Beautiful, Life-Changing Baskets: Why Fair Trade Matters

As you have noticed by now, our mild fall temperatures have come to an end!  Old Man Winter literally blew in overnight and I don’t think we’ll see many more sixty-something degree days.  But I love the change of seasons and appreciate the coziness that winter brings. I love making a pot of beef cheek stew, pouring a glass of my favorite Cote du Rhone, and building a real fire. This year I have chosen to keep a pile of wood right beside my fireplace, in a beautiful basket that I feel very good about.


Why am I so happy to have this pretty little basket full of firewood take center stage in my family room?  Because it is lovely, sure, of the highest quality, and the jute adds the perfect layer of texture to the space, but it’s way more than that.  The vendor from whom we source these baskets, The Dharma Door, ensures that all products are made within in the confines of Fair Trade.

You may have seen or heard the term “Fair Trade” before, but might not be familiar with what it means. According to the World Fair Trade Organization, Fair Trade is “a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency, and respect that seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers.” But Fair Trade is more than just trading: it is a tangible contribution to the fight against poverty, climate change, and economic crisis.

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The founders of The Dharma Door, William and Katie, explain:

Our team has travelled the world to find the most highly skilled Fair Trade artisans, using only the best quality raw materials, to bring you an exclusive range of baskets and homewares that bridge contemporary styling with time-honored traditional production methods. In others words, not only are you purchasing a beautifully designed and impeccably crafted product, you are engaging with a product that tells a story with every stitch and every fiber. 

Through our partnerships with village men and women, The Dharma Door brings needed resources to remote villages while ensuring that traditional skills aren’t lost in the modern consumer environment. We value the unrivalled quality of products that such partnerships create, and we are proud to be actively promoting Fair Trade ethics to a growing audience in search of something that is made to last, and wanting something that tells a bigger story than just the item itself.

At Coco Blanca, we try our best to offer as many products that are made within Fair Trade Agreements as possible.  It is heartening to know that one can buy a product that is helping people in a third world country raise their wages and build a better life. And this is all done without government intervention.

I agree with William and Katie’s statement that they “want to live in a world where each and every human life is valued, nurtured and celebrated.” We can all contribute to this mantra whenever we buy Fair Trade products. You can read more about The Dharma Door and their Fair Trade practice on their blog in this post. I think it will make you happy, especially in this holiday season!


  • The latest from Gayla
Co-Owner | Coco Blanca
With her innate sense of style—making everything beautiful comes naturally.

Using the soothing color palette of a coconut by the sea—whites, neutrals and splashes of turquoise—Coco Blanca has created a trademark look. Her lifestyle boutique offers expert solutions for home design and women’s fashion—blending a clean, fresh, sophisticated, feel-good style.

210 South Union Street
Alexandria, VA 22314


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