MARYVILLE, Tenn. — The Beautifully Made Fair Trade is back for it's tenth year in Maryville.
The craft market takes places in the upstairs of Vienna Coffee House in Maryville and features a unique selection of items from all over the world.
Artisans in countries from Haiti to Peru hand make ornaments, jewelry and household décor that is available for purchase.
The craft fair's purpose goes much deeper than just checking off your holiday shopping list. As a fair trade market, purchases help support the artisans who make the goods, empowering them and teaching them to be self-sustaining through their craftmanship.
"We are now fair trade certified, which means that we guarantee that we pay our artisans fair wages, and that they have a safe environment to work in," explained founder Amanda Armstrong. "It's actually made by somebody that is in need. And it doesn't just support the artisan, but it supports their family and just so many more."
Armstrong developed the idea for the craft market while living in Haiti and working at a children's home.
"I came across all these amazing artisans hand making products. And I thought 'man, it'd be such a neat way to purchase these products, bring it back to the states and be able to turn around and flip it and be able to support our kids in Haiti, artisans in Haiti and all of their families," said Armstrong.
Partnerships with other fair trade organizations have allowed them to expand to offer items from dozens of other countries.
"We've got Peru, Guatemala, Haiti, lots of different places in Africa, we've probably got 30 plus maybe even 50 countries supporting here at our local market," said Armstrong.
You'll find paper mâché ornaments from India, soapstone nativities hand carved in Kenya, and even steel-drum crafted Santas from Haiti. Many of the items repurpose materials.
"So many artisans in Haiti make metal and it's out of a 55 gallon steel drum. So we'll take this huge piece of metal, and they'll repurpose it, and they will hand make it with a chisel and a nail. And it's incredible to come to this village. And all you hear is 'tink tink', you hear this amazing noise of artisans all over making products to be able to support, support their family," Armstrong described.
Through the years, it has grown into a well-loved event in the community and a tradition they hope continues to grow years to come.
"I love the feeling of when I work with artisans to be able to hand them money and to be able to really provide them jobs and to empower them," said Armstrong. "My heart just goes out to these people that work so hard, that can't always provide for themselves for themselves. And so our products are able to do that. And just to help them along the way."
- The Beautifully Made Fair Trade will be open Friday, December 3rd and Saturday, December 4th from 10-4 in Maryville at the Vienna Coffee House (upstairs).
- Shoppers can also visit on December 10th & 11th from 10-4.
- If you can't stop by to show your support, you can find a variety of items available for online purchase here.
- Proceeds will also help the Freedom House Children's Home.