It's Fairtrade Fortnight which means we are all about sharing the importance of buying ethical, fairly traded and sustainable products! The Fairtrade Foundation are leading the way with promotion for fairtrade certified foods and ingredients.
The Fair Trade Mark was developed to give the most disadvantaged producers in the world support by using trade as a tool for sustainable development. It was designed for commodity products, such as bananas, chocolate, coffee and gold. Farmers are supported within cooperatives, that help them to gain a fair price for their crops, improve their farming practices, receive a living wage and become more economically stable with reliable buyers. This is the same principle I believe in with AURA QUE - that it is best to help people through sustainable trade and empower individuals to help themselves through opportunities to work for a living wage.
All handicraft products, including our range at AURA QUE, cannot be officially fairtrade certified due to their complexity, with many components and varied materials and processes used for craft products. However we do work with handicraft and cooperative members of the World Fair Trade Organisation and work with the 10 principles of Fair Trade with all our producer groups, to ensure all our products are ethically handmade.
My focus at AURA QUE over the last ten years, has been to develop product ranges building on our Nepalese artisans existing skills, and try to consistently order with them throughout the year. The last thing I want to do is give one off orders and I try to balance the product range with our core artisan groups that I have worked with for many years as our designs develop – its been a steep learning curve as a solo business owner! I have had to be incredibly hands on - developing skills in the leather factory, sourcing new handmade materials, and cycling round Kathmandu between producer groups like a mad woman!
NLT Staff Photo
Some of our products are developed through WFTO cooperatives in Kathmandu who are a central hub for very small producer groups with specific skills such as our Dhaka weaving, yak & raw silk scarves and new brass jewellery range. By working with these co-operatives, they help to get the products ready for export and manage the paperwork that the small producer is unable to manage. I always meet all our artisan groups directly before working with them and visit them regularly to develop new products and catch up!