Buying fair trade items isn't always easy. When products come from the other side of the world, it's hard to trust whether the artisan or factory worker was paid a living wage to make the item. And, the particular item I'm looking for may or may not be offered as fair-trade. What am I to do?
A closer-to-home alternative is buying handmade, via Etsy or local craft fairs. By buying from artisans who are setting their own price, they are getting paid what they view as "fair" and you are getting a quality, one-of-a-kind product. Lately, I've been in the market for a specific gift, and I'm astounded by what's out there. I can get something much more beautiful, unique and special than anything I could find at the mall, for about the same price. I know, when I buy handmade, that I'm supporting someone who is talented and is passionate about what they do, rather than a corporate structure and mass-production.