Fair Trade Artisans Interview
Knowing who crafts your products - Mira Fair Trade
At Unique World Inspirations we love our Fair Trade artisan partners and the beautiful work that they do. We interviewed Emily Correia of Mira Fair Trade in India to find out more about the beautiful people that are making your unique handmade gifts and how Fair Trade is impacting their lives. Their home decor items not only help preserve traditional crafts but make you feel like you've traveled to visit them.
Mira Fair Trade strives to promote social justice by working directly with underprivileged artisans by paying them fair wages to help them develop the knowledge to support themselves and their families. They are committed to empowering women and underprivileged communities and moving towards a global Fair Trade lifestyle through the promotion of the Fair Trade Principles.
Each purchase is making a difference.
What inspired Mira Fair Trade?
The owner, Meera, grew up in India and frequently returned to visit family once she moved over to the U.S. On a trip she visited some small villages where she saw local women struggling to sell their goods in local markets. She wanted to help them, so she would buy small batches of their products and bring them back to the U.S. to sell. Many of her friends would always wonder where she got the beautiful products, so she knew there would be a market for these products. She ended up joining the Fair Trade Federation and started her business 9 years ago. Since then, she has included more artisans, men and women, to help expand the benefit from selling in the U.S. market.
What would you like people to know about Fair Trade products?
Fair Trade products combine traditional crafting methods with modern designs. Not only are these products beautiful, but they tell the story of generations of families who have worked hard to perfect their trade and crafted a product from methods which are hundreds of years old. For example, we sell copper coated bells which we get from a small village in northern India. The family who we get our bells from have learned the trade from their fathers, and their fathers before them who used to make these bells to keep track of their cattle. Fair Trade products come from tradition and not from a machine with no story.
Unique World Inspirations -Mira Fair Trade
How have your artisans benefited from Fair Trade?
With the fair wages our artisans receive, they are able to supplement their household income and help send their children to school. By sending their children to school, they are ensuring their kids' stability for the future. They also benefit from having a stable market to sell their products in, meaning a sustainable income.
What community impact has Mira Fair Trade made?
We hope that we are encouraging and shedding light on the good that fair trade can do. We sell to local businesses around Pittsburgh, and we have seen sales numbers increase, which tells us that the word about fair trade is spreading and more people are willing to give it a try!
What is one thing you want people to know about Mira Fair Trade?
Our goal is not so much to make a profit for our business but to make a profit for our artisans so they can have stability in their lives and live the life they deserve. It was not atypical that some of our artisans lived off of $5.00 a day before being introduced to fair trade markets. We try to introduce products that are lower cost to encourage the sale of more items. We also try not to increase our prices often as that can lead to a decrease in sales. We strive to keep costs low for our customers so that the end consumer is encouraged to do their part by buying more. It's a strategy that is proven to work for us and helps our artisans.
What is unique about your crafts and artisans?
Our products are all made using very basic hand tools or hand operated machinery and are rooted in tradition. Each type of product is created by families in a certain village or small town and the craft was passed down to them by their parents, who learned from their parents and so on. Woodworking has been a craft practiced for hundreds of years in India, and our artisans use their learned skill to make the products we have today.
Why should people who love traveling be especially interested in Mira Fair Trade?
People who love traveling should get to know our products and want to visit the places they originated in. Hearing or looking at our products help you put yourself in the shoes of the artisan, or make you feel as though you are on the streets of India seeing these items firsthand. Our copper coated bells melodic sound put you in the temple in India when they ring in the wind!
Is there anything else you would like us to know?
We hope to spread the word about fair trade and show consumers that by buying Fair Trade products, we can give a better life to people all around the world. Mira Fair Trade understands that universal change begins with the individual. Therefore, we follow the Fair Trade Federation principles which serves as our means for conducting business and further developing the fair trade way of life.
You can browse Mira Fair Trade handcrafted Fair Trade gifts here.