One of the Fair Trade Federation’s Nine Principles is to Develop Transparent and Accountable Relationships between artisans and our suppliers. Members show consideration for both customers and producers by sharing information about the entire trading chain through honest and proactive communication.
This is particularly true with our newest supplier, Sandpiper Imports. Its founder, Erika Herrera, has for the last couple of years made a point in developing the kind of lasting relationships that are at the core of the Fair Trade movement. Her passion of a socially conscious business model, took her to the stunning island of Bali, Indonesia, where she met and works directly with a silversmith community of fifteen artisans in a small village an hour outside of Ubud, a city well-regarded as the cultural and artistic heart of Bali.
The high level of craftsmanship has been passed on from generation to generation. Sandpiper Imports honors the cultural creativity of these artisans by selecting pieces that were designed by them. Whether you fall in love with a traditional Balinese filigree style or a design with a more contemporary flair, these stunning and timeless jewelry pieces foster economic sustainability for this community and help to keep this craft alive.
Erika, she tells me, embarked on the journey of starting her own business, Sandpiper Imports, more than three years ago. She had an extensive retail management background but grew frustrated with many corporate policies and became increasingly uncomfortable pushing the sale of goods that were of sub-par quality and didn’t know the origin of. When Erika and her business partner were in the brainstorming stage of starting this business, they made lists independently of things that were important to them in the kind of business they wanted to create. They realized they both highly valued building strong long-term relationships with those they planned to work with. Respecting the value and beauty of products that reflected the creativity of another culture was also very important.
Erika’s first trip to South East Asia took her to the stunning island of Bali, Indonesia. She immediately fell in love with the place and knew she’d find exactly what she was looking for. On her second day, she met Nyoman, her sterling silver vendor she still works with.
Meeting Nyoman was memorable, not only for discovering gorgeous handcrafted products he and his team of artisans create but through learning about his dream to build his own business.
Nyoman developed jewelry making skills early on as his family was extremely poor and he needed income. Upon graduating, he had the drive and ambition to create a silversmith business on his own terms. He built a living compound with gardens and temples right next to his workshop where single male artisans could live in if they chose to avoid long commutes to the distant villages where they were from.
He developed products inspired by nature that his women artisans could work on from home if they had small children to care for. He ensured that each and every one of his artisans earned more than the average living wage in that area of Bali so their children could go to school. Without realizing this, he in fact built a producer-centered business model. He built a Fair Trade business!
He grew very slowly but steadily and we are proud to contribute to that growth in some way.
We hope you fall in love with this exquisite sterling silver jewelry collection. We thank Erika for her work in Bali and we thank you for supporting Fair Trade.