Fair Trade merchants Kimberly Grimes & Marco Hernandez of Made by Hand show that retailers can care about more than just profit
When anthropologist and college professor Kimberly Grimes launched her business in South Bethany with husband Marco Hernandez in 1996, she wasn’t immediately aware of the fact that she was starting a trend in the region. Yet, Made by Hand was the first 100% Fair Trade-merchandise store on the Delmarva Peninsula.
By dealing directly with what are called producer groups or co-operatives—thereby cutting out the middleman—Fair Trade merchants are able to procure top-quality handcrafted merchandise at a fair price. But equitable price points are a secondary consideration among those retailers who participate in the Fair Trade movement—at least they are for Grimes and Hernandez.
“The real purpose behind the Fair Trade movement is to provide economic opportunities to indigenous craftspeople and artisans so that they may more easily climb their way out of poverty,” explained Grimes, who still teaches at the University of Delaware. “An important part of this mission is to help make sure that impoverished families get proper nutrition and that their children are in school, as that is the most effective long-term strategy for defeating poverty.”
Another key consideration is that a thriving and robust global Fair Trade network functions to reduce the instances of exploitation of workers in Third World economies by unethical manufacturers. Thus, purchase and consumption of Fair Trade goods carries with it
a unique kind of internal good feeling. Not only are the goods themselves of first-rate quality (and entirely more exclusive than comparable products from national or regional retail chains), it is especially gratifying to know that your consumer dollars have had a direct impact on improving the lives of the deserving people and families whose products you’ve purchased.
There’s lots in store for those who pay a visit to Grimes’ 1,200 sq. ft. space off Coastal Highway at the York Beach Mall. There, you will find handcrafted furniture from small dressers to lamps and tables, rugs, kitchenware, decorative items and accessories for both home and garden. There’s also jewelry, clothing, purses, tea, coffee, chocolate, baskets and even musical instruments from countries that span the globe. Saturday, May 12, is World Fair Trade Day, and Grimes and Hernandez say they are ready.
On that day, Made by Hand will be offering food and drinks from around the world as well as authentic Latin American folk music by Katari. Since Grimes says she will have a drumming circle to accompany the band, she invites all comers to bring their own percussion instruments and join in. Celebrants will also be able to register to win merchandise from the store throughout the day. For more information, call Kimberly and Marco, who also encourage people to visit the Fair Trade Resource Network at www.ftrn.org.
MADE BY HAND, 302-539-6335
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