Fair Trade in the Air – What’s New at the Trade Shows

So many of our fair trade wholesaler friends are deep into “the season.” I’m not sure if the leaves change colors, the flowers bloom, or the kids are out of school but I do know that many fair traders will be flying to exotic locales (New York, San Francisco, Atlanta, Chicago) in search of capturing (and releasing) those ever-elusive buyers.

I know that many of you don’t get to the trade shows so I wanted to introduce you to a few of these fair trade organizations and give you an advanced look at products they’ll be featuring for 2016.

Global Mamas

Global Mamas Sunset Dress Monsoon AquaEven if you’ve never visited Global Mamas’ website or seen a catalog, you’ve seen the clothing on many of fair trade organization staff members and volunteers of retailers even if the store doesn’t carry clothing. The designs of the clothing and jewelry reflect the latest trends, while the hand-batiked patterns highlight the unique Ghanaian style that buyers identify with Global Mamas.

“My favorite new item is the Sunset dress paired with the Manye necklace,” says Kristin Johnson, Global Mamas’ cofounder. She points out that “Manye” means “Queen Mother” in a Krobo dialect and it is true that the necklace adds regal elegance to the fun sun dress.  Every year the women artisans introduce new designs that are even more striking than the year before.

Global Mamas will be at NY NOW in the Handmade Global Design section (Booth 237) and at the Windy City Gift Show (Booth 123).  We carry Global Mamas’ products as a part of our Showcase Collections and hope to increase this line in 2016.



Worldfinds-Kantha-Tribal-NeWhether it’s knitwear, jewelry, or ornaments, the women artisans who work with WorldFinds create stylish on-trend, high-quality pieces. I learned the word “ombre” from WorldFinds!

The founder of WorldFinds, Kelly Weinberger, selected the Kantha Tribal Necklace, the beads for which are made from scraps of the Kantha cloth bags. “The Kantha Tribal Necklace is one of my favorites for Spring because its got a geometric edge to it, but the beads are colorful and handmade from soft cotton,” Kelly says. “It looks great with basic t-shirts and dresses up well too. I love multipurpose and unexpected elements! ”

WorldFinds will be at NY NOW in the Handmade Global Design section (Booth 221) and at the Windy City Gift Show (Booth 121).  WorldFinds was our first Showcase Collection back in the day (all the way back in December) when it was called the Marketplace.



484069-RETRO-CAMPER-BIRDHOUSE-SETTING-WOODS-1000PX“Sorry, we couldn’t pick just one!” Jacque St James-Wong said when asked for a product to feature. Understandable when one sees the breadth of products that dZi carries.  So while we’d love to feature the traditional Tibetan singing bowls and other products they carry, our favorite is the Wild Woolies collection, particularly the felt birdhouses, and even more particularly, the new Retro Camper bird house.

DZi will be at NY NOW in the Lifestyle – General Gift section (Booth 6502) and at the Windy City Gift Show (Booth 108).  We have dZi’s birdhouses and felt bird ornaments – the detail on these is amazing –in the Showcase Collections.



The Silk Road Bazaar

fishIt’s not easy coming up with new product lines, particularly those that work. Products made from felt are becoming so prevalent in the marketplace that a successful product comes down to design.  Zooties from Kyrgyzstani women artisans who work with The Silk Road Bazaar aren’t just any felt baby booties; they are sure to get a reaction from every person who sees them.  Andrew Kuschner, who manages sales and design for the US market, thinks the Fish Zooties are a fun product to feature.  We think so too!

The Silk Road Bazaar  will be at NY NOW in the Handmade Global Design section (Booth 237). Keep an eye out for the Zooties when Silk Road Bazaar joins the Showcase Collections in February.

Matr Boomie

Matr-Boomie-Hairpins-SmallIt seems like quite a few amazing fair trade businesses started in 2006 and Matr Boomie definitely is one of the best. Not only do the Indian artisans with whom they work make beautiful traditional products, Matr Boomie designers create on-trend home décor and jewelry.   Account manager Matt Mogyorodi suggested we feature one of their best sellers, the set of 4 wood hair pins.

Matr Boomie will be at NY NOW in the Handmade Global Design section (Booth 253).  Matr Boomie products have long been available in our Showcase Collections.

Mata Traders

Mata-Traders-Dress-CroppedStarted in 2003 by three American women whose wanderlust mingled well with their sense of design, Mata Traders rapidly became a favorite supplier of fair trade apparel and accessories.  Mata Traders products are sold in all 50 states and 12 countries, the styles exceeding expectations worldwide.

“The Vintage Spirit dress is one of my favorite pieces from our Spring/Summer ’16 collection,” says Laura Mobley, Mata’s Marketing Manager. “I love the color combination and pattern, plus there is a cute side button detail. I can’t wait to wear it this summer!”

Mata Traders will be at NY NOW in the Handmade Global Design section (Booth 304) and at the Windy City Gift Show (Booth 125).  We carry Mata Traders’ jewelry as a part of our Showcase Collections.




Dsenyo’s product line made by Malawi women from the ubiquitous waxed print textile prevalent throughout Africa ranges from clothing to accessories, and these cute stuffed animals, which are one of founder Marissa Perry Saints favorites.

Little-Friends-SmallAs a parent myself, I love how the Little Friends combine fabulous product design and the opportunity to teach my children about the world,” Marissa says. “On top of that, kids find these animals irresistible!”

Dsenyo will be at NY Now in the Handmade Global Section (Booth 312).

Manos Zapotecas

ClutchEach bag made by the Mexican artisans of Manos Zapotecas is a fine weaving of tradition, style, and function. Designs that are the same as those woven by the weavers’ ancestors reflect the latest color palettes and are perfect for today’s lifestyle.  “Where durability meets design” is the perfect description of these totes, clutches, purses, backpacks, and luggage.  The Palomita Clutch is a personal favorite of mine.

Manos Zapotecas will be at NY NOW in the Handmade Global Design section (Booth 413).

Lucia’s Imports

Web-(26-of-41)-SmallLucia’s Imports represents the best of Guatemalan handmade products.  Lucia’s Imports carries stunning jewelry, trendy accessories with traditional Guatemalan vibes, and hand-painted pottery that is world-renowned.  Founder Theresa Hendricks says about this jewelry piece with crystal beads, “It is so versatile  and full of color and sparkle. You can wrap it or stack it as a bracelet or you can wear it as a necklace. ”

Lucia’ Imports will be at NY NOW in the Handmade Global Design section (Booth 502) and at the Windy City Gift Show (Booth 114).


Minga Fair Trade Imports

Minga TreeI can’t even begin to describe the breadth of products from Peruvian and Ecuadorian artisans that Minga Fair Trade Imports carries.  When I asked what was a favorite, it was no surprise that marketing manager Scarlette Morris provided me with a product that I’d never seen.  This charming Stone Arbolito (Spanish for little tree) is made by a Peruvian family from marble, agate and pyrite.

“This product is my favorite because it’s such a great gift idea for so many occasions,” says Scarlette. “Since trees symbolize growth and harmony, our Stone Arbolito is perfect for family and loved ones on any day of the year.”

Minga Fair Trade will be exhibiting at the Windy City Show (Booth 131) and CAMEX in Houston in March.


For a full list of who’s where, the Fair Trade Federation publishes a list of its members and their booth numbers.  The Windy City Gift Show (Jan 30th – Feb 2nd) and NY NOW (Jan 30th – Feb 3rd) overlap but if you’ve got a transporter, you can easily beam to both.

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Renice co-founded Global Crafts in 2002 with her husband Kevin Ward after settling in Florida after 3 years in Kenya as a Peace Corps volunteer. Creating a Fair Trade business that married her passion for artisan-made pieces and years of experience in IT finally enabled Renice to find her perfect career.