Valentine’s Day – Fair Trade for Two

While we might send a valentine to our grandmother, we all know that not just the state of Virginia but Valentine’s Day is for lovers.  If you don’t want to center your store display around hearts (and there are a lot of fair trade heart-shaped products out there!),  here are some products you may want to consider carrying to make Valentine’s Day a couple’s thing, fair trade style.

Have any other ideas you would like to share?  Please post them on our Think Thursday Facebook group page.

Surprise them with champagne.

Balinese Champagne Flutes“So what are we celebrating?” may be the response when you pull out the bubbly and the easy answer is “Us.”  But serving champagne in fair trade recycled glass flutes from Bali celebrates the artisans who made them and the environment they are helping protect by recycling.

“We are currently displaying them in pairs along with other gifts of love to promote Valentine’s Day,” Ray Ballestero of One World Fair Trade says.  “We receive many compliments on the glasses especially once customers learn that they are made from broken glass colected from window shops in Bali.  Customers also seem to love the weight, as they are significantly more substantial than most flutes.”

These flutes are available wholesale from Balizen Direct (Zen-Zen).


Rub their feet.

So much better than flowers that just smell nice, a foot massage kicks it up a notch. Nothing says “You are very special to me” like touching someone’s feet.

serenity spa kit 2Turn wherever you are into a seaside spa with this spa-in-a-box from Ten Thousand Villages.  The Serenity Spa kit contains candles, incense, soap and a scrubber.

I asked Jennifer Schroeder, the manager of Ten Thousand Villages in Winter Park about what she liked about the Serenity Spa kit.  “The kit is handmade in India by the artisans of Silence. Silence is a self-help project for artisans who are deaf or physically disabled. I had an opportunity to visit the artisans in 2013, and was so moved by the pride and satisfaction that they took in their work,” Jennifer said. “Our customers appreciate that the kit includes a variety of items for relaxation, and that it is all contained in a pretty decorative box. It makes gift-giving very simple. And the fact that everything is handmade and fair trade makes the gift even more special.”

When asked how she displays the spa kit, Jennifer replied, “We display the box in our personal accessories area of the store. The kit is shown with the lid open so our customers can see all of the items contained inside, and also read the inscription inside of the box, which is, “We come to its shores seeking comfort, and the sea does not disappoint, carrying our worries into the current, offering the salve of salty air, and sharing its shimmering riches.”

Curl up under a throw in front of a fire.

The quintessential Valentine’s portrait is a couple sipping beverages (maybe champagne?) in front of a fireplace, cuddling under a throw. Considering all of the amazing fabrics with which fair trade producers work, making throws from scraps of batiked material – function, meet little pieces of fashion — and reclaimed saris toss a little love the environment’s way .

BlanketPatchworkQuiltHome-FThe batik patchwork throw from Global Mamas is made from scraps of their amazing batiked fabric and is backed with flour sacks. Global Mamas’ slogan is “Made with Love” and the artisans’ love is in every square.  GWH-throw-3-cropped

Pam McArthur at Gifts With Humanity says she struggles to keep these throws in stock. “We’re on the beach and the throw meets so many needs — beach blanket? check. picnic blanket? check. baby blanket? check.” [but not on Valentine’s Day].  One customer has hers hanging above her headboard.”

Pam displays the throw so customers can see the brilliant squares of color on one side and the flour sacks on the other.  “The two-sides make a great conversation starter with customers,” Pam says.


sari-throw-collage-GrassrooIndian craftspeople working with Asha Imports make two-sided quilts from colorful block printed reclaimed saris.

When asked what is the best selling point of the throws, Jill Dean of Grassroots Fair Trade said, “The best selling point is how gorgeous they are, followed closely by how soft they are. We quickly make sure customers handle one so they feel its softness. I usually make a comment grassroots-throw-1about how good it would feel to wrap up in one of the throws with a good book on a cold winter evening and customers get this dreamy smile. I know they are more likely to be watching TV but they’d rather think they’re going to read a book so I go with that.

“We hang at least 7-8 of the throws on hooks with the fabric folded back so customers can see both sides and another on the wall behind the display so customers can see their full beauty,” Jill says.


Play a game of chess (and lose.)

It’s one of those games that only two can play and what a way to impress the one you love with how cerebral you are with a clever financhetto.   Artisans inchess-2-cropped Kenya carve each piece of soapstone in this chess set by hand, inlaying thin squares of color in the white board. It’s a solid piece for a solid relationship.

“When customers realize that each piece is hand carved, their eyes pop open,” Matt Schropp says about the chess set in Gifts With Humanity.  “It’s set up in the store as if a few of the pieces have been moved.  I’m not sure if the moves are legal for the pieces but if not, our customers haven’t corrected it yet.”  Global Crafts carries the soapstone chess board for wholesale as well as other games for two from Indian artisans who work with Matr Boomie.


We’d love to hear any product ideas you have that would fit well with the “Fair Trade for Two” theme and how you display them in your store.  Please join us on our Think Thursday Facebook group or email your ideas to me and I’ll post on your behalf.

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.