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Just Trade: About the Makers

Photo: Jewellery Makers, Peru

Makers Snapshot

Where: Designed in the UK, the artisans are based in Peru, Ecuador, India and Vietnam
Established: 2006
Founder: English Jewellery Designer, Laura Cave
Number of Workers: Over 30 women artisans in Peru, over 100 artisans in Vietnam, 43 women artisans in India
Products: Jewellery and accessories
Materials: Brass, sterling silver, tagua nuts, felt and cotton
Values: Fair Trade, empowering women, supporting domestic violence victims and people with disabilities
Memberships & Certifications: Just Trade are members of BAFTS Fair Trade Network UK, their artisan partners in Vietnam and Ecuador are WFTO registered

BAFTS Fair Trade Network UK logo

"A lot of people think that Fairtrade is just about ensuring that people are paid a fair wage, and that no child labor or slave labor is involved in the production process. Actually it's about a lot more than that. It's about providing opportunities for people who are economically disadvantaged, it's about long-term relationships, it's about training, it's about capacity building, it's about respect for the environment, it's about providing opportunities for people who otherwise would have limited opportunities in their life, and together we collaborate to release that potential and produce beautiful jewellery." 
- Just Trade Founder, Laura Cave

Hope Jewellery Project - Peru

Photo: Ruthi - Hope Jewellery Project
The artisans at Hope Jewellery in Peru are the makers of some of Just Trade's gorgeous brass jewellery.

Just Trade have been partnering with Hope Jewellery for sixteen years. Originally based in the La Tablada and California shanty towns of Lima, the project has expanded and they now also have artisans in two provincial cities, Ayacucho and Cajamarca. The project provides sustained work for over 30 women.

For women in the shanty towns and disadvantaged areas of Peru, there are few employment opportunities that offer part time hours and fair wages. Many women work as housekeepers for wealthy families or in garment factories, both of which demand a long commute and long work hours, forcing mothers to leave their children at home alone or in the care of extended family. 

Hope Jewellery has created opportunities where women can work from home or close by, and their work is part time and fairly paid. The impact of this much needed income and flexible work arrangement on the women and their families is significant - it means they can upgrade their homes, pay for healthcare, and educate their children. It also allows women to spend more time at home with their families.

A major part of Just Trade's vision is capacity building, and Just Trade has provided the women with extensive training in jewellery making and design, giving them the skills and confidence to create high quality products and come up with their own designs.

Meet the Makers

Cristina

Primi and Bryan
Nieves
Naty
Blanca
Celia

Flowering Desert - India

Photo: the women from Flowering Desert Project

This is the talented group of artisans who make Just Trade's hammered brass jewellery collection.

Flowering Desert is an Indian social enterprise led by Mercy Imondi who runs an organisation called the Mahalir Aran Trust (MAT). Based in Dharmapuri in Southern India, MAT provides refuge and counselling to disadvantaged women and children who have experienced abuse.

About half the women who work at Flowering Desert live on site at the MAT safe house. The aim of the social enterprise is to empower women through capacity building and helping them work towards financial independence.

Just Trade's partnership with Flowering Desert began in 2010 when Grace and Lottie, two English design graduates who worked for Just Trade, travelled to India after being told about the project. At the time, the production facility had an unreliable power supply and the seven tailors who were employed there were struggling to find reliable work. The solution came in the form of jewellery making. By using hand tools, the producers wouldn't have to rely on electricity to create products. Grace and Lottie began teaching the women basic jewellery techniques such as beading, cutting, polishing and hammering. The women at Flowering Desert were fast learners, and over the years they have perfected the art of jewellery making and passed the skills onto other women.

There are now 43 women employed at the production centre who receive fair payment and work in a safe, nurturing environment. The work day is shorter and the workers receive complementary transportation to work. The women are also provided with counselling, healthcare, advice on financial management and assistance with their children's education. Just Trade visits India every year to provide Flowering Desert with training and new equipment.

You can learn more about the Mahalir Aran Trust by watching this video.

Meet the Makers

Selvi

Vanitha and Geeta
Madhamma
Janaki

Vietnam

Two textiles artisans from Vietnam at their sewing machines, holding signs that say "I made your bag"
Photo: Textiles artisans in Vietnam

Just Trade partner with a WFTO certified producer group in Vietnam to create their zipped pouches, scarves, and other accessories. The organisation focuses on providing training and employment for people with disabilities and other marginalised communities in Hanoi and surrounding villages.

Each textiles product is a collaboration between many different artisans, including embroiderers in the Long Bien District and Co Chat, screen printers in Du Noi, fabric dyers in Nhan Xa, scarf makers in Meo and Thai weavers in Mai Chau.

The artisans receive fair, regular wages and work in a supportive environment where there are many opportunities to develop new skills and progress in their careers. Over one hundred people are employed by the organisation.

Meet the Makers

Thuy - Textiles Artisan

Lang - Embroiderer

Dung - Technician

Hue - Warehouse Manager

Tagua Nut Jewellery - Ecuador

Photo: Artisans Olga and Elsa from Yurac Muyo in Quito, Ecuador 

Just Trade's tagua nut jewellery is made by WFTO producers in Ecuador, in collaboration with Peruvian artisans.

The tagua nut comes from a type of palm that grows natively in the South American jungle. Sometimes called "vegetable ivory", tagua is a vegan and environmentally sustainable alternative to animal ivory.

Just Trade have been partnering with artisans in Ecuador since 2011, and today they work with five different Fair Trade producer groups including the women from Yurac Muyo in Quito and a workshop in Sosote.

Just Trade have created training programs and design workshops to help the artisans make jewellery that appeals to the Western market. The producers are overseen by local Ecuadorian project coordinator, Vilma, who has been working in Fair Trade for over twenty years.

Meet the Makers

Fernando - Sosote, Ecuador

Ronald - Sosote, Ecuador

Carlos - Sosote, Ecuador

Magdalena

Darwin - Sosote, Ecuador

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Each purchase of Just Trade jewellery & accessories helps ensure these artisans can continue to receive regular work. You can support them by purchasing Just Trade products here.