Scouring the Globe for Fair Trade Textiles
I knew that fair trade fabric was out there, but it was not easily available locally. My next step was to figure out how to find these communities of global artisans. I decided to utilize the websites for the World Fair Trade Organization and Common Objective to source vendors. They both list incredible fair trade companies all over the world.
I used their list of vendors and began my research into those selling fabrics. Some vendors sold fabric through their online portals, while most sold the finished products created using their own fabric. I contacted these vendors directly to ask about purchasing the raw materials. Off I went attempting to cold contact companies in a dozen different countries. Surprisingly, I heard back from about half of them, who were eager to figure out a way to work with me. I saw this as a sign that I was moving in the right direction.
Each vendor that I contacted had a different way of selling their fabric and I had to adjust based on the vendor. One of the most surprising things I encountered was that some vendors didn’t accept credit cards. I had to figure out my way through international wire transfers! As the child of an immigrant, I’m not completely unfamiliar with Western Union type services. Ironically, the skills I learned as an immigrant are coming in handy in entrepreneurship.