About Global Village Gifts
Global Village Gifts is a not-for-profit retail store featuring fairly traded handcrafts produced by artisans and farmers around the world. Our mission is two-fold: We educate the local public on the principles of Fair Trade, and we support artisans through the employment opportunities offered by Fair Trade.
How We Practice Fair Trade
As a member of Fair Trade Federation, Global Village Gifts is committed to paying artisans in third-world countries a fair price for the products they make. Our goal is to help these artisans provide for their families and improve their future rather than endure unemployment and substandard living conditions. While most for-profit corporations purchase merchandise at the lowest possible price at the expense of the artisan, fair trade organizations work to further the economic success of producers in developing countries.
Many of the artisans whose products we sell are women. According to the United Nations Development Program, women provide the primary support for a quarter of the world's families, and women are the sole support for another quarter. By purchasing merchandise at Global Village Gifts, you are contributing to better the lives of underprivileged artisan families in Asia, Africa and South and Central America.
The reason Global Village Gifts can buy products at a fair price for the artisans, yet sell them at an affordable price for customers, is because the store is operated by volunteers, whose age ranges from 18-76. The volunteers interact with customers on the sales floor, display new merchandise, and teach the community about fair trade. Our mission would be impossible without these hard-working individuals who give their time and talents to support the Fair Trade mission. If you are interested in contributing as a volunteer, visit our Volunteer With Us! page.
Global Village Gifts opened to the public on November 7, 2003, under the umbrella of Ten Thousand Villages, Utah. In September 2005, with the blessing of Ten Thousand Villages, Utah, we separated to become Global Village Gifts, which is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation committed to promoting intercultural understanding. It is through your generous tax deductible donations that we are able to further our mission of educating the local public while making an impact globally.
One of our major suppliers is Ten Thousand Villages, an economic development program of the Mennonite Central Committee since 1946. Ten Thousand Villages purchases handicrafts from artisan cooperatives in developing countries and distributes the merchandise through its warehouse in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Another major supplier is SERRV International, a nonprofit alternative trade and development organization. SERRV’s mission is to promote the social and economic progress of people in developing regions of the world by marketing their products in a just and direct manner.
Celebrating 15 Years of Fair Trade
Global Village Gifts started its journey 15 years ago through the dedication of a socially conscious 71-year-old woman named Sally Keller. But Sally's personal interest in fair trade and global causes began almost a decade earlier.
The first beginnings were in 1994 with a simple gift: a latrine in Nepal bought in Sally's name. The gift was given to her by her sister-in-law from Alternative Gifts International, an organization which allows individuals to give donations to various causes as gifts. Then, in 1996, Sally was introduced to the mission of fair trade after a trip to Africa with her daughter where she was able to engage with local fair trade artisans. She was later given the opportunity in 1999 to speak about her experiences abroad at a fair trade store in Salt Lake City known as Ten Thousand Villages. The culmination of these experiences sparked an interest in Sally that couldn't be ignored.
Initially, Sally worked to bring an extension of the Alternative Gift market to Logan's First Presbyterian Church. In addition to donation cards, fair trade handicrafts were also offered from Ten Thousand Villages. The annual event continued on for years with enthusiasm. The reaction of the public became obvious: there was a demand for fair trade products to be offered throughout the year.
In 2003 Sally started efforts to open a seasonal fair trade store, which would be open sporadically throughout the year in conjunction with major holidays. It began as an extension of Ten Thousand Villages, but started running independently under the name of Global Village Gifts just two years later.
The store was created with two purposes in mind: to offer the public fair trade products and to educate on the mission of fair trade. With these principles, Global Village Gifts registered as a nonprofit organization and was run exclusively by volunteers for the first nine years. From the beginning, volunteers dedicated their time and talents in any way possible to get the store up and running as a viable business.
As time went on, the store required more business hours to keep up with its growing popularity. Eventually Global Village Gifts moved to a new location and adopted regular store hours, which remain as Monday through Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. With the continued growth, Sally eventually retired on her 80th birthday after 9 years of operation. With her retirement came the paid position of a store manager and later a volunteer coordinator. Although the store has expanded enough to require the added positions, the day-to-day operations are still run by over 30 dedicated volunteers, including a volunteer board of directors.
Global Village Gifts is a member of the Fair Trade Federation and is currently the only fair trade non-profit store in the state of Utah. The store currently supports 29 vendors from 48 countries and has over 1,500 products. It is through the continued support of the community and the store's customers that Global Village Gifts has been able to provide a unique and ethical shopping experience for so many years. We thank you for your support and look optimistically towards the years to come. We are excited to have you on our journey.