family life

Fair Trade Friday: pretty goods, great cause

If you like pretty things, and if you want to do good in the world whenever you can, then you’ll love Fair Trade Friday as much as I do. Founded by Mercy House Kenya (a ministry I already love and support), Fair Trade Friday is about empowering marginalized women near and far.

The goods are lovely; the cause is even better.

Like this pretty little teal paper bead bracelet from Kenya. I’m not a big jewelry-wearer but I’ve worn this several times since it came in a happy little box a couple of weeks ago. It’s lightweight, casual enough for me (I’m not a fancy girl), and goes with all sorts of things.

paper bead bracelet

These note cards were handmade and hand-stamped by a woman somewhere in the Himalayan Mountains. I love sending real snail mail, and I’ve already sent one of these beauties on it’s merry way.

hand stamped note cards

Obviously I need to practice my lettering, but it’s still prettier than any store-bought birthday card.

Kathryn tried to snag this patterned orange tote bag as soon as I pulled it out of my box. But I stayed strong and did not cave, so this puppy is still mine.

Three Cords Haiti tote bag

I found a slim laptop sleeve that almost perfectly matches, so I can fit my MacBook, a notebook, and a light sweater in this bag. (What’s with overkill air conditioning in grocery stores?) I could easily stuff more in here, and the interior pocket is the perfect size to hold my mouse, glasses, and a snack. It’s well-made and the wide strap makes toting all that stuff more comfy.

Fair Trade Friday tote bag

My favorite thing about this tote? It’s from Three Cords, a company that hires physically handicapped men and women in Haiti, giving them training and employment so they can support themselves and their families. Currently, Fair Trade Friday partners with organizations in 18 countries  to provide employment for more than 500 impoverished women around the world.

How you can join Fair Trade Friday:

You can:

Each monthly box contains 3 to 4 surprise items, so it’s like a gift at your doorstep every month. Items vary, but your goodies will consist of accessories (like jewelry or handbags), organic soaps, coffee, journals or note cards, etc. All items are handmade, and all profits go to the artisans. If one of the products in your box isn’t quite “you,” then give it as a gift; each box includes gift tags to share items with friends or family.

Give it a try, and know you’re helping change lives for the better.

Disclosure: I received the products in this post for the purposes of review. However, I was not paid for this post and will not earn commission if you make a purchase; as I said, all profits go back to the artisans — which is one of the reasons I love this ministry.

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I have seen this before and have wanted to join……. Blake just asked last night what I wanted for my birthday next week – I have an answer now : ) A monthly membership to Fair Trade, using a lot of the surprises each month to stash back for Christmas gifts, along with keeping a few cute things for myself : ) Not to mention the extra gift of the joy of supporting these women.

thanks for sharing this!


Oooh your new bag is lovely! What a neat match with the laptop sleeve too. I’d have assumed they were sold as a matching set if you hadn’t said otherwise. Sadly it looks like they don’t ship to the UK.

Sarah Esh

Those notecards are beautiful! And your hand lettering looks pretty great too. 🙂

Kaitlyn Bouchillon

Jamie I looooove your post and photographs! Also, I can’t believe what a perfect match that laptop sleeve is with the bag! Honestly, I would have thought it was a set. (And can I admit to being a letter-lover and possible hoarder? I would have such a hard time doing anything but framing those note cards!)


Hi Jamie! I caught your Instagram post with your bag and simply adored it then! I’m right there with you on the sweater – always cold – and your tote is perfect for carrying everything (even that important sweater) in such pretty style.

Thank you for sharing your voice. I’m honored to be alongside you in this beautiful effort to bless these precious women.