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Room for Everyone: Setting an Ethical Holiday Table

We believe that global economic justice is possible when we work together to do business differently, when we make space for everyone at the table. This Fair Trade Month, join us in celebrating our commitment to fair wages and safe working conditions. We invest in long-term partnerships with artisans in developing countries, so we see the impact of our commitment to ethical practiceschildren go to school and stay healthy, families build homes and save for the future, and food is always on the table. Every handcrafted product we sell generates income and impact, so you can have a holiday tablescape that’s ethical at every setting.

Shop with intention and share in the joy with rustic tableware from the artisans of Noah’s Ark and Asha Handcrafts in India.  

A conversation is the cornerstone of every purchase we make from an artisan group. Together, we agree on a price that provides artisans with a fair, living wage. We deliver advance payments to grow resilient enterprises that thrive, like Noah’s Ark, makers of a delightful new collection of metal tableware for the holidays. Noah’s Ark started with two metalworkers in a single room and grew into a network of thirty-eight workshops representing over 300 artisans in Moradabad, India. 

Ethical Holiday Table | Twisted Brass Napkin Ring

In 2015, Noah’s Ark moved to a new 35,000 square foot facility, a safe working space for ninety employees who conduct quality control and finishing work. 

Ethical Holiday Table | Delicate Lines Bread Basket

We provide interest-free financing and fair wage pricing to Noah’s Ark (and all our artisan partners). Our upfront investment enables the group to purchase the raw materials needed, protecting them from exploitative loans. It also means there is a financial safety net in times of crises. When India was placed in lockdown in response to the pandemic in the spring of 2020, Noah’s Ark was able to continue paying the full salaries of the workers in their factory while they quarantined. Between May and October of 2020, they were able to provide over $1,500 in grants along with personal protective equipment to the workshops in their network.

Much of the wire work featured in products by Noah’s Ark is done by women artisans. When you pay a fair price for the Copper & Bamboo Basket, you’re providing sustenance to women artisans whose employment opportunities are often limited with a basket that can provide sustenance to your loved ones.  

Ethical Holiday Table | Copper & Bamboo Basket

Not hosting this year? Consider taking the Field Mouse Cheese Knife as a host gift to wherever you’ll be calling home for the holidays.  

We provide 50 percent upfront payment to our artisan partners – before the products are even made. The remaining 50 percent is paid at the time of export. When you choose to pay a fair price for ethically made tableware, you become a part of the story, lowering economic risks for artisan workshops all over the world. This investment allows highly skilled artisans to carry on traditional crafts, like the Dabu block printing technique used by Asha Handicrafts. In Dabu printing, the design is hand-printed on the fabric using blocks that have been carved to reflect nature-inspired motifs. Next, a mud resist technique is used, and the fabric is dried in the sun. Finally, the fabric is dipped in dye, dried, and thoroughly washed, resulting in a stunning covering for your holiday table.

Kalamkari, another block printing technique, is centuries-old. Carefully handcrafted table linens, like the Autumn Breeze Napkin, are mesmerizing. If you’re going to spend all day in the kitchen preparing a delicious meal, it deserves a gorgeous table setting on which to present it. 

Autumn Breeze Tablecloth

There’s no such thing as too much to celebrate during the holidays. However you decide to decorate your table, when you shop with intention you share in the joy of connecting with makers in ten thousand villages. We’re doing business differently so that, in addition to sharing joy with your loved ones and enjoying scrumptious meals, you can celebrate the fair wages and safe working conditions that allow global artisans to create beautiful, one-of-a-kind tableware. This holiday season, set an ethical holiday table that will be remembered for years to come.  

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Madeleine Murphy

Madeleine lives in Lancaster, PA. Most of the time she is reading or riding her bike.

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Mosaic brings you stories that help you make fair trade and global culture part of your style, home and life.