Today I’m excited to have my friend (and practically neighbor!) Dus here to talk about her fair trade shop Mitla Moda. Her commitment to fair trade and ethical fashion is so inspiring, and her blog will be one of your new favorites, if it isn’t already!
Hello La La Faux Bois readers, it’s Dus of Cuddly Cacti here! I’m so thankful that Lisa volunteered to have me share with you a bit about my shop, Mitla Moda today. My mission for Mitla Moda is to share some of the beautiful artisan traditions of Mexico with a greater public to make an, albeit small, contribution in maintaining their handicraft traditions and lifestyles.
I’ve been interested in fairly made, fair trade items for some time (as the daughter of a former peace corps volunteer, I grew up surrounded by beautiful Ecuadorian handicrafts). However, I really became passionate about creating a shop centered around fair trade and benefiting artisans when my husband and I lived in Mexico City and traveled to Oaxaca and explored the artisan markets.
Mexico, like many countries, has a very strong bargaining culture in the markets. This was all fine and well when we needed things for around the house, but it really saddened us to see people try to bargain down a detailed piece of handiwork to the price of a factory-made item. The methods my husband and I used to determine a fair price for my shop items was nowhere near methodic based on time constraints (I worked full-time in Mexico City, so we were always on few-day trips). We did though, always let the artisans set the price, have conversations with the families to learn about the process and the time involved, and always ask who made the item to purchase from that individual, their family, or a neighbor (in the rural communities, neighbors often swapped items so they could have a more diverse offering at a table and would point to the person who made it, giving us another artisan meet). We avoided many larger, indoor markets where it was apparent the person was simply a local re-seller so we could make sure the artisan benefited.
You can find many of the items I offer in my shop also on Etsy and Ebay, but sadly I’ve never seen any mention of fair trade or giving back to the communities that make their items (I advise on seeing handmade or hand-picked as a red flag, many appear to be re-sellers that do not explain their purchasing methods).
Both of these items are key for my shop. I want to make sure that first, artisans felt happy in selling me the items they created and we got to know a bit about them and their production methods, and secondly, that I can give back to their communities by returning profits (through the Heifer Foundation to continue traditional ways of life). Especially in countries with low wages, when an individual takes the time to make something by hand, providing a fair initial price allows this person to continue his or her work.
When the item is a style and design that has been passed down through the generations, the need for fair trade rings even louder. I’m certainly not saying you should only purchase Mexican artisan goods from my shop, but I wanted to tell you a bit about my experience and missions behind it, and send a general reminder about fair trade, whether it be apparel or even coffee and chocolate (some notoriously icky industries you’ll also want to be careful of).
Note: All pictures taken by me, but beautifully edited by Gabrielle.
Thanks so much for giving me your little space of the internet for a day Lisa!
This entry was posted in day to day and tagged etsy, fair trade, guest post. ← What to Wear: to a baby shower Colorado snapshots… →