The Fair Trader will celebrate our 4th Anniversary on September 17! What an amazing journey this has been. When we signed the lease for our space in July of 2007, we could never have imagined the challenges we would face and the rewards we would reap from our “what if” moment. We are so grateful for our loyal customers!
We began this venture in a nine-room dentist’s office. That’s what was in our space before the transformation to a retail space (thanks to my talented and patient husband, Richard). A month after we signed the lease, the building management began tuck-pointing work that required scaffolding outside. Unfortunately, due to a variety of problems typical of old buildings, that scaffolding stayed up for two years! Not a good way to begin a storefront business that depended on visibility!
And, there was the economy! Who knew it would tank in 2008? It certainly affected our suppliers, and, of course, it affected our customers. We instituted layaway, something we remembered from our childhoods, and that has made it possible for some folks to purchase some really special items that they would have had to walk away from otherwise.
Aside from the wonderful friends we have gained from these four years, probably one of the most exciting gifts we have received has been to watch so many of our Fair Trade supplier groups mature. Certainly, there are some who have been around for years (the movement, after all, is about 60 years old). But, when we see the very hip, contemporary styles that we can bring to our store, we are just delighted! The young people who are now enthusiastic participants in this ethical marketplace are bringing great style to everything they do, and are working with the artisans they represent to combine craft tradition with cutting edge style.
A story about that (and, a picture): One of our good friends has two daughters who are in their late 20s, fabulous women with a real sense of style. A few weeks ago Kedda, who lives in New York, purchased one of our Global Mamas dresses when she was in Chicago. Her mother reports that Kedda was wearing that dress when she went to visit a friend, who happens to be an editor of “In Style” magazine – and the friend asked to borrow the dress to wear to FASHION WEEK! Just WOW! Take a look at the very fashionable Kedda in her dress (the hat is hers!).
This has been an amazing four years – and we’re ready for more! Hope to see you during our birthday month to help us celebrate. As a special birthday thank you, we are getting a new supply of great jewelry in and will offer a 25% discount on all our jewelry for the week, beginning on Saturday, the 17th (our actual birthday) and running through the following Saturday, Sept. 24th.
Thanks for your loyalty and for shopping Fair Trade.