Everyone has a story, and those stories are often what connects us. The story of being a mother or of living with a difficult illness or of celebrating special occasions are stories that repeat themselves across cultures, languages and large distances and allow us to place ourselves in someone else’s shoes.
The stories that move us the most at Our Market are stories of people who have recognized a problem and fought for solutions.
- The adoptive mother in Haiti who just couldn’t stand it that moms and dads had to give their children up for adoption just because they didn’t have money to feed and clothe them and who then started a company to provide those same parents with steady employment.
- A women’s group in Guatemala who was tired of being hungry and seeing their children welcomed into the neighborhood gangs who stood up and made a change by opening a bakery, a preschool, an elementary school, a sewing center, and a pharmacy.
- Families in Laos who took metal parts left over from an evil war and turned them into new and beautiful items to be sold on the world market so that they could all remain in their traditional villages instead of leaving for the big city to look for work.
- People who recognized that women were being tricked into going to Thailand or China for the sex industry by promises of work and who then created safe and dignified work for those women.
Our Market partners with problem-solvers to bring their creative solutions – beautiful handmade products – and their stories to Europe. These products tell and re-tell the stories of the producers. The products scream, ‘‘I belong, I am important, I can contribute something wonderful, the good can win!” Of course the good can win, because the products are fair trade, produced without any trace of exploitation or child labor and with the lives of the producers always in the foreground.
At Our Market, we want to give the stories a new home so that they continue to spread, touch and give hope. The purchase of the products allows some terrible stories to come to an end and become part of the past, making room for new beginnings – good and fair stories!
A word on sustainability:
Necessity is the mother of invention but that doesn’t mean that the inventions have to happen on the back of the environment. Upcycling is a big deal for our producers, whether we are talking about cereal boxes, old metal, retired skirts or newspapers and magazines. Clay and reclaimed wood are taking from the environment responsibly and then made into beautiful products. Are products are packaged 95% plastic-free and we are working hard to get to 100%. Our neighbors in and around Selbitz, Germany bring us their used boxes so that we do not cause any new packaging materials to enter the system.