Bangladesh Artisans

New Items Summer 2013 WebWhat does it mean to imagine a better world, and to also strive for it? This is one of those questions that built Ten Thousand Villages.

It might sound odd – but in an ideal world, the concept of “fair trade” as a distinct niche would one day become obsolete. We hope for a day when all commerce is fairly traded, and the business community regards all people involved in global supply chains as equal parties. But there is so much more to our picture of a better world.

festive1Decorating my home in holiday style is one of my favourite things to do this time of year! I love adding lights, sparkle and fun festive accessories to change up the look of my home.

I thought it would be fun to try two completely different styles on my mantel this year, to see which one best suits my style. I like both of these options quite a lot, so I’d love to hear from you which one is your favourite!

Lombok Pottery 1Turning greyish indigenous clay into rich red-brown and black pottery is no easy task. Yet the 214 women potters, who make up Lombok Pottery Center’s collection of four cooperatives, are experts at creating beautiful and useful objects from the ground up.

Ten Thousand Villages is now pleased to carry several pieces of their versatile pottery, handcrafted using traditional methods and designed with contemporary North American tastes in mind.

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.

gha2013_cm_1076My third grade teacher once said, “Learn one new thing each day.” Many years later, I can still hear her words in the back of my mind, and I often ask myself: “What did I learn today?”

In my role at Ten Thousand Villages, I not only have the privilege of working with our artisan partners every day, but I often get to learn something new from them as well.

As I began to learn about one of our new partners, Ele Agbe from Ghana in West Africa, I was immediately intrigued. I was impressed by their unique production processes and the beautiful products they create – in many cases, using what we would consider everyday trash. Ele Agbe uses items we would generally carry to the curb on recycling day to create Ten Thousand Villages’ newest recycled glass necklace.

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.)