Recently I was approached by Nadiah, a regular visitor to my blog, to create a new banner for her online fair trade shop, Playing Fair. Having never done any paid work before, I jumped at the opportunity! I couldn’t have asked for a better first client; Nadiah gave me some basic ideas of what she wanted, which immediately got my creative juices flowing, and then she pretty much just let me roll with it.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with fair trade, Nadiah sums it up well, “In a nutshell, fair trade ensures that small scale producers in developing countries get a fair price for goods produced in decent and humane conditions”. So, basically, if you buy something that is fair trade you can be sure that it wasn’t made by a nine year old girl in some hot, dirty sweat shop. The world would be a much better place if everbody supported fair trade.
Here’s a bit more from Nadiah,
“Basically the clothing that I’ve got is imported through a BAFTS certified importer, which guarantees not just that there’s no child labour or any of that nasty stuff involved, but that the workers are paid well for their work, they have a safe working environment, thatthey protect their environment (not dumping their dyes in the river and sort of thing), and that some of the funds are used towards community development.
Playing Fair is also a member of the Fair Trade Association of Australia and New Zealand, and so we’ll be applying for their newly-created certification probably next year. However, this is more to me than just paying the membership fees so I can say I’m a member – I do voluntary work for the local Queensland Fair Trade Collective (doing web promotions this year) and I’m flying to Melbourne next week so that I can be workshopped and trained to do more voluntary work for Fair Trade Fortnight.
One of the tricky things about fair trade is that it’s really hard to compete price-wise with department stores that are so cheap, largely because they’re ripping off their workers and shitting on the environment in far-away places. This is basically why fair trade usually costs twice or three times as much, and why it tends to be for ‘gift’ type things or luxury items where people don’t mind spending a bit more.
However, I want fair trade to be mainstream. One of my primary objectives was to make sure that my clothes were as affordable as sweatshop clothes – e.g. I have cotton shirts and pants for $9, which is about what you’d expect to pay at Target. Partly because I want ‘fair trade’ to become ‘normal trade’ – I want it to go mainstream, and also because I was hoping that by reducing retail prices I would increase the number of items sold and that means increasing the income the producers receive.
However, obviously, to be able to keep prices as low as sweatshop goods, I can’t spend a comparable proportion of the price on overheads like advertising, which leaves me on the back foot. Basically I’ve got my fingers crossed that somewhere out there there are Internet citizens who care about this, and that people who are into fair trade are going to be so impressed with the prices that they’ll spread the word for me. But, we’ll see… :-)”
You can also check out Nadiah’s blog over here http://playingfair.com.au/blog/