Artisans express the cultural richness of societies all over the world. Sadly however, the long chain of commercial middlemen pays them only 7 to 9% of the final price. Even through well-intentioned conventional fair trade channels, the artisan seldom gets more than 15%.
Fortunately, major advances in Internet technology and shipping logistics are now giving producers more control over the entire value chain. PEOPLink.org is a non-profit organization with the mission of helping fair trade producer groups benefit from global e-commerce. Its award winning OpenEntry.com e-commerce platform enables grass roots producer groups to build their own free e-commerce catalogs with credit card capability.
PEOPLink then guides the producer groups to upload their catalogs onto the marketplace FairTradeDirect.com where you can browse through the thousands of items offered by country, category, price or key word. When you find the item you want, you can immediately order it directly from the producer organization and pay them by credit card. PEOPLink guarantees your transaction 100%.
PEOPLink also helps the artisan groups organize the logistics necessary to ship orders directly to buyers like you. In some cases, they will ship directly to you as soon as you place your order. More often, to keep the international shipping costs reasonable, on the first week of every month, they will send a consolidated air shipment of all the orders from the previous month to the PEOPLink offices in Kensington MD and we clear them through US customs (we'll let you know). All the orders are already packed in a box/envelope with the recipient's address on the mailing label so all we have to do is drop them in the US mail. Your order usually arrives by the 15th of the following month you ordered it.
By linking you and the producer directly, FairTradeDirect.com enriches your fair trade experience while doubling the income of the producer group. The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO.org) praised this initiative "promoting quality crafts from developing countries on the global market and the Internet while supporting the development of small craft enterprises to master these marketing opportunities without intermediaries".
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