Business With a Story

Ten Thousand Villages is more than a store. It’s a place where you can explore and connect with your global village.

From communities throughout the developing world, every inspired design is crafted with love using local materials (usually natural or recycled) and time-honoured skills by makers we have known and worked with for years.

Every purchase improves the lives of makers by supporting their craft and providing a fair, stable income.

We offer a way for you to become part of the story, to shop your values and give gifts with meaning.

Because this is bigger than us.


Our Mission

Create opportunities for artisans in developing countries to earn income by bringing their products and stories to our markets through long-term, fair trading relationships.

Empowering Makers Around the World

27Countries
73 Groups
20,000+ Individual Artisans

EST 1946

Ten Thousand Villages, Mennonite Central Committee’s fair trade social enterprise was born in the trunk of a car. In 1946, Edna Ruth Byler, a Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) worker, visited volunteers in Puerto Rico who were teaching sewing classes to help improve the lives of women living in poverty. Back in North America, she filled her car with their embroidery and hit the road, selling pieces at churches, parties and sewing circles. The concept of fair trade – and Ten Thousand Villages – was born.

Today, we are still not your typical business. We are a non-profit social enterprise that partners with independent small-scale artisan groups, co-ops and workshops to bring their wares to our markets.

To learn more about Mennonite Central Committee please visit their website.

 


 

We’re In This Together

At Ten Thousand Villages, we don’t believe in have-nots. We believe in not-yets. We lay the groundwork for sustainable change by providing a space for people to take charge of their own lives and build something for themselves.

A Fair Price

Putting food on the table

A Fair Price

Sending children to school

A Fair Price

Providing a warm, safe home

A Fair Price

Keeping the family healthy


Ethical at Every Step
A maker-centered business model

A Fair Price

A Fair Price

We pay mutually agreed upon prices for makers’ creations and deliver advance payments to nurture resilient enterprises that can grow and flourish.
A Fair Price

Long-Term Partnerships

We build lasting relationships with artisan groups, providing consistency and stability that allows makers to plan ahead and improve their quality of life.
A Fair Price

Good Working Conditions

We ensure that artisans have safe and healthy places to work. Child labour is prohibited in an effort to keep kids in school and out of the workforce.
A Fair Price

Design Collaboration

We share trend details with makers and team up to create inventive modern designs that preserve traditional skills of craftsmanship passed down through generations.
A Fair Price

Eco-Conscious Commitment

We aim to keep the earth’s resources in balance, emphasizing the use of recycled or renewable natural materials and applying sustainable environmental practices.
A Fair Price

Empowered Voices

We partner with women and people who are often overlooked so all have a chance to thrive and create change for themselves, their families and their communities.


Our Name

Our name — Ten Thousand Villages — was inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s quote. Because in every village are people who want to live a meaningful life with dignity and who bring beautiful culture worth sharing. Multiply the village idea by ten thousand and it represents the world we’re working to build.

 

“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