Artisan of Handmade Expressions

Artisan in India working on a Fair Trade Eco-Shopper

A Special Invitation: Our long-time Fair Trade partner, Handmade Expressions, has invited Global Exchange to northwest India to meet with a community of artisans who specialize in traditional wood block-printing and the production of our Fair Trade Eco-Shopper bags.

Our Answer: YES!

Who is Handmade Expressions?

Fair Trade Eco-Shopper bags

During our 7-year (and counting!) partnership with Fair Trade wholesaler Handmade Expressions, they have grown into a strong social enterprise that keeps the artisans interest at the center of what they do.   They work with over 30 artisan groups and about 5,000 artisans throughout India in the production of the socially responsible, sustainable products we carry in the Global Exchange Fair Trade Stores.

Where YOU fit in:

We’re going to India to visit Handmade Expressions bag makers, and  we want to connect YOU and our 45,000 other members with the artisans who make them.

New Global Exchange member picking out her new Eco-Shopper Dec/ 2013

New Global Exchange member picking out her new Eco-Shopper Dec/ 2013

Creating Connection!

Global Exchange has gifted these handmade Eco-Shopper bags to our members in exchange for their support of our organization and their commitment to Fair Trade.  While Fair Trade can sometimes feel like an abstract concept, we want to bring to life the connection between the artisan and the conscious carrier of these Fair Trade bags!

How YOU can get involved:

Visit to submit a message to the artisans who made your Fair Trade Eco-Shopper with an answer to the following question: “What do YOU love about the Fair Trade Eco-Shopper?”

Got Photos? Once you submit your story, you will be asked if you would like to share a photo of you with your Global Exchange Eco-Shopper (which would be great!)

(Don’t have an Eco-Shopper yet? Stop in one of the Global Exchange Fair Trade Stores or become a member online today and you’ll receive one.)

We will collect answers to the above question and photos from now until Feb 21.

Once we arrive in India, we will share your messages with the artisans, and in return ask for their stories as a Fair Trade artisan and their connection to YOU!

Once we return from India, we will gather all of the collected artisan and member stories and photos and deliver them to the world on our Fair Trade blog and on Facebook! *Folks who participate by sending us messages will receive a personal email as well.

So that’s the plan!

me and bag

Kara with her Fair Trade Eco-Shopper

Need Inspiration to Craft Your Message and Photo? Check out the photo (right) of me with my Eco-Shopper. And here are some answers (including mine!) to the question, “What do YOU love about the Fair Trade Eco-Shopper?”

What do I love about my Fair Trade Eco-Shopper? The feel of the natural cotton and the colors of pink on deep red and burnt orange on indigo blue. I love that this bag connects me to artisans in India through an organization that I am proud to be a part of. My bag serves as an everyday reminder that there is an economic alternative to corporate greed.

What does Handmade Expressions love about the Fair Trade Eco-Shopper? The Eco-Shopper bag, born with the need to create a functional product while preserving the age-old technique of block printing, is a best seller.  With the income from sales, the artisans have been able to install a water filtration system that means local artisans are able to recycle the water used in production of the tote bags 15 times, saving 5 million liters of water a year. This guarantees continued economic development while safeguarding the local ecosystems. It’s a win for people and planet!

Inside of Fair Trade Eco-Shopper

Inside of Fair Trade Eco-Shopper

What do conscious consumers love about the Fair Trade Eco-Shopper? You can curb your use of disposable bags at the grocery store with a bag handmade with love from locally grown and woven, unbleached, cotton and  hand-block printed using 100% natural mineral and vegetable dyes.   Beautiful!

 Bags-Across-BordersThis will be my first trip to India and I go with great excitement to share your photos and loving messages with the artisans so they can see where their art  lives.