Welcome to VillagesAnnArbor.org where it is our profound mission to bring to you the hard work of artists from all around the world in complete adherence to Fair Trade principles. We firmly believe that hand crafted work from the most disadvantaged places on earth can be brought to you with minimal effort while ensuring that the artist is fairly rewarded for their work.
Our business revolves around three distinct areas:
1) Sourcing Art
With our close contacts to charities around the world we have been able to make contact with hundreds of artists making everything from sculptures to toys and jewelry. The problem is that in many disadvantaged parts of the world people cannot simply set up an ecommerce store or ebay account to offer their products to people in the Western World.
This is where we step in and organize everything from transportation, customs clearance and direct payment of the artist. We pay upfront for the products they create and offer those products to customers directly in store and online.
2) Educating Artists
Because we know what our clients do and don’t like we are able to feed that type of information back to the artist. For example, Christine is a young artist from Kenya who makes the most wonderful toy animals carved from wood. Exotic animals are very popular, but so are our local ones.
By getting some pictures of North American animals like bears, coyotes and eagles, she was able to extend the range of products and she now works full time on her passion while being paid enough for her to be able to feed and educate her three children as well as get all the health care she needs.
3) Educating Our Customers
Through the direct contact with our customers in store we are able to engage with them on how they are helping disadvantaged people. For many people the attraction is that it is not really charity, but an economic exchange where the buyer gets a unique product and the artist gets a fair price.
While Fair Trade is quite common on food produce we are not aware of this having extended to other areas of an economy. This is probably one of the most attractive reasons seen by our customers. Many of our customers have even become volunteers in both our store and in reaching out to people all over the world.
This has helped us establish much better shipping, storage and packaging resources that we simply would not have been able to achieve without the help of others.
I really hope you find the information on this site helpful and would invite you to get in contact with us. If you live in the Ann Arbor, MI area we would love for you to call into our store some time. Alternatively you can visit our Ebay store and directly make an impact on someone’s life by making a purchase. We would also appreciate if you could share our message through one of the social media links on our site.