“She believed she could, so she did. So much can happen with the right mindset and belief system in place!”
We wanted to start this blog off with a favorite quote by Kelly Weinberger, the founder of World Finds. Over the past few weeks, we have been able to share some amazing stories about some incredible artists and companies, specifically many incredible women-owned and lead companies. World Finds, the subject of this post, is woman-owned and is also the first Fair Trade company we are writing about.
Kelly alongside some of her artists she works with. Photo Credit: World Finds
It started over 20 years ago on a sabbatical trip around the world, traveling through Africa, Europe, and Asia. In one of her last stops, Kelly found herself surrounded by artists that were being supported by Fair Trade. When she learned what that meant and how it helps the artists earn a fair wage for their labor, she knew that is exactly what she wanted to do in her life. This Fair Trade movement was (and is) truly creating better lives all around the world, and she wanted to be a part of it.
Just a few of the artist in a town new New Dehli that create some of the World Finds Jewelry.
The company started by making bags and small goods from repurposed Kantha quilts. But it wasn’t until about eight years ago that the signature collection was born within World Finds. As the artists were making bags, they started to notice scrap pieces of fabric everywhere. Being resourceful, the artisans started to play around with the fabric and eventually came up with the legendary Kantha Cuff. It was the perfect use of the scraps fabric over wood beads. Soon they were making necklaces and earrings, and the rest is history. Recycled Kantha Jewelry is now the signature design of World Finds.
An artist working on some recycled Kantha necklaces. Photo Credit: World Finds
Kelly was thrilled by this idea of making jewelry from repurposed fabric. As a child, she used to wear her mom’s and grandma’s vintage costume jewelry to school, and she dreamed of working with jewelry in some way when she grew up. And by the great minds of the artists she worked with, she is now in the business of making jewelry that not only looks amazing but is made from repurposed material and helping artists around the world to live a better life.
Working with fair trade companies is vital to our global community. We asked Kelly what we should know about the artists she works with, and her response brings to life the importance of the global community we live in and how fair trade is so important:
“Our artisans are resilient, extremely talented, funny and many have survived unimaginable hardships,” says Kelly. “They work together in the women’s group, and they’ve formed their own community and have been able to accomplish so much. Many have come to the group after losing their husband and suddenly needing to become their family’s breadwinner, while others just want to earn some extra income for their family so that their children can have new shoes or afford school uniforms. The amount of work they take on is flexible depending on their needs. The difference with fair trade is that it’s a 360-degree approach – they receive fair wages and long term work that they can count on. But they also receive education, health care, childcare – help setting up a bank account or whatever is needed. All of this not only helps the women artisans, but it allows the vulnerable communities that they live in to improve and thrive.”
So often we can get so caught up in our own lives that we forget how fortunate we are. Hearing how great of an impact Fair Trade makes in the lives of others around the world makes us grateful to be supporting World Finds and all our other Fair Trade artists. It might seem as though Fair Trade products cost more than items not made with Fair Trade, but what really is the alternative? We would rather pay more for an item that supports the well being of others, than the alternative of not having Fair Trade and potentially harming others around the world making and creating those products.
Some of the wonderful Kantha bracelets in action.
We are thankful that our customers have been supporting Fair Trade in our stores over the past 15 years and so happy we can support Kelly and all her artists at World Finds. We feel it is important to support companies that are Fair Trade and sustainable. Thanks to the Fair Trade movement, new roads, schools, and healthcare facilities are being built in these communities. And thanks to the talented artisans that work for World Finds, we can all enjoy their wonderful work!