What is Worldstock?

Posted: Thu Jun 08, 2006 6:07 pm Post subject: What is Worldstock?

Dear Honored Guest,

Worldstock is special in a way that can best be explained with a few stories.

Worldstock launched in September, 2001. In Peru, we found a small co-op of artisans making leather-and-wood furniture, and asked them to make ten Ottomans for us: we sold out in a day. Then they half-filled a container: again, we quickly sold out. When we wrote about placing larger orders, we received this reply:

“The artisans literally wept tears of joy and danced in the streets yesterday when queried about their ability to produce these orders. They promised to do what was necessary — work night and day — to make all that was ordered as soon as possible, and more if things continued to sell for you. While many had expressed their sadness at the events of September 11, and to say they were united in solidarity with the USA against terrorism (which many of them have faced years before us), no one had mentioned work. Silently, they had feared that the repercussions of the terrorist attack would harm our economy, and that since they were producing ‘gift’ items, no one would be thinking of buying them. How would they feed their children? they worried. How would they pay tuition for their schools? How would they pay the rent? Could they pay their workers? Or should they fire them now? Should they wait to visit the doctor or buy medicine, not knowing if they’d have any income to pay for it next week? I just wanted you to know that your success with our products means food, schooling, medicine and hope for dozens of families in Peru. On behalf of a lot of happy artisans, thank you.”

Now we get one container every two months from them, and their small co-op has mushroomed into a federation of hundreds of wood-and leather-workers earning good livings. Similarly, in Nepal Worldstock has been able employ metal working artisans who would otherwise be out of work have lost business due to a Maoist insurgency. In a village near Chiang Mai, Thailand, a small family business employs artisans to make us handmade furniture. In total, thousands of artisans in 35 countries are working to offer you their quality handicrafts in our Worldstock department. We abide by principles of fair trade. A detailed explanation of the history and principles of Worldstock can be found here, but the short version is, we are trying to double or triple the income of less fortunate people around the world, while offering you exotic products at a fraction of the price at which you would find them in expensive boutiques.

Respectfully submitted,

Patrick M. Byrne

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