Doing Fair trade
As we begin the week running up to World Fair Trade Day on May 14th, I thought to share an example of how we do fair trade in MESH.
The Indian Handicrafts and Gifts Fair is an annual commercial exhibition that attracts a lot of international buyers. This year when we heard that buyers from two of the companies we sell to were coming for the fair we decided to hold our own small Fair Trade Fair, in a pleasant hotel near MESH. So in the last week of March MESH hosted representatives from 15 producer groups and buyers from two international Fair Trade companies for a Buyer/ Seller and Network Meeting here in Delhi.
Esther from Action Village India spent most of the first day visiting each of our producer group stalls, discussing the types of skill sets and looking at products that they had displayed. She was accompanied by Prabal and Parul from MESH, madly making notes so that they can turn her interest into samples and hopefully, orders.
The second day The Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts (EPCH) were gracious enough to provide us with invitations to the trade fair so that our suppliers could look at trends, and see under one roof, what their competitors have to offer.
And then on April 1st Emanuela and Sinja from Change Maker in Switzerland, joined us back at the hotel for another round of meeting producers and studying products. The team from Change Maker started the day by sharing their colour palette and mood boards for the coming year and then moved around the room visiting each of the fifteen exhibitors. They were accompanied by their agent, Ivan who expressed his delight at the arrangement which allowed his clients to see a wide range of fair trade products from marginalized producers under one roof.
Mr. Rohit Madan and the father of Mr. Gurpreet, both customers selling to USA, also visited our little buyer/seller meet.
In between there was a great deal of networking between producer groups, some data collection and two sessions, one about quality and the other sharing plans for MESH’s proposed European business trip and exhibition at the World Fair Trade Organisation’s Berlin Summit in August.
All in all it was grand three days sprinkled with a little fun and some shopping too.
We are most grateful to our international donors El Puente for making this important meeting possible.