Sunday, October 21, 2007


My title is actually a puzzle that was in the paper today. By the end of this post you should know the answer. My post today is on Fair Trade. My mom just became manager of an absolutely wonderful and uber fantastic store called Ten Thousand Villages. The store sells fairly-traded handicrafts from around the world. They change peoples lives by selling their beautiful items in the United States and paying them a fair wage, meaning a wage they can support themselves and a family with for their crafts. No other store does this. Even Starbucks Fair-trade is not really fair trade as less than 1% of their coffee is fairly traded. Meaning they have wage-slaves in third world countries. Who doesn't though? Walmart, Target, Ikea, every toy and dollar store in the US--the list never ends.

When Anastasia was born, she was given the cutest, fabric blocks made by Baby Einstein that she loves. A little over a week ago these blocks (well a certain batch that didn't include mine) were recalled due to lead paint being on the blue block for infants everywhere to suck on. Guess where it was made? CHINA. Made by wage-slaves. This pisses me off!!! Every toy I ever played with, and Anastasia plays with now is made in China. I started looking at nice wooden, European toys for Anastasia's Christmas presents. Half of them are MADE IN CHINA and are marketed as "fine European toys" (eg. Haba brand) and they have a mighty fine price tag too.

So I have been researching to find American-made products (and some foreign, fair-trade products) for those interested in resisting the Chinese Empire.

1. Ten Thousand Villages (for gifts, some toys and hand made Jewelry, etc)
2. Nalgene: Never buy another water bottle again- they are indestructible, and if by chance they break, you can take it to any Nalgene store and they replace it free of charge. This is the quality you get when you shop American. Available at most outdoor stores.
3. Klein Tools: This is one of Nick's favorite tool companies. All-American tools that last. Available at Lowe's, Ace Hardware and other trade-shops.
4. Smart Wool: maker of the best socks I have ever worn. My oldest pair is 3-years old and will probably last even longer. 10% of all online-orders go to the Smart Print Advocacy Fund (which is helping build and preserve the trail my bro just hiked, the Continental Divide Trail.)
5. Fox News: List of American-made Toys available at most department stores and a few links.

Thats all for now folks. I will find more and post. These were just my favorites that I looked up last night. Send me any links and companies you know of. Join me in my patriotic act of not supporting China.


Annie said...

Aaah! I used to work at a Ten Thousand Villages store!! It was actually just a partner store--I got paid to work there and the owner sold other fair trade stuff that didn't come from TTV. But I looooved working there and came out of the job with a lot of cool stuff. said...

Hi - you are right about Ten Thousand Villages - an awesome concept! I'm from Lancaster, PA, the home of Ten Thousand Villages. We have a toy store here too that has lots of great stuff for babies, toddlers, kids - - and most of it is NOT made in China. At least they list the place of manufacture and give the safety information you need. Kathe Kruse and Selecta Spielzeug are two of the finest brands. Kathe Kruse even has some organic toys for babies. Thanks for your post!

Bridget said...

Fantastic! Thanks for the links! Having 4 kids has made me have the same thought about no more China crap toys! Buy American! Yeah!

Anna said...

Try for some toys that I drool over all the time. Everything in their catalogue they have researched to be fair labor.

Also lots of pretty non icky plastic toys.

Some of their stuff is made right here in the good ol USA in Vermont.
Great Post, Clair!

dag said...

Thanks for mentioning us. You should join our press list for blogs:

Marissa / Ten Thousand Villages