We work on
Fair Trade Philososophy
which reflects a system of values that champions education and capacity building by defending quality, responsibility, opportunity, fulfillment, responsibility, perseverance, creativity, solidarity and reciprocity. Fair Trade means an equitable and fair partnership between marketers and producers in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and other parts of the world. A fair trade partnership works to provide low-income artisans and farmers with a living wage for their work. Fair Trade criteria are:-Paying a fair wage in the local context.
We began over 8 years ago as “A Different Approach”, a fair trade retail store in Portland, Oregon. Founded by Elfrieda Bradtke, the store was one of the pioneers in offering exclusively fair trade products to its customers. After traveling throughout South America for a year, Elfrieda became fascinated with the amazing pottery and wonderful people she found in Nicaragua and began to buy direct from the artisans. The beauty and craftsmanship of her pieces attracted much attention and soon Elfrieda was importing for many other retailers as well, leading to the establishment of the wholesale operation.
In 2012, after 7 years of supporting families and communities and promoting economic opportunities thru her fair trade efforts, Elfrieda decided to make a career change in order to concentrate on her family. Her search for someone who would share in her passion for fair trade and her commitment to the artisans with whom she worked, lead her to a couple serving, at that time, in the We Are One in South America. Keven and Annamae Walsh were working in the Pennsylvania as community economic development and children’s education volunteers when they and Elfrieda connected. They had already begun developing a plan for a fair trade business upon finishing their service, and the opportunity with A Different Approach seemed like an ideal fit.
Upon their return to the United States in November 2012, Keven and Annamae got busy right away, first getting resettled, and then working with Elfrieda to organize their new business. In April 2013, FairTradeWeek officially took over the operations of A Different Approach. The first year was very busy and challenging between organizing the business and making several trips to meet with artisans, designers, and export coordinators. And everyone who manages a business or non-profit understands the time and effort required for trade shows, building websites, and of course, accounting systems. But now the basics are in place and FTW is focused on providing outstanding customer service, quality products, and imaginative designs for their customers, and economic opportunity and advancement for the artisans and communities with whom they work.
As we enter our 8th year, we are proud of the organization we have created, the relationships we have established with our customers and artisans, and especially, the beautiful products we are offering. Our most famous pottery line has expanded greatly in the number of pieces, as well as, wonderful designs and styles. It has been a pleasure being associated with fair trade and to be able to continue the type of work we were involved with during our service.