Is Direct trade – a model for fairer trade?
What does direct trade mean? In simple terms, it means buying directly from the producer.
In the world of small batch production – crafts, arts or even food commodities, produced by small producers, often there are many middle-men/ women, who are part of the supply chain. While by itself, the presence of middle men along the supply chain is not a problem, if they add value; the norm is that the middlemen are often the ones with capital and contacts in the market. They also are not known to pay the producers well, and there are many cases documented, where the middlemen use economies of scale to negotiate a deal that may not work well for the producers.
A company I co-founded, tlalipani operates on a direct trade model for our home-décor items, as we work with select artisans and producers. We pay them what they think is a fair price. This does not mean that we don’t negotiate at all. We do. But not to the extent where the makers don’t feel their work is not valued. Many of our artisans’ families have told us that we pay them the most, among all their buyers and we are ok with that!
In a time of increased economic anxieties, we are proud that are supporting families and craft traditions that have survived centuries.
With our upcoming product launches as well, we are consciously implementing the best practices that we have developed, over the past two years.
We are also constantly in dialogue, communicating with our artisans families, on a weekly basis, and visiting them every 3-4 months, to learn on ways to keep our work relevant.
Here’s a short read on direct trade in coffee. If you enjoyed this article, please share it and encourage someone you know to subscribe to our newsletter.