FAIR TRADE

Are you fair trade?

Yes! Venture Imports is a member of the Fair Trade Federation and Chicago Fair Trade, and our founder served on the board of both organizations. A company must undergo a rigorous vetting process to become a member of the Fair Trade Federation, including turning over our financial documents. The federation re-examines our organization every year. Learn more about fair trade here.

How much money goes back to the artisans?

Actually, they have already been paid! We don’t make the artisans wait until we sell product to pay them; due to our lead time, they could be waiting for months! We take on that risk ourselves and pay up front, typically months before the product even reaches us. That said, your purchase still makes a difference because the product we sell now allows us to have the down payment for our next purchase.

So how much were they paid?

The unsatisfying answer is that it varies. To begin with, most pieces are made in stages by a number of different artisans, so we first have to try to determine how much work/time it takes for one artisan to do their portion of a particular piece. We can figure this out by finding out how many hearts a carver can carve in an hour, for example. From there we can calculate how much they would make in a day.

Our mission is to always pay a living wage, but determining a living wage is surprisingly difficult. The minimum wage in a country is a start, but knowing the cost of living in the region gives a better picture of what a family actually needs to thrive. We look at data from governments and NGO’s to get a fuller picture of the situation. But that data is often very limited and outdated.

Plus there are additional issues like inflation. When we were working in Zimbabwe, the inflation rate was the worst in the world and money we exchanged one day would be worthless the next. In that case we tried to calculate a fair price based on the price of bread that morning.

We find that talking with our artisan partners and really getting to know their situation is the best way to know what a fair price would be for a product. We ask questions such as, “Do you have any land? Do you own any animals? Are your children in school? What type of school?” These questions need to be asked over time, too, so that we know if what we are paying is making a difference over the years, or simply allowing people to live paycheck to paycheck.

That is why long-term relationships with our partners are so important. They know their situations much better than we do, and they can explain things to us that we might not understand. Ultimately, we trust them to come up with fair prices, and the impact assessments we’ve collected over the years suggests it’s working!

PRODUCTS

Are the dishes food safe?

Technically yes, but we do not recommend getting them wet because you could ruin the dye.

How do I clean my jewelry?

Here’s a fun trick: a little ketchup or lemon juice rubbed on your brass jewelry will make them shine. Just make sure to rinse them well so you don’t smell like a burger.

ORDERS & RETURNS

Do you sell wholesale?

Yes! Please see our wholesale page to create a login.

Where do your products ship from?

Our products ship from our warehouse in Chicago, Illinois.

I had a problem with my shipment, what should I do?

We’re sorry to hear that! Please visit our policy page for next steps.

If you have any additional questions or feedback, please contact us at:

Email: Sales@VentureImports.com
Phone: 630.963.8480
Follow us on Instagram: @VentureImports
Like us on Facebook: facebook.com/VentureImports

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