Bangladesh Artisans

Ten Thousand Villages Finger PuppetsGiven that our holiday campaign tagline is ’Tis the Reason, we thought it might be fun to ask a few of our younger shoppers to answer a question:

“What is the reason you like to shop at Ten Thousand Villages?”

We received a number of really great responses, and here are some of our favourites:

“Camels.” (boy, age 5) – He felt that all nativities should have camels, and Ten Thousand Villages is the place to find them!

Web ImagesI’ll just come out and admit it: I’m seriously coveting this year’s Reindeer Cushion. (It seems a lot of you are too – the online stock is almost gone.)

The cushion is a perfect example of what fair trade looks like today: Contemporary. Beautiful. Handmade. And, yes, a little trendy.

As a customer, it’s also a product that I can feel good about buying or giving this season (although, sorry, I’m keeping mine!). Not only do I love the way it looks, but because it comes from Ten Thousand Villages, I’ll never have that niggling worry that I’m improving my own life at the expense of someone else’s.

Tis_the_reasonNovember is here! And as anyone who has ever worked in retail knows, this is the week that kick-starts the holiday season into high gear. Exciting? Absolutely! Our stores and warehouse are brimming with unique gifts we can’t wait to share with you.

But here’s something else new we’re excited to reveal: Our ’Tis the Reason campaign.

All year, we’ve worked hard to understand what current and new customers truly want from Ten Thousand Villages. You spoke, we listened – and we have created a campaign that not only excites and motivates, but also incorporates our longstanding values that remain strong and true.

blog-top-imageFor more than 20 years, Pantone has surveyed New York Fashion Week and previewed the most important colour trends for the coming season. For Fall 2014, Pantone selected 10 colours that “Transcend Time and Place.”

Interestingly, the selections of colours are probably not the typical colours you are used to seeing for this time of year. The Executive Director of the Pantone Colour Institute explains: “This is a season of untypical colors — more reflective of the imagination and ingenuity, which makes for an artful collection of colors and combinations not bound by the usual hues for fall.”

I decided it would be fun to create a few looks based on this colour palette with some of my favourite accessories here at Ten Thousand Villages.

Nosey Spectacle StandIf I had to narrow it down to just one word that I hear used most often to describe Ten Thousand Villages’ products, it’s “unique.”

Without a doubt, we specialize in bringing things to the Canadian market that you simply can’t find anywhere else.

Not only that, but when I look at reports on the items that are among our bestsellers, I’m consistently surprised by some of the items that are the most popular. Take our Nosey Spectacle Stand, for instance. It’s so incredibly popular – and has been for years – that we like to joke that pretty much everyone in Canada must have one!

In our office, you only need to refer to “the nose” and everyone knows exactly what you mean. (Pun totally intended.)

SteveAt Ten Thousand Villages, we recognize that our success is driven by the amazing staff and volunteers who work hard every day to keep the wheels turning.

One of our fine staff members is Steve Dorion. Steve has been with us for about three years – first on a temporary contract, and now permanently as Materials Handling Coordinator at our 58,000-square-foot distribution centre in New Hamburg, Ontario.

Steve wears many hats. But his primary responsibility is to ensure products are stored and organized well in our warehouse, and are easily accessible when it’s time for them to be picked for shipment to stores, festival sales and e-commerce customers.

RS8814_CIMG3925On a cool, bright Sunday morning, an elderly man with salt and pepper hair and a jovial manner walked into our store. He was looking for a gift for a friend. While he didn’t have a specific idea in mind, he mentioned that his daughter had suggested that he check out Ten Thousand Villages. And so, that morning he was there to pick up a unique handcrafted gift for a special loved one.

 

 

Relief Sale 1Every year since 1996, Ten Thousand Villages has set up a big tent at the New Hamburg Mennonite Relief Sale.

The annual event draws thousands upon thousands of people from the local area, around the province, and even from the United States. The 2014 event, which was held on May 30 and 31, generated $320,000 for the local and international relief, development, justice and peacebuilding efforts of MCC Canada.

Waterloo StoreWhen my best friend and I were in high school, we used to go to Ten Thousand Villages in Uptown Waterloo and say, “When we’re grown-ups with our own homes, we’re going to fill them with stuff from Ten Thousand Villages!”

Now that I am a “grown-up,” one of my favourite tasks has been making thoughtful choices about what things I bring into my home. (And it just so happens that many of those things are indeed from Ten Thousand Villages!)