and it is our goal to make the decision to buy fair trade an easy one!

In order to reach the biggest audience we can, staff at Marigold frequently speak at colleges, schools, community groups, festivals and events to share our story and spread the word about fair trade. We are also often involved in ethical fashion shows and stay involved in the local and global fair trade community through our social media sites. By staying connected to the movement, we can speak directly to retailers who may be entertaining the idea of offering ethical fashion and housewares, but we can also engage in a direct dialogue with you, our consumer. Our distributors are essential to our success, but we also love to hear directly from our consumers. You can tell us what’s hot, what’s not, and offer general feedback on our products and what you would like to see Marigold offer next.

We recently spoke to a Marigold supporter who was a winner of one of our blog contests, and then went on to order our beautiful Paisley Skirt. Here is what she had to say:

“I buy fair trade because I believe that I’m making a difference in the global community and enjoy influencing business and consumer trends toward the greater good. Because I care about what I buy, it’s great to find a central location where I can freely shop without worrying about where the products were made or under what kind of conditions.  At Marigold I have the assurance that everything is fair trade and can be confident that everything I buy is making the world a better place.  Marigold has a lot of options and some really great designs, and I especially love the paisley skirt – it’s very comfortable, flattering, and also very versatile so that I can wear it to work with more formal accessories, or for play with sandals.”

At the core of Marigold’s values is the idea of transparency, which is exactly what inspired us to open up our supply chain to the public with this blog series. We consider ourselves to not only be a fair trade clothing designer and wholesaler, but also an organization that spurs discussion, innovation and change. We want our retailers and consumers to feel engaged with Marigold, and know that you are playing a large part in furthering the fair trade movement.

The conventional garment industry, and what we have come to accept as normal and the law of the land, is one of secrecy and an impossibly long and convoluted supply chain that makes it difficult for consumers to know the story of the product. Marigold’s business model turns this antiquated system on its head by giving the consumer complete insight into the production process. We have no secrets, and because of this, when you purchase a Marigold product, you can be sure that you are getting the complete, honest, and fair history of the item.

October 26, 2010 at 1:00 am Leave a comment

FREE FAIR TRADE FRIDAY Giveaway: Win an amazing organic napkin set!

This is the second installment in our giveaway series celebrating Fair Trade Month.  We have a giveaway every Friday during the month of October so make sure to check back each week to win!


One lucky winner will receive a beautiful handmade napkin set for 6 people!  Liven up a dinner party or enjoy a daily infusion of rich saturated vegetable-based color and traditionally hand blocked prints with an exclusive FREE gift from the Marigold House Wares collection.


  1. To win this week’s prize, post a comment to THIS week’s blog post with your answer to the question: “Why do you support Fair Trade?”
  2. Follow us online for a bonus second entry:
  3. Have fun and good luck!


  • We will choose our favorite blog comment from that week’s post and that person will be declared the winner of that particular contest. Creativity counts!
  • The winner will receive a direct message about how to collect the prize
  • Entries must be received by 8:00pm PST on Saturday October 16, 2010
  • Odds of winning depend on the number of entries received

October 14, 2010 at 9:00 pm 2 comments

Marigold at the Fair Trade Futures Conference in Boston

Marigold Fair Trade had the immense pleasure of attending the Fair Trade Futures Conference this past month in Boston, MA. On Friday and Saturday night we set up a colorful table and rack with Marigold house-wear and clothing. There were over 70 other tables full of beautiful goods from all over the world and Marigold was a popular spot with the over 750 people who attended the conference.

It was inspiring to be among so many other people dedicated to fair trade. From Peruvian coffee farmers to students majoring in fair trade, to activists. to shop owners, to wholesalers like us, there were so many dedicated, curious and passionate people brought together under one roof. Throughout the conference we attended discussion forums and talks about ways to support one another, teach our communities and support the cooperatives we work with. The conference reinforced the reasons we work for Fair Trade and in the faces of the hundreds attendees, showed us that this is a growing movement!

October 13, 2010 at 4:27 pm Leave a comment

Part 1 of “Fair Trade From the Seed to the Consumer”: Organic Cotton Farming

In recognition of Fair Trade Month, Marigold Fair Trade Clothing is starting a new blog series entitled: “Fair Trade From the Seed to the Consumer.” Our beautiful, fashion-forward products represent a completely fair trade supply chain, and you can be assured that from the cotton seed to the finished product, your Marigold purchase is helping to transform the lives of workers and their communities. Holding true to our value of transparency, and in an effort to educate and advocate for the Fair Trade model, we are opening up, and explaining, our complete value chain to the consumer public.

In Part 1 of our series, we will explore the first link in the Marigold supply chain: Organic Cotton Farming.

For the past three years, and especially since the summer of 2010, Marigold has been expanding our line to include more organic cotton products, while staying committed to fair trade and artisan design. We believe that it is important to support farming that does not employ harmful practices and that protects both the environment and the workers.

Marigold plays a part in growing the movement by offering clothing and housewares made from organic cotton that does not use agro chemicals that destroy our environment by contaminating water supplies, destroying soil nutrients, and harming wildlife. Along with the environmental impact of industrial practices, farmers also suffer from exposure to chemicals and experience ailments such as severe skin and digestion problems, and fatal diseases, including cancer.

In addition to having to deal with on the job health issues, cotton farmers in India often do not receive a fair enough price to cover production costs and many have been forced to borrow money at extortionate rates. Unable to repay debts or support their families, suicide is common, and in the Amravati district of Maharashtra alone, there are 5,000 farmer suicides every year. Over the past two years Marigold has been buying our organic cotton from an organization based in Andrah Pradesh that helps farmers to escape the spiraling debt and increase their income by 50%. Since the organization started working in 2006 there have been no suicides amongst the 6,000 farmers we work with. Through our company’s cotton sourcing standards, farmers have regained their dignity through self determination and through fair trading conditions.

Stay tuned next week for Part 2: Cloth Production and Block Printing. In the mean time, what are your thoughts on organic farming practices? Do you think it’s important to support the movement through your purchases of organic cotton clothing and other products?

October 13, 2010 at 4:51 am 4 comments

Older Posts

Share this blog

Bookmark and Share

Join 1,412 other followers

Twitter Updates

%d bloggers like this: