Ten Thousand Villages is a non-profit, “fair trade” retail store that sells crafts, jewelry, home furnishings and other items made by artisans in more than 30 different countries.

We opened in 2003 as a seasonal store on South Congress and are excited to announce that we have opened the permanent store in the same location, 1317 S. Congress Avenue, just south of the Continental club.

We are a local nonprofit that shares a common vision with many others throughout the world. The vision is that someday workers in all countries would be able to work with dignity in safe conditions and with fair wages. We share this vision with many other groups in other cities that have also started Ten Thousand Villages stores in their communities. You will find over 60 stores (180 outlets) in North America. You can participate in this vision by shopping in the store and/or volunteering.

What does that mean?

Ten Thousand Villages is a nonprofit, self-supporting alternative trading organization (ATO). ATOs are non-governmental organizations designed to benefit artisans, not to maximize profits. They market products from handicraft and agricultural organizations based in low-income countries. They provide consumers around the world with products that have been fairly purchased from sustainable sources. ATOs put fair trade into practice and campaign for more equitable terms of trade for artisans from low-income countries. Ten Thousand Villages is a member of the International Fair Trade Association, (IFAT), a coalition of Third World handicraft and agricultural organizations and ATOs from both the North and the South.

This is how IFAT defines fair trade: Fair trade is better than aid–it builds a sustainable future on artisans own abilities.

Improving the artisan’s quality of life is the main objective.
Artisans receive a fair price for their goods and advances on orders.
ATOs work with artisans to provide quality products.

Purchase and marketing of artisans’ goods are conducted according to high ethical standards. Continuity of orders is important.
Sources, production and workplaces do not exploit people or the environment.
Products have meaning above their tangible attributes. Consumers are informed about the people who make the products they purchase, increasing their loyalty and understanding that their purchasing power makes a difference.
Cultural exchanges between people in the South and people in the North are encouraged.

Ten Thousand Villages is also a member of Fair Trade Federation, (FTF), a coalition of more than two hundred craft producers, wholesalers and retailers. FTF seeks to develop a workable agenda for handicrafts and agricultural products within the context of fair trade.

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