The world’s most famous brands reach their consumers through ad campaigns with supermodels and celebrity endorsements. Their glamorous photoshoots are raised on billboards, magazine covers, and in store displays. They run special offers through newspapers and direct mailers, or email you a coupon code you can use on their website. They have 50,000 square feet retail stores with large window displays and products visually merchandised to awe the customer. So what does a brand such as Aarong, who sells handicraft goods, do to market their products? The exact same thing.
In the minds of global consumers, reading labels on products originating from the global South trigger images of sweatshops, child labour, and the unscrupulous owners poorly paying their workers. In the past decade, the global backlash has forced major brands to reconsider the ethical practices of their sourcing. The fair trade movement has long advocated for certain principles, successfully placing a new form of branding on products that carry its label. Often, consumers simply equate fair trade to payment of fair wages. However it goes far beyond a few extra dollars in the pockets of producers to ensure their sustainability.