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EXOTIC WORLD GIFTS by Jennifer Jonassen, 12/01/2010

It's that time of year again! And if you are looking for some sensational gift ideas for the holidays have I got a great suggestion for you! Exotic World Gifts is a fair trade organization that pays its artisans directly and fairly for their art. They also contribute to many worthy and humanitarian causes. Their website has a large selection of unique and exquisite, hand-made choices for you. Many of you have seen the extraordinary video of elephants actually painting their own portraits ( Exotic World Gifts is the place to purchase these paintings as well as clothing, jewelry and home decor. And as a special thank you to our Plus Model Magazine readers, Exotic World Gifts is offering a generous 10% discount if you order online at: and use the promotional code: ONE WORLD  

JJ: Can you share how you got involved in promoting artisans from around the world? 

EWG: Something big was missing in our corporate careers and we wanted to make a difference in the world.  Both with tender hearts and a strong desire to help people out of unjust situations, we spent considerable time asking ourselves "What do we want and how do we want to feel the rest of our lives?"  Vacations are great and we discovered our passion on a trip to Belize. After meeting artisan women making beautiful handmade products, but living in absolute squalor, we looked at each other and knew we found our path.  With our hearts and skills, we knew we could empower disadvantaged people to work out of poverty.  Our job would be to make their authentic products available to everyone in the world.  We came home and started, what seemed like a daunting task, of creating a new business, quitting our corporate careers as the US economy was going in a downward direction.  Looking back on it, we felt like we were jumping off a cliff.  However, once committed to our passion, it was quite the opposite.  We wake up every morning excited, fulfilled, feel so aligned with our purpose and wish we had started living our passion sooner. 

JJ: How does being a member of the Fair Trade Federation and Green America set your business apart from other importers?

EWG: is a triple bottom line company (People, Planet and Profits) fully committed to "Fair Trade and Green" practices.  Most importers operate on "free trade" principles which are based on buying mass produced products at the cheapest price without concern for individuals, the planet or how profits are used to empower individuals and villages with sustainable income.  Our business places value on, not just the culturally authentic product, but the people behind their creations and making sure a larger portion of your purchase goes directly to the artisans in developing countries.  We are monitored and strictly adhere to the nine key Fair Trade principles of: paying fair wages directly to the artisan, supporting participatory workplaces and home-based work, supplying financial and technical support, ensuring sustainable materials are used, respecting cultural identity, no child labor, providing opportunities for gender equity, offering public accountability and educating consumers.  To learn more visit: 

JJ: With the Holiday Shopping season approaching can you explain what socially responsible purchasing is all about and the concept of "The Circle of Good"?  

EWG: Holiday and anytime is perfect for giving a gift with a story of empowerment and sustainability.  By giving socially responsible global gifts from, you are giving high quality handcrafted jewelry, fashion accessories, gifts, home décor and art painted by an elephant that make a difference in the lives of those living in poverty and unjust situations.    "The Circle of Good" means doing good by shopping good.  With developing countries making up 40% of the population but only 3% of world trade, your Fair Trade purchases are an important step to help eradicate poverty. 




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