Artisan crafts can spruce up anything from ordinary living rooms to drab wolf dens, as evidenced by the handcrafted batiks draped over Teen Wolf posters in every home. For $15, today's deal gets you $30 worth of fair-trade goods at Ten Thousand Villages. This Groupon is good at the following Ten Thousand Villages locations: Evanston, Oak Park, and Glen Ellyn.
Working with artisans in developing countries and paying them fair wages, Ten Thousand Villages supplies handicraft lovers with handcrafted jewelry, home décor, accessories, and gifts. Support marginalized women in Bangladesh with YWCA Craft Centre's bright and goosy Super Duck backpack (Bangladesh, $24), which allows school children to strut confidently into second grade and lawyers to swagger into the courtroom with a duck on their backs. Socially conscious crafters can take home a hand-stitched capiz cat bookmark (Phillipines, $8) from Saffy Handicrafts, and frugal fashionistas can sport dancing-girl earrings made from recycled soda cans by KICK Trading Ltd. (Kenya, $12) or a marbled bead choker from TARA Projects (India, $16). Fair-trade staples, such as Equal Exchange coffee, tea, and chocolates, make tasty gifts for Father's Day, Secretary's Day, or Father's Secretary's Day.
Ten Thousand Villages takes its inspiration from Mahatma Gandhi, who said, "India is not to be found in a few cities, but in the 700,000 villages." As one of the founding members of the World Fair Trade Organization, Ten Thousand Villages empowers artisan groups from more than 38 countries with fair wages and long-term buying relationships. Every purchase helps pay for food, education, and healthcare for those who crafted Ten Thousand Villages' products, fostering a positive partnership between artist and consumer.
Ten Thousand Villages won the 2005 People's Choice Award for Green Business of the Year. WGN News and Medill Reports featured Ten Thousand Villages. Four Insider Pagers give it an average of four stars and Yelpers award it an average of 4.5 stars:
- The People’s Choice Award for Green Business of the Year is designed to honor the work of socially and environmentally responsible businesses, highlight how businesses can commit to products and practices that contribute to the health and well-being of people, workers, communities and the environment, and challenge corporate America to do the same. – Green America Today
- At this shop, you will find all sorts of ethnic and exotic artifacts, clothes, instruments that you could hope for. One of several locations in the Chicago area, the staff is earthy and kind and will give you some ideas on what you might be looking for. – Ian W., Insider Pages
Ten Thousand Villages
All big movements start small, but many would be surprised to learn that Ten Thousand Villages—a nonprofit and retailer with 390 outlets nationwide—began out of a car trunk. In 1946, Edna Ruth Byler started the organization out of her car, taking a name from a quote by Mohandas Gandhi, who said, “India is not to be found in its few cities but in the 700,000 villages.” Her willpower and determination allowed her vision to grow into a nonprofit that today supports more than 130 artisans in 38 developing countries. These artisans' wares go on sale at the organization's nationwide retail outlets, which brim with items including jewelry, home decor, and refrigerator cozies.
Everything is made using environmentally friendly processes, and every artisan is paid a fair wage. The money raised from sales goes to supply the artisans—who might otherwise be unemployed or underemployed—with education, food, housing, and healthcare. The organization has risen to such stature that it won the People’s Choice Award for Green Business of the Year in 2005, and has acted as one of the founding members of the World Fair Trade Organization.