Ten Thousand Villages
Purposeful goods and gifts crafted by hand for home and life.
We’re a global maker-to-market movement that addresses economic injustice. Because every handcrafted object has a life of meaning behind it. We’re a way for you to shop with intention for ethically-sourced handcrafted wares – and to share in the joy of empowering makers in ten thousand villages.
As a pioneer of fair trade, we do business differently, putting people and planet first. That means you can trust that every purchase and donation you make directly impacts the life and community of its maker in a developing country. Together we break the cycle of generational poverty and ignite social change. #LiveLifeFair
We are committed to putting people and planet first
- Ensuring makers earn a fair, living wage in safe working conditions
- Investing in partnerships that empower women and communities
- Caring for the Earth
- Celebrating craft and culture
It started with a single action
A simple idea, a single action has the power to bring about monumental change. For our founder, Edna Ruth Byler, that single action was a humble, unassuming one taken more than 70 years ago.
Byler bought hand-embroidered textiles from women who didn’t have have access to a market in which to sell them. She paid a fair price for them, took them home, and sold them to friends and neighbors on their behalf.
What started as one woman selling textiles from the trunk of her car and telling the stories of artisans who made them, grew into lasting partnerships and a global fair trade movement.
Ten Thousand Villages does business differently than typical retailers. Our artisan investment model puts the maker first and is built on long-term partnerships and fair trade principles. It is designed to provide makers in developing countries opportunity to gain a safety net of financial security and break the cycle of poverty.
How our model works:
- Transparent price agreement Fair wage pricing is paid regardless of economic changes.
- Interest-free microfinance investment 50% payment upfront enables raw material purchases, handcraft production, and protection from exploitative loans.
- Crafting of product Strong partnership promotes artisan development and business growth.
- Payment before export Paying in full before product is shipped removes all financial risk for makers.
- Marketplace for product Handcrafted goods are made available to customers through our established retail network.
- Empowered makers A safety net of dependable income becomes the foundation for thriving communities.