How We Work

Commerce with a Heart

People are truly at the heart of what we do. Our desire is to help give artisans the hope, dignity, joy and respect that come from earning a decent living. We purchase products from more than 20,000 individual artisans, represented by 73 groups in 27 countries around the world, giving them fair value for their work.

Ten Thousand Villages works together with artisans in healthy business relationships. This focus shapes our entire business process, as outlined below:


1.  Building Relationships
We first seek to nurture our relationships with the artisans we partner with. Our close connection with Mennonite Central Committee gives us a worldwide network of volunteers who have an existing relationship with artisan groups; understanding their culture, needs and skills is critical.

2.  Developing Partnerships
Ten Thousand Villages works with artisans who would otherwise be unemployed or underemployed. We believe in supporting the working poor and those who are disadvantaged or lack assistance. These women and men have basic skills enabling them to make a quality product that reflects their culture and tradition.

3.  Determining Fair Prices
It is critical that artisans have a voice in determining what they believe to be fair pay. Working directly with artisan groups, we arrange prices that are mutually agreed upon. This dialogue is essential in respecting the dignity of artisans and reinforcing our partnership.

4.  Paying for Product Up Front
Once prices are determined, Ten Thousand Villages ensures that artisan groups receive their compensation in full. We pay 50% in advance when an order is placed, and the rest once the shipment is ready. We settle all accounts at the time the final order leaves the country of origin.