The 3 Big Problems Fair Trade Solves

September 01, 2014

The 3 Big Problems Fair Trade Solves

 “Don’t tell people what you do, tell them what problems you solve.” ~Ian Altman

This quote popped up on one of our Facebook pages last week, and it really got us thinking. It’s easy to tell people that we’re a Fair Trade company, or that we produce lifestyle products with artisans in Thailand and Nepal.

But it’s harder for people to see beyond those neat little descriptions to what problems a business like Global Groove Life really solves.

As we’ve reflected on before, Fair Trade is really about the people. We deliver great products, but we’re all about the people who create them.

 

When it boils down to it, we see being part of the Fair Trade movement as solving 3 key problems:

  1. Helping to preserve the cultural integrity of producers

  2. Helping producers and their communities to overcome financial insecurity

  3. Helping to create frameworks for small businesses that enable producers to become independent and successful.

Let’s break those down.

 

Helping to preserve the cultural integrity of producers

Around the world, it’s more and more common that the cultural heritage of small communities is being eroded. The coinciding increase of global tourism and use of the Internet have meant that people who were once completely isolated from the world at large are now right in the thick of things.

Put yourself in that position.

It’s hard to protect your traditions, beliefs and cultural history when you’re suddenly under a microscope, and everyone in your village is being forced to leave the land your culture is built on, in order to migrate to the cities to scrape together a living.

But when you are working with a Fair Trade agreement, you are no longer faced with the stark choice of tearing yourself away from your culture so that you can survive.

Your basic needs are cared for, and so you are able to stay in your village, investing in the local economy and continuing to be involved in your traditional way of life.

You are not exposed to the soul-destroying loneliness of moving away from everyone and everything you know for a pittance, working for a corporate client who doesn’t care about your conditions, or that all your traditional knowledge is starting to disappear the longer the people in your community are away from each other.

 

Helping producers and their communities to overcome financial insecurity

When we first met Dia, she was in a flurry. Life had been going fine, but just recently her husband had been in accident. He was unable to walk, and needed urgent medical attention. Without his income from his job as a driver, their family, previously comfortable, was suddenly in dire straits.

For many producers around the world, things are just fine, but a single event can knock everything off-kilter. They make enough money to feed their families, keep everyone clothed, and maybe even to enjoy the odd indulgence.

But if the family’s main earner gets sick or has an accident, the future becomes bleak extremely quickly.

These days, Dia is one of our master tailors. She manages a team of women, and her work provides a steady income for her family.

Her co-op produces all of Global Groove Life's ball cover collection as well as cushion covers and zafu cushions.

Her Fair Trade contract guarantees that she makes a comfortable living - that allows her to put a little aside for a rainy day. She has now picked up enough customers through her Fair Trade contacts that she’s safe from the unexpected.

This is because a Fair Trade agreement gives the producer a deposit to create their orders. The onus is not on the producer to come up with the funds for all the materials before they’ve been paid - which is the opposite of how most larger corporate businesses do it.

Large corporations not only expect producers to front all the costs, but they will often catch producers out in fine print: If an order is running late, the producer will be charged a fee for every extra day. If stock doesn’t sell, or a customer returns it, the producer won’t be paid for those items.

This creates an extremely stressful situation for the producer, because all the risk is on them, and there is no leeway for life to happen. If someone gets sick, has a baby, totals their bike… it all comes crashing down and the producer is completely exposed.

Fair Trade protects producers from these lose-lose situations, and guarantees them reasonable conditions for fulfilling their orders.

 

 

Helping to create frameworks for small businesses that enable producers to become independent and successful.

Many producers have little formal education. They’re talented, hard-working and resourceful, but it’s often the case that they haven’t been exposed to the frameworks that make running a business simple and sustainable.

Having a Fair Trade contract in place helps them to meet people who can teach them how to systemise their businesses, and who can give them valuable insights into the markets the producer is trying to crack.

Bijay, who creates our wool felt products, started out with a little shop. He came up with all the designs, made them by hand, staffed the shop, sourced customers and trained new staff - all himself. Often in the same day. It’s the kind of activity that would terrify (or inspire!) a lesser creature.

Unfortunately, trying to do everything yourself handicaps the business.

Bijay was constantly exhausted, stressed and drained of creativity. He would lose designs and samples, customer orders would get confused, and while he wanted to grow the wholesale aspect of his business, he just couldn’t find the time.

When Bijay realised he could very simply systemise many aspects of his fledgling business, he saw that he would be able to scale up his output significantly. With some simple operating procedures & specifically trained staff, he is now able to focus on the high-leverage tasks of getting new wholesale customers and creating innovative new designs that his customers would be excited to purchase.

Fair Trade is about much more than providing a living wage. 

While that’s a vital element, the practical application of a Fair Trade contract goes far deeper into the lives and businesses of the producers. It transforms individual lives, and can revive entire communities in one swoop. Those are the problems we help to solve, and we couldn’t be happier about it.





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Ball Covers FAQs

Before you Order your Yoga Ball Cover:
How can I measure my ball?

We urge you to double and triple check the size of your ball before you order! Do NOT trust the ball package.  Measure it, please. It is quite common for folks to not inflate their ball to the specified size and since we often design in small-batches, we don’t want you to miss out on your favorite design due to a time lapse postal delay due to mismeasurements!

45cm, 55cm, 65cm or 75cm is the height of the ball when correctly inflated but this is quite difficult to measure. A more accurate measurement is the circumference;

45cm ball (height); circumference = 56 inches (142.2 cm)

55cm ball (height); circumference = 68 inches (172.7 cm)

65cm ball (height); circumference = 80 inches (203.2 cm)

75cm ball (height); circumference = 92 inches (233.6 cm)

This is the size the ball needs to be for our cover to fit correctly. All of our covers are checked to fit balls of the specifications above.

PLEASE NOTE: Our 55cm ball covers will fit the 52cm balls sold with the classic ball chair. 

After you Receiver your Yoga Ball Cover:
How can I get the best fit?

We now include instructions and a length of cord to make measuring your ball easier. Our covers are tailor-made to fit your ball snugly leaving no loose fabric.

Use the pre-cut string provided with your ball cover.  The string should wrap around the circumference (the middle of the ball) snugly without any extra length for a correct fit.

To double check you have purchased the right size:

Our strings are cut to 68” for a 55cm ball, 80” for a 65cm ball and 92” for a 75cm ball.

PLEASE NOTE: Our 55cm ball covers will fit the 52cm balls sold with some ball chairs. 

Now place the full circular piece of fabric at the top of your ball. This is the end WITHOUT the plug.

Wrap the cover around the ball gathering loose fabric towards the zip and then start closing the zip while continuing to smooth out loose folds of fabric towards the zip. When you get close to closing the zip completely, you may have some room to inflate your ball a little more for the most snug fit possible.­­

 

 

What are our covers made of?

All of our covers are 100% cotton and include a heavy weight YKK zip which wraps around 3/4 of the ball. This makes a close fit over a fully inflated ball possible.

Most of our covers are now made with non-stretch cotton but our cover pattern does allow for some give in the fabric. Our stretch cotton covers provide a little more flexibilty for inflation of your ball.

Who makes our covers?

Our covers are made by a co-op that we set up in Chom Thong, northern Thailand. Each ball cover includes a personal producer tag, giving you a short introduction to the face and personality behind the sewing machine : ).

Get to know our producers in our bios section.

Testimonials....

 

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We want you to be completely satisfied with your purchase.

Please view our simple return policy for instructions

Custom Order Requests

Thanks for your interest in our ball covers. We don't do any custom orders for retail purchases but we do like requests and we take all requests into consideration when planning our future orders.

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