Shop Talk: World Peaces Offers Fair Trade Goods
Last fall Clintonville welcomed a new fair trade store, World Peaces. Featuring fair trade items from all over the world, the shop is an eclectic mix of apparel, jewelry, and home décor items.
When World Peaces owner Connie DeJong left her 15-year-long career at Global Gallery, she had no intention of running another retail store. As with many small business owners over the last year, the pandemic changed her plans.
DeJong has been in the fair trade industry for 20 years, and had plans to open a fair trade wholesale company. In addition to supplying other stores with fair trade items, DeJong had plans for workshops and in-person shows. When the retail and wholesale industry changed last spring, she regrouped and altered her plans moving forward.
“2020 seems like a bad year to open a retail shop,” DeJong admitted, “But I wanted there to still be good things happening.”
She wanted to continue to offer an outlet for fair trade artisans to sell their products. When the space behind Global Gallery became available, DeJong had a vision for how she could use it for retail now, and eventually offer workshops as well.
DeJong has been traveling, volunteering, and building connections for most of her life. Most items at World Peaces are from Ghana, Lesotho, Bolivia, and Mexico. DeJong has led several trips “for anyone trying to figure out how to give back.” She hopes to resume leading small groups to those countries in the future.
Although fair trade is becoming more widely known, the industry is still a small community. A lot of what DeJong does is networking artisans, sellers, and suppliers to create connections to grow the market.
“The fair trade industry is much more collaborative than competitive,” she explained. DeJong still works with Global Gallery and Global Gifts, stocking some of their coffee items in her store.
World Peaces is part of the Fair Trade Federation, a community of businesses committed to fair trade practices. In an effort to create sustainability artisans utilize recycled materials. World Peaces sells left over materials from the artisans, offering makers in the states the ability to create sustainably as well. Fair trade practices also emphasize creating a livelihood for artisans and improving communities. Exporting goods creates resources in the communities, and artisans choose where the proceeds from their items are utilized.
World Peaces is open for in-person shopping at 15 W. Dunedin Rd., and online shopping at WorldPeaces.com.
All photos by Randi Walle