Editor’s Note: The Little Market joined Conscious Magazine to launch a column on Why Fair Trade Matters . This topic is important to The Little Market team because they have found that it is possible to help artisans to help themselves, addressing problems related to poverty with the technology of a website serving as a global marketplace.  Check out their interview and feature here.

The Little Market travels to meet with our artisan partners in the countries where they operate as much as possible. Last year, we had the opportunity to go to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico to visit Rose Ann Hall Designs’ workshop, where they produce beautifully carved glassware.

Rose Ann Hall Designs takes great pride in the uniqueness of their artisans and products. Each glassware piece is hand-etched in a labor-intensive process. If one artisan were to do a glass from start to finish, they could produce around three an hour. Although there are standard designs and shapes, the handmade nature leaves room for a certain amount of creative leeway for the artisan. So, every product is like a work of art. This short video gives a glimpse into the involved process of glass etching.

What also struck us about Rose Ann Hall Designs is their deep commitment to hiring all types of people; 28% of their employees are disabled.  By promoting traditional Mexican arts, Rose Ann Hall Designs provides income and an outlet for artistic expression to individuals with few other opportunities, but each worker is an artist first regardless of individual disabilities.

Another big success point for Rose Ann Hall Designs is their sustainable sourcing. They work with a number of glass manufacturers that actually produce glass from recycled materials that they use to do the grabado or the glass carving on.  However, this commitment to using recycled glass also can slow the production process, as extra time must be factored in to control for variations.

In our conversations with the staff at Rose Ann Hall Designs, they have told us, “Quality is everything, but the question becomes what is quality or how do you determine quality when things are hand-made?  No two items are ever alike.  Our products vary in size, shape, design. Even when you tell people that, they often spend hours trying to find glasses exactly alike.  We often say, ‘It’s hand-made, perfect, yet imperfect! Just like the people that make it.’ ”

In last month’s column, we discussed how the conscious shopper has a great responsibility as a global citizen, as there are so many factors to weigh when making a purchase. In a way, you’re betting that a purchase meets your criteria and values. Rose Ann Hall Designs is an example of a brand that meets so many of the common criteria of a conscious shopper, which is why it is like a shopping trifecta. Rose Ann Hall Designs is a sure bet on quality products, generating much-needed income for talented artisans, and using sustainable materials.

Visit our website to learn more about Rose Ann Hall Designs and see their products.

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From the Editor
At Conscious, we are inspired by stories that cause us to think differently and think big-picture and so we set out to tell stories with the help of leaders and influencers in the social good community. You can read more stories like this when you Sign-up for the Weekly and Subscribe to Conscious Magazine.