Something I love most about having a shop is discovering all the amazing indigenous craft techniques around the world. I look at the gorgeous things we sell and just think ‘wow, there’s no way I could make that’. It really brings home to me how important it is for Decorator’s Notebook to be a showcase for the talents of the artisans we work with… by valuing and investing in their work we can send such a strong message of support, love and pride. This has never been so true as with our new range of jute bags from Bangladesh.
These jute bags prove just how – with the right support – craft skills can be harnessed and become the catalyst for change among people experiencing social disadvantage.
The women who make our jute bags are able to work from home, which is an important part of helping them run their businesses flexibly around their family commitments. Often, they will be earning their own wage for the first time too; one of the key principals of fair trade is that wages are paid directly to the employee, something we take for granted, but in many countries a woman’s wage would traditionally be paid to her husband or father. Each bag sold helps promote female empowerment and independence in a very real and direct way.
Employment opportunities do so much more than provide financial independence. Fair trade raises the status of women and other disadvantaged groups. It gives them a voice to help them campaign for new goals, gives them the skills to take on new roles in their communities and the confidence to challenge discrimination. It has also been shown that when women are employed, their children are more likely to go to school, thereby changing the prospects of future generations and helping lift families out of poverty for good.
If I can do one thing through Decorator’s Notebook, it’s to make people realise that the way they spend their money really does have an impact on the makers, for good and for bad. When you buy cheap goods, you’re placing the cost on someone else, back down the production line who doesn’t have the means to argue their worth. But when you invest in something that’s been made responsibly, by people who have been treated and paid fairly, your spending power can be a force for change. Every pound you spend is a vote for the kind of society you want.
So, if you do decide to buy one of these beautiful bags, I want to you feel truly proud. Proud to carry it, proud to love it and proud to share its story. The lady who wove it will feel proud to know you love it too.
Jute bags, from £39.95 – £42.95, Decorator’s Notebook. Click here to shop the collection.