A world friendly trading post in the heart of Claremont called Artisan’s Exchange, has become the first gift shop in the Inland Empire to feature fair trade products.
Artisan’s Exchange sells a wide variety of imports from around the world and locally in the Inland Empire. The gift shop carries items such as ceramics, clothing, jewelry and crafts. Along with handcrafted gift items, Artisan’s Exchange sells organic food products, with competitive prices to chains like Trader Joe’s.
Seventy-five percent of the store holds items from countries such as Guatemala, Nepal and Ethiopia. Customers can place special or custom orders from the actual makers of the product.
“To the community, it’s a place that preserves cultural arts, more dramatically than others. Fair trade encourages arts that are traditional in that culture,” said Lisa Arana, co-owner of Artisan’s Exchange.
“All of our items are pure and have a rich history behind them, with a lot of intention toward the making of the product,” said Brenda Chandler, co-owner of Artisan’s Exchange.
Fair trade is the exchange of goods based on principles supporting economic and social justice. Businesses featuring fair trade items support local and worldwide artisans and farmers by selling their products at a fair wage that reflects the quality of their work. The key goal of fair trade is to empower low-income artisans and farmers to better their living conditions.
Every business featuring fair trade items must have a membership in the Fair Trade Federation (FTF). To join the FTF, companies must be dedicated to following strict guidelines including, having an open-book policy, ensuring fair wages, a safe workplace, environmentally safe products and creating a personal relationship with the makers.
“The value of having an ethical business and the sense I have of being an equal partner and doing something good for the planet and people in general, makes this business worthwhile,” Arana said.
Artisan’s Exchange ensures 25 percent to 30 percent of the selling price to the artist.
Owners Arana and Chandler show strong commitment by donating 10 percent of their net profit to the dA Center for the Arts. Their contributions will support the children’s art program through scholarship opportunities for underprivileged youth.
Furthermore, Artisan’s Exchange invites local artists to be featured in monthly art fairs, where they will receive 90 percent of the selling price.
Norma Tanega, a local music artist and customer at the Artisan’s Exchange, comments that the gift shop is a “really nice change” compared to traditional businesses.
“They are not trying to scare you to death,” Tanega said.
Anne Bages, Inland Empire local and regular customer at Artisan’s Exchange, thought the gift shop gave wonderful opportunity to artists.
“It’s important to make people aware of the cultural products and supportive purpose of organizations like the Artisan’s Exchange,” Bages said.
Artisan’s Exchange is open Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is located on 242-B West Foothill Blvd. in Claremont, just east of Indian Hill Boulevard.
For more information visit www.fairtradefederation.com.
Nicole Knight can be reached at email@example.com.