Subscription boxes are huge right now. Basically, there’s a subscription box or plan for pretty much anything, and it’s a great idea! You get great products for a reduced price because they’re purchased in bulk and it’s usually a surprise! Fun times!

Bonus: They’re a FANTASTIC gift for that hard-to-buy-for person on your Christmas list! Who doesn’t love receiving a box full of surprise goodies each month?

So what better than to offer a subscription box including fair trade items from some amazing artisans around the world? When I heard about FAIR Treasure subscription boxes I was thrilled to know there was an option for supporting ethical and sustainable production.

Fair Trade is about making a tremendous impact on artisan and farmer communities while offering great products to the public.  Communities are improved; nutritional needs met; health care costs are covered; the poor, especially women, are empowered, and protection for the environment is valued.

Here’s how it works:

The Cost: $30 a month plus shipping (Free shipping with 3 month plan, Canadians will have to pay more shipping, that’s just how it goes with Canada Post :p)

The Products: Each box will contain at least $30 in retail value of ethically sourced treasures. Usually your treasure box will contain 2-3 items.

When I received my November FAIR Treasure box I literally jumped for joy. Inside was the most beautiful red, full length apron from Zen Zen!

Zen Zen Apron FAIR Treasure

I had just been thinking I needed to add that to my Christmas list and bam, there it was! It’s almost too pretty to wear, but so far it’s washed up really nicely.

FAIR Treasure apron

Also included were a pair of beaded tassel earrings hand crafted by an artisan from a co-op outside of New Delhi.

swinging tassel earrings FAIR Treasure

They’re great for dressing up or for just a little bit of everyday glam.

Both of these items are available for sale on FAIR Treasure’s website if you don’t receive them in your box.

I also had a chance to speak with Elizabeth and Erick Straghelis, the founders of FAIR Treasure, along with Elizabeth’s sister, Esther. Here is a little bit of their story and the background behind FAIR Treasure.

FAIR Treasure logo

What inspired the idea for FAIR Treasure fair trade subscription boxes?

The idea for FAIR Treasure came from a few places.  My sister Esther and I {Elizabeth} grew up in the heart of Pennsylvania, really close to the headquarters of Ten Thousand Villages.  We used to go to the store as little girls (back when it was called “Self Help Crafts of the World”) and look at all of the amazing treasures from around the world.  As a kid, I think these visits were so impressionable.

Later on in life, after spending a few years running social mission trips for college students in El Salvador, my husband Erick and I saw first-hand the ill effects of commercial middlemen in the central markets.  Erick’s family lives in El Salvador, so we quickly and easily changed the trips to make sure we could take the students to visit the cooperatives directly.  As a result, we started planning long busrides deep into the country, so that the teams of college students could visit the artisan cooperatives directly and see first-hand the beauty of FAIR trade relationships!

Together with Erick and Esther, we built on these seeds and started FAIR Treasure.  The subscription box model is an easy, exciting way to help promote the “conscious commerce” industry.  We currently work with artisan cooperatives who design thetreasures for our boxes and our online store.

fair treasure artisan co-ops

What is most important to you in the mission of fair trade?

For me, it’s the fact that we’re all connected (probably closer than we can even imagine).  There’s a lot that doesn’t meet the eye.  We have a Herman Melville quote on our website, and I think his statement captures the essence of our human connection:

“Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads, and along these sympathetic fibers, our actions run as causes and return to us as results.”  

I like the fact that Melville calls the fibers of connection “sympathetic.” In this context, he isn’t talking about feeling sorry for someone – he’s talking about understanding them!  And,  I love the notion that there are thousands of ways we’re all connected, one to another.

When we’re talking about fair trade, we’re not talking about charity or sympathy.  We are simply talking about a trading platform that allows people to relate to each other in a fair way.  It’s a great way to be authentically human, and to act in a way that acknowledges the connections we have to everyone around us.

This is the reason why we include the story cards behind each treasure – we want to showcase the people and communities behind the products.

FAIR Treasure Artisan stories

What is the most exciting thing that has happened because of the work you’ve done with FAIR Treasure?

We’re currently in the process of designing an amazing item for our January boxes with a design house who employs women who live in the Himalayas.  We have a short video coming out, too!  We were able to get video footage of the women designers, and they talked about the ways the income from their collaboration with us will help them and their families.

One woman, who was a widow, talked about how she otherwise wouldn’t have a way of making money.  Another woman talked about her dream of sending her daughter to school.  It’s amazing that your purchase can have such a huge impact on someone else’s life!


What would you say to others to encourage them they can make a difference in the lives of others by changing they way they shop?

It’s becoming easier and easier to find places that source their products ethically.  (Blogs like yours are a a great way to start.) You might have to pay a bit more for the thing you want, but you get this added glow – you’re buying more than just the product.  Your dollar is also a vote toward the type of world you want to live in!  And, those votes are powerful. {AMEN!}

get good give good

Get good. Give good. It really, truly is as simple as that. So if you’re stuck on that difficult Christmas gift, why not give FAIR Treasure subscription boxes a try? Guaranteed, you won’t regret it :0)