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Mother's Day Goes Fair TradeFull Circle Exchange

Mother's Day Goes Fair Trade


May 9 2014
Christian-founded line of handcrafted products makes its way to Wal-Mart.

"The women we work along side of are creative, resilient and innovative, says Priddy. "They want to know that somebody values their service."

What Full Circle Exchange has done by selling artisan products in retailers like Wal-Mart is paving the way for other social enterprises. Whereas many fair trade companies have a regional reach with their products, not many have found success with national mass market retailers. Selling in Wal-Marts across the country has not only expanded the Full Circle Exchange brand, but it has given women artisans access to 100 million customers.

And with sales of the Mother's Day products going well, Wal-Mart and other retailers are discovering a broader trend in the American consumer culture.

"More and more Americans have become increasingly concerned about the state of the world and look for opportunities to use their power in the marketplace," said Priddy.

Full Circle Exchange's secret to finding a national audience for its products: selling good products with a good story at a good price. This, Priddy says, will "capture the imagination of a generation who desires to make a difference with their purchase."

"There was a time that consumers would be more willing to make what I would call a 'compassionate buy.' But today, customers expect more," said Priddy.

Full Circle Exchange also sells at Macy's, Anthropologie, and Whole Foods, but Wal-Mart offers the biggest exposure for its cause. The nonprofit challenges Wal-Mart critics to celebrate the efforts being made to carry more socially conscious products. Wal-Mart plans to expand its sourcing from women-owned businesses, it hopes to increase its sourcing from women-owned businesses by $20 billion.

As fair trade products continue to attract consumers and retailers at the national level, this can only mean good news for the rest of the world. More money in the hands of women—and mothers—translates to more food on their tables, more of their children going to school, and more money poured back into communities.

As Priddy put it, "We want to see more women dancing."

(Here is a link to Full Circle Exchange's Mother's Day video, featuring refugees in Boise creating Mother's Day cards.)

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