It has been a while since I have written about Fair Indigo in Madison, Wisconsin, but after looking through their holiday catalog that I received this week the timing seems perfect. I have always been drawn to this company whose tag line is “Style With A Conscience”, but in these times when many Americans are out of work I am pleased to see that their Made In America offerings have increased.
For my new readers who may not be familiar with Fair Indigo and www.fairindigo.com, the company was started in 2005 by ex-Lands’ End employees who wanted to do more than pay a living wage to workers in their supply chain. After traveling the world for almost a year, Bill Bass, CEO, and his team, lined up 23 factories in countries like Peru and China that already followed a cooperative model. This means that workers and management share in the profits. Let’s face it, earning minimum wage in any country is not enough to support an individual, and certainly not a family. In other instances, Mr. Bass offered to pay the factories more, so they could pass the bonuses on to workers. Sometimes when a new concept is presented, it is not always understood. Quoted in The New York Times in September of 2006, Mr. Bass said “At least one guy I offered this to didn’t respond at first, because he thought it was some sort of Nigerian fraud scheme,”
So here we are six years later and I personally am pleased that this fair trade endeavor is still going. I hope you will visit their website, www.fairindigo.com, and consider supporting this company that is not only selling fair trade merchandise, but also supporting education for the children of the workers through their Fair Indigo Foundation. Watch this interview with Inez in Cajamarca, Peru. She started a school for young children who previously were unable to attend school since it was too far away. After starting the school, she realized that these children were missing a balanced diet and began addressing that issue as well.
Let’s make our holiday spending do more than put smiles on the faces of the recipients, let’s make a difference in the lives of the workers producing the gifts we give.
Fairwell until next time…