TROY — In addition to offering a unique shopping experience, one of downtown Troy’s newest businesses offers shoppers a chance to make a difference globally.
Pachamama Market offers fair trade certified and eco-friendly gifts. Each handmade item is certified by the Fair Trade Federation according to fair trade principals of empowering artists and communities.
“It’s an approach to business where it’s not just about profit, it’s about making sure that the relationship is transparent, accountable and fair for everyone,” owner Lindsay Woodruff explained. “It’s about people, not just the transaction itself.”
Pachamama means Mother Earth in the language of the Quechua people of Peru. Woodruff, a Tipp City native, studied abroad in Peru in college and was involved in the AmeriCorps. Her work in the non-profit sector and interest in international development inspired her to open Pachamama market.
“Behind every product you buy is a person, a real person,” she said.
When a consumer buys a certified fair trade item, they can be sure that the artist who made it earned a fair and livable wage in a safe working environment. A livable wage means that the artists are able to provide food, shelter, healthcare and education for themselves and their families, Woodruff explained.
“It gives the local consumer a chance to really truly make a global impact and change the world with their purchases,” she said.
All of the items in the store are from Central and South America, Africa, or South Asia, Woodruff said.
“It really is a very sustainable approach to ending global poverty, and specifically investing in women,” she explained.
According to Woodruff, when men have a financial opportunity they tend to leave their communities, whereas women stay in and invest in their communities. When consumers purchase fair trade items, that purchase can benefit entire communities.
Another bonus of fair trade items is that each one is totally unique. Some of the items for sale at Pachamama Market include beaded bracelets made by deaf women in Kenya, clutches made from recycled plastic bags, and jewelry made from carved PVC pipe.
“Even if you do find a similar product somewhere else, it’s not going to be exactly the same,” she said. “Every item is truly unique.”
All of the items are upcycled, recycled, or made with sustainably harvested natural materials from the community where it is made. Woodruff said.
Fair trade also emphasizes a respect for the cultural identities of the artists who make them.
“They’re very rich in cultural history,” Woodruff said of the items in her store, pointing out bags from Mexico which are handwoven with colorful patterns by the Zapotec people in Oaxaca.
Customers often remark that it’s a very unique store, Woodruff said, and she is happy to offer something different to her community.
“But fair trade shouldn’t be so different, it should be the norm,” she said. “It truly does change lives.”
Pachamama Market is located at 116 S. Market St. in Troy. For more information, check it out on Facebook at www.facebook.com/PachamamaMarketOH
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