The Mata Manifesto

March 16, 2017 2 Comments

As we greatly expand our apparel and accessories offerings, we recently began a new partnership with Mata Traders. Their fair-trade fashion collection is inspiring, from design to execution. We're confident that once you get to know more about what's behind it all, you'll want to add even more Mata Traders' pieces to your wardrobe. Here are five essentials on how they keep their business mission-focused.

Be original

Bring your style, your quirk, your ideas, your chutzpah to the table.

Think Globally

Aim to make a worldwide impact on poverty and empower women everywhere. Don't underestimate what we can accomplish together.

Act Compassionately

We are all concerned and we celebrate each other as friends, women, and global citizens.

Live Consciously

Our global citizenship makes us conscious consumers — we're thoughtful about the things we buy and know that origins and production processes matter.

Relish the Adventure

Bring a spirit of discovery to your everyday.

Besides these core principles, Mata's business practices demonstrate serious commitment. The fair-trade cooperatives support artisans in their efforts to overcome exploitation, poverty, and illiteracy by providing a fair wage, safe working conditions, and health insurance. They also ensure there is no child labor and develop community resources such as after-school programs and computer training.

2 Responses

The Good Buy
The Good Buy

March 27, 2017

Laura asks some important questions! We love that our customers are this thoughtful. Each of The Good Buy’s partner vendors works with cooperatives and artisan groups individually because authentic fair trade means that the act of buying and selling should not be one-size-fits all and be mutually beneficial; one side should not be benefitting disproportionately as you note. It takes time, but requires a relationship with the people you are trading with.

The other important piece to be mindful about: when we think of fair trade, we mustn’t stop at only fair wages. How consumers and partners invest in people: yes, at a minimum involves a fair wage, but what about gaining better access to markets, building sustainable models of routine business instead of one-time transactions, offering health care and child care services, facilitating training opportunities, addressing gender parity in employment, working shoulder to shoulder on the creative processes involved in designing goods for global markets, and more things like this that build true cooperation and compensation. Some small farmers are paid “fair trade premiums” in addition to their above market wages, that allow them to reinvest in their small businesses, make capital purchases, enable their children to go to school, care for community and village needs, and so forth. Fair trade is truly a wider picture than wages alone.

Our partner Matr Boomie has some wonderful posts on their “All One Kin” blog that grapples with these complex issues. Here are a few worth giving a look to learn more.

Laura Dely
Laura Dely

March 27, 2017

How are profits distributed? What is the ratio between your CEO and board of directors’ salaries and the garment workers?

It seems hard to understand why low-wage workers who are paid a bit more than sweat shop workers justify the very high prices of your clothes.

I’d like to to know more.

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