Thursday, July 2, 2015

Conscious Consumerism: Ten Thousand Villages

Conscious Consumerism is thankfully something that is becoming more mainstream in the marketplace & I have been thrilled to highlight some of the game changers that are putting sustainable, ethically made products into the forefront of fashion & shopping. Recently, I had the opportunity to tour my local Ten Thousand Villages Stores (also found online, & at these locations) & I was blown away by what they have been doing for global artisans for over 60 years (!!!)
Here&Now blog, Nashville style blog, Conscious Consumerism, Ten Thousand Villages
Founded in 1946, Ten Thousand Villages has been paving the way for artisans in developing countries to earn a stable & fair wage, while working in conditions that afford them dignity, respect, & the ability to practice a worthy trade. With artisans in 38 countries, & 390 retail partners in the US, Ten Thousand Villages has been such a successful model of sustainable & ethical consumerism that I was shocked I didn't already know about this company & their mission!
Here&Now blog, Nashville style blog, Conscious Consumerism, Ten Thousand Villages
Ten Thousand Villages works with artisans during the entire process, beginning to end. Through training, working through the design process to make products maximally appealing to US consumers, providing up front funds for artisans to purchase raw materials & pay for other expenses, educating artisans about sustainable & environmentally friendly approaches, fair compensation for labor/time, commitment to long term relationships & development of new products based on traditional skills of each culture. 

The unique aspect of Ten Thousand Village stores that literally took my breath away? Ten Thousand Village stores are mostly run by unpaid volunteers so that the artisans can earn a fair wage, while still keeping the prices of each piece reasonable. The prices are unbelievably reasonable, especially when you consider that with each piece you get to know about the artisan that made it & the culture of the country in which it was made. 
"…India is not to be found in its few cities but in the 700,000 villages…we have hardly ever paused to inquire if these folks get sufficient to eat and clothe themselves with." - Mahatma Gandhi
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I loved learning about "tagua" a sustainable nut that serves as the raw material many artisans use to create gorgeous pieces of jewelry, intricate carvings & other beautiful products! Shop taguan items on the Ten Thousand Villages website
Here&Now blog, Nashville style blog, Conscious Consumerism, Ten Thousand Villages
Here&Now blog, Nashville style blog, Conscious Consumerism, Ten Thousand Villages
These beautifully hand-painted pieces of pottery are from artisans in Vietnam. Shop all of the handmade products from these artisans on Ten Thousand Villages
Here&Now blog, Nashville style blog, Conscious Consumerism, Ten Thousand Villages
Here&Now blog, Nashville style blog, Conscious Consumerism, Ten Thousand Villages
This gorgeous, hand blown glass is Hebron Glass from artisans in the West Bank. The unique swirl patterns are present because their vases, cups, & other food-safe glassware are made by smashing & melting recycled bottles. Each piece is made by a true master, & you won't believe how affordable it is! Shop all Hebron Glass from Ten Thousand Villages
Here&Now blog, Nashville style blog, Conscious Consumerism, Ten Thousand Villages

Have you ever heard of Ten Thousand Villages before? Is there one in your town? I highly suggest you checking it out, either in person or online - it will be your new source for unique home goods & gifts!

Stay tuned for my favorite products from their online marketplace & an outfit with a gorgeous silk scarf next week!

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