buy handmade http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/8118/all en-US Where and Why to Buy Fair Trade Goods http://www.wisebread.com/where-and-why-to-buy-fair-trade-goods <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/where-and-why-to-buy-fair-trade-goods" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/cambodian artisan.jpg" alt="Person creating fair trade goods" title="Person creating fair trade goods" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I love having unique home décor items that tell a story as well as brighten up my home. While you can get beautiful items at big box stores like Crate and Barrel, Bed Bath &amp; Beyond, and other retailers, nothing beats the beauty and uniqueness of handmade items. Sometimes I pamper myself and splurge on a handmade item from <a href="http://www.etsy.com">Etsy</a> or a product from a local artists fair, but another great way to get beautiful handmade home décor is to shop for fair trade goods. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-home-decorating-ideas-for-under-5">15 Home Decorating Ideas for Under $5</a>)</p> <p>Although it may seem counterintuitive, shopping fair trade isn&rsquo;t necessarily expensive. In fact, if you choose wisely, you can get a high-quality, authentic, handmade item for the same or a lower price than you can get a mass-produced piece from a big box store. And in addition to satisfying your own shopping desires, you have the added benefit of providing a fair wage to the artisan.</p> <p>The fair trade movement has become an increasingly widespread way to provide a decent living and better working conditions to workers from relatively impoverished backgrounds. Fair trade organizations aim to create markets for fair trade goods in wealthier areas, such as North America, while training and providing better living conditions for artisans living in developing countries. Because fair trade organizations are not aiming to maximize profits, they are able to provide better wages for workers while keeping prices affordable for us, cutting out the big corporations that usually take a huge cut of the profits. Fair prices for the goods must be agreed upon by all parties and reflect the time and effort that has been put into each piece.</p> <p>The fair trade movement has garnered some controversy, and while I don't have room to address those concerns in this article, I will say that I don't believe fair trade is perfect, or that it is the answer to the world's poverty problems. As with anything involving money, there is sure to be some corruption and dishonesty somewhere in the process of delivering goods to market. However, if I am faced with the choice of buying something from a big box store that mass manufactures goods with known unfair policies, or buying goods from a fair trader who hopefully is providing some benefit to the producer, I feel confident that buying fair trade is the better way to spend my limited cash. Having worked with a company that started a fair trade knitting co-op in Asia, I can say first-hand that the women in the knitting co-op were happy with their jobs and appreciated the opportunity to learn and use new skills. If you're uncertain about an item you wish you purchase, you may want to do further research into the company. Look for companies that are members of the <a href="http://www.fairtradefederation.org/">Fair Trade Federation</a>, <a href="http://www.wfto.com/">World Fair Trade Organization</a>, or other reputable groups to help ensure that the products you buy are truly fair trade.</p> <p>Some of my favorite fair trade goods to shop for are colorful blankets, throws, and scarves; affordable and unique jewelry; beautiful decorative sculptures; and bowls and colorful ceramics. It is a great idea to buy fair trade coffee, chocolate, and handicrafts, as these items, when obtained commercially, are often produced with unfair practices. The ubiquity of e-commerce has made fair trade goods available like never before. Below are a few excellent websites where you can browse and purchase beautiful fair trade items.</p> <h3>Ten Thousand Villages</h3> <p>This non-profit organization is a branch of the Mennonite Central Committee. <a href="http://www.tenthousandvillages.com/">Ten Thousand Villages</a> has retail stores around the nation as well as an extensive number of goodies available in their online store. I have purchased gifts from them several times and they always ship quickly and package their goods well. Many of their items are very affordable, especially considering how unique they are!</p> <h3>Connected</h3> <p>This pretty website sources its items primarily from companies that are members of the Fair Trade Federation and World Fair Trade Organization, allowing you to buy products with peace of mind. From crocheted baby toys to pretty blankets, you&rsquo;ll find a wealth of fairly-priced merchandise on <a href="http://www.connectedgoods.com">Connected</a>.</p> <h3>WorldofGood.com</h3> <p><a href="http://worldofgood.ebay.com/">WorldofGood.com</a> is eBay&rsquo;s online multi-seller marketplace dedicated to selling socially and environmentally responsible goods. Everything you buy on this website has been verified by a third-party organization, which vouches for the company's treatment of its workers, environmental practices, and more. A set of easy-to-understand icons designates each item as &ldquo;people positive,&rdquo; &ldquo;eco positive,&rdquo; &ldquo;animal friendly,&rdquo; or &ldquo;supports a cause,&rdquo; helping you know how your money will be used. Although WorldofGood was acquired by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/shop-like-a-ninja-on-ebay">eBay</a> in 2010 amid talk that it was &ldquo;selling out,&rdquo; it remains a non-profit organization.</p> <h3>Global Exchange</h3> <p><a href="http://www.globalexchangestore.org/Default.asp?Redirected=Y">Global Exchange</a> has a few of the most popular fair-trade retail stores in San Francisco and Berkeley, but they are also more than just a retailer for fair trade goods. Global Exchange is also an international human rights organization that strives to deliver environmental, political, and social justice to people around the world through grassroots initiatives. Items in the Global Exchange online store are certified by the Fair Trade Federation, TransFair, and other third-party certification groups.</p> <p><em>These are just a few places to start looking for fair trade goods. Do you have any other tips about buying fair trade goods to share?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/camilla-cheung">Camilla Cheung</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/where-and-why-to-buy-fair-trade-goods">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/great-sites-for-online-wedding-shopping">Great Sites for Online Wedding Shopping</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/discount-designer-clothing-17-places-to-get-name-brands-for-less">Discount Designer Clothing: 17 Places to Get Name Brands for Less</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/30-cash-back-sites-to-earn-you-thousands-per-year">30+ Cash Back Sites to Earn You Thousands Per Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-resistance-bands">The 5 Best Resistance Bands</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/16-amazon-deal-hacks-you-may-not-already-know">16 Amazon Deal Hacks You May Not Already Know</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle Shopping buy handmade fair trade online shopping Wed, 20 Jul 2011 10:24:07 +0000 Camilla Cheung 622829 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Ways Etsy Can Help Start Your Small Business http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-etsy-can-help-start-your-small-business <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-etsy-can-help-start-your-small-business" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000013596000Small_0.jpg" alt="Woman knitting" title="Woman knitting" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I love <a href="http://www.etsy.com/">Etsy</a>. I first began shopping there just a few weeks ago, although I had followed its popularity for the past few years and have marveled at the showcase of talent featured across many genres of online shops featured there. Surprisingly, my interest in Etsy has had nothing to do with hand-stitched crafts, luxury bath items, or the random brick-a-brac that many people associate with the site.&nbsp;I go to Etsy to get staples for my small business. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buying-and-trading-on-etsy">Buying (and Trading) on Etsy</a>)</p> <p>Because Etsy is a growing market, adding new stores every day, it has the potential to be a huge marketplace for some lesser-known startup necessities. In the meantime, you can find a limited, yet high-quality offering in the following areas.</p> <h2>Company Logos</h2> <p>While the prices run the gamut, I was able to buy a OOAK (one of a kind) <a href="http://www.etsy.com/shop/ErinBradleyDesigns">business logo</a> for my website, business cards, blog, and social media avatars. The talent displayed on Etsy was amazing, and my finished product was delivered within 24 hours. You can find several options to have a logo completely customized to your specifications, or you might find that a premade design fits better into your budget.</p> <h2>Web Design</h2> <p>In addition to getting a savvy-looking logo for your business, you might as well invest in a <a href="http://www.etsy.com/shop/todoTADA">professional website</a> to help sell your wares or services. Many of the same people who sell logos on Etsy are also well-versed in getting a site set up. If you are looking for something highly-customized, you&rsquo;ll pay more. Buy a pre-made site with only slight modifications (color and logo, for example), and you could see a big discount over hiring someone from an agency. (Hint: If you have an Etsy shop yourself, hiring a fellow crafter to do your shop design is a worthwhile investment.)</p> <h2>Office Decor</h2> <p>While not essential to having a well-run small business, putting a little personality into your office space can be useful in getting productivity at its peak. Some of the nice items I&rsquo;ve found on Etsy include <a href="http://www.etsy.com/shop/JavaJaneDesigns">framed photo artwork</a>, <a href="http://www.etsy.com/shop/timelessNchic">up-cycled vintage end tables</a>, <a href="http://www.etsy.com/shop/LAKEWAYCANDLES">custom drawer pulls</a>, and <a href="http://www.etsy.com/shop/pinknbluebaby?section_id=7800967">chalkboard wall decals</a>. If you need something whimsical, yet practical, you&rsquo;ll likely find it here.</p> <h2>Paper Supplies</h2> <p>Stationary, business cards, and envelopes can be ordered from a cheap site like VistaPrint, or you could give your business a classy, original look with the offerings found on Etsy. Whether you&rsquo;re needing something completely handmade (like <a href="http://www.etsy.com/shop/pasteandpaper">these collage notecards</a>) or are looking for a <a href="http://www.etsy.com/shop/mauguste">more balanced look</a>, you will likely find paper goods that communicate the feel of your company on Etsy.</p> <h2>Client Gifts</h2> <p>If you&rsquo;ve used up all the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-free-gifts-for-business-colleagues">free client gifts</a> I&rsquo;ve recommended in past articles, consider something beautiful and classy that your customers can hold in their hands.&nbsp;Contrary to common opinion, Etsy is not just for girls.&nbsp;You can find some really nice masculine designs, including this <a href="http://www.etsy.com/shop/OldNewAgain">rustic organizer</a> and <a href="http://www.etsy.com/shop/orangefuzz">organic shave kit made from beer</a>. Regardless of the gender of your client (or the size of the organization), I&rsquo;ve found handmade sweets to be a hit among all of the companies I work with. This <a href="http://www.etsy.com/shop/KettleConfections">tasty nougat</a> speaks for itself!</p> <p><em>Note: I linked to several Etsy shops in this article that I found to be interesting. Product offerings change often, so to keep the article relevant, I&rsquo;ve linked to each shop homepage rather than individual items. I have not purchased from or have a personal interest in any of them, with the exception of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.etsy.com/shop/ErinBradleyDesigns">Erin</a> (who did my logo), and I cannot speak to the quality of each shop&rsquo;s finished product.</em></p> <p>How has Etsy helped your small business or blog?</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-etsy-can-help-start-your-small-business">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-credit-cards-for-office-supply-purchases">Best Credit Cards for Office Supply Purchases</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-mechanical-pencils">The 5 Best Mechanical Pencils</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-pens">The 5 Best Pens</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-places-besides-etsy-to-sell-your-handmade-goods">20 Places Besides Etsy to Sell Your Handmade Goods</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/where-and-why-to-buy-fair-trade-goods">Where and Why to Buy Fair Trade Goods</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship Shopping buy handmade etsy office supplies start-up Tue, 01 Mar 2011 13:24:14 +0000 Linsey Knerl 497559 at http://www.wisebread.com Indie Holidays http://www.wisebread.com/indie-holidays <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/indie-holidays" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/100x100.jpg" alt="I took the handmade pledge: buyhandmade.org" title="I took the handmade pledge: buyhandmade.org" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="100" height="100" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Do you want every gift you give to be from the heart? Do you dream about ending the power of materialism at Christmastime? Is encouraging sustainable community on your list for next year? Do you like championing local designers? Would you like to bring any of these values into your Christmas celebrations? If so, then the Handmade Pledge might be for you.</p> <p><strong><em>Great Thoughts</em></strong></p> <p>It&#39;s nice to say that we&#39;d like to get back to the &quot;true meaning of Christmas,&quot; but what does that really mean? It&#39;s nice to say that we want Christmas to be about family and friends, sharing and caring, relationships and not consumerism, but how can we accomplish that when the ads for HD TVs, Sony PS3s, and iPhones fill our magazines, mail, and inboxes? Going indie for a Christmas just might help facilitate those desires.</p> <p>When I shop indie, I&#39;m buying a hadmade, hand-designed gift for someone I love. I may not be able to design it myself, but I can give it to support that organic creative process. When I think about an indie gift, I have to really know my friends and family members so I can get them something that is not only specially crafted for them, but that they will love. There&#39;s no point in buying handmade just to do it--I still want to give someone a gift that will bring them joy. When I buy indie, that means that I&#39;m not buying some gadget or a DVD that, while appreciated, is not particularly personal. I&#39;m stepping out of consumerism and into relationship, because of the amount of thought and planning that goes into purchasing an indie gift.</p> <p><em><strong>Great Gifts</strong></em></p> <p>It&#39;s easy to think that buying indie means buying something of a lower quality. That&#39;s what our factory-driven, mass-produced culture tells us. But the truth is actually the opposite. When a craftsperson makes something by hand, they are making it because they love the making and they love the object. The put a lot of themselves into their work, and they want their work to reflect that love and investment. Therefore, many indie goods are of higher quality than their factory-produced counterparts. Another benefit? Many indie craftspeople have superb return policies. If something isn&#39;t right or isn&#39;t exactly as they advertised or you agreed on, or if it falls apart quickly, they are willing to fix the problem, whether that means repairing it, replacing it, or refunding your money.</p> <p><em><strong>Great Investment</strong></em></p> <p>The culture of indie designers is amazing. They support each other, help each other out, and generally are excited about each others&#39; work and want each other to succeed. It amazes me. These are the kind of people I want to support with my choices and my money; they&#39;re smart, funny, innovative, creative, community-oriented, and more. They believe in quality over quantity and that investing your heart in a product means something good. I want these people to succeed, because I want more indie options when I shop. Therefore, I want to give them my money now. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>So...what&#39;s stopping you? Take <a href="http://www.buyhandmade.org" title="The Handmade Pledge">the Handmade Pledge</a> now, and put your money where your deepest holiday desires are (or use the comments to tell me why you&#39;re not, so I can try to convince you otherwise!) </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/indie-holidays">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-etsy-can-help-start-your-small-business">5 Ways Etsy Can Help Start Your Small Business</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/where-and-why-to-buy-fair-trade-goods">Where and Why to Buy Fair Trade Goods</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-window-air-conditioners">The 5 Best Window Air Conditioners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-anti-itch-creams">The 5 Best Anti-Itch Creams</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Groceries</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping buy handmade indie indie for the holidays Thu, 15 Nov 2007 21:01:47 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1357 at http://www.wisebread.com