Committed to fair trade practices, Handmade Expressions, an Austin, Texas-based wholesale company, works closely with 30+ artisan groups in India to create products that combine contemporary design with traditional art forms.
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Ruchi Agrawal, Director of Product Development for Handmade Expressions, says, “We’re pursuing the integration of ethnic art forms and modern styles; marrying artisan tradition to current consumer trends in design aesthetics.”
Converting Producers to Traders
At Handmade Expressions they believe that fair trade goes beyond the buying of products from artisans. They see fair trade as a platform to empower artisan organizations and a tool for sustainable community development.
To help achieve this, Handmade Expressions has established a team in India. Along with other responsibilities, this team facilitates business training with artisan groups, supervises new product development, and assists with fair wage issues and artisan pre-payment/loan support.
Additionally, Handmade Expressions sponsors health and infrastructure programs within local artisan communities -- an important part of their commitment to improving the economic and social standing of these communities.
A proud member of the Fair Trade Federation (FTF), Handmade Expressions works toward economic and social well-being in the world by selling fair trade products and promoting the cause.
Greenheart carries several products from Handmade Expressions, including cruelty-free leather journals using eco-friendly recycled cotton paper inserts.
The leather cooperative is based in Rajasthan, an area of India that is strictly vegetarian, and their handcrafted journals, decorated with beautiful designs and patterns, are made from animals that died naturally.
The paper is made by another artisan group, in Sanganer village of West Rajasthan. These artisans make their paper from recycled cotton rags and then embellish it through hand embroidery or block-printing. They create beautiful paper gift bags, gift wrap, and other paper products.
The photos show leather artisans hand-carving patterns for the Greenheart Shop journals. The video is of the leather artisans creating the journals and Eco-Friendly Papers creating the journal inserts.