Marigold Fair Trade

January 27, 2011

I bought a fabulous table cloth and napkins over the weekend from Trade as One. As some of you know, I’m on a bit of a minimalist journey, trying to simplify our possessions to only those items that we love. Items that will be well-used. I was a bit skeptical about these linens. LOVE the colors, but I was afraid that the pigments would bleed. I was concerned that the red and blue napkins would soon be purple. So, the first thing I did was to soak my new linens in a solution of water, vinegar and salt to try my best to set the colors. What I was surprised by was the fact that I didn’t really even need to do this. In my 24 hours of soaking the fabric, the water wasn’t even pink.

Marigold Fair Trade sells goods from a women’s cooperative in Mumbai. A way out of poverty for the poorest of the poor. Half of the population of Mumbai lives in the slums. Marigold provides these women with training so that they’ll have a marketable skill as an embroiderer or a seamstresses. They also have other businesses, such as Asli Foods, which serves lunches to local offices.

I was so impressed by the look and feel of these linens that I wanted to share them with you. Above, you can see the pictures from Trade as One. I’m picky about my linens. As some of you know, I have sensory issues. We only use cloth napkins in our house, so they see a lot of use. A couple of years ago, I purchased some napkins on-line. When I got them, even though they were cotton, they were rough and scratchy. They also had some sort of coating on them that gave them a strong chemical smell. Took at least ten washes to get the nasty smelling stuff off them, and none of us ever liked using them. After holding on to them for a couple of years, I finally got rid of them as part of our preparation for the move. Now, we have wonderful new organic cotton napkins. I love using them. They’re soft and beautiful. As I look at them each time we eat, I think about the women who made them. It reminds me to be thankful for each meal. Reminds me that there are people around the world who aren’t able to sit down to a meal with their family. Renews my commitment to action.

I think that one of the barriers to people buying Fair Trade items is that many of the items look like what you would get at World Bazaar. Makes you think about a hookah and the smell of incense. The more that I immerse myself in the world of Fair Trade, the more I’m discovering some very high quality products. In fact, this is one of the things that Nathan George at Trade as One is committed to. Items that are high quality and that you will actually use.

I would encourage you to check out Marigold. They have some very cute clothing. The next time that I buy something new to wear, they will be a prime place that I will shop. And if the quality of the table cloth and napkins that I purchased is indicative of all of their products, then you’re in for a treat.


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