Ten Thousand Villages is more than a store. We're a global maker‑to‑market movement. We're a way for you to shop with intention for ethically-sourced wares — and to share in the joy of connecting with makers in ten thousand villages.
As a pioneer of fair trade, we do business differently, putting people and planet first. That means you can trust that every handmade purchase you make from us directly impacts the life and community of its maker in a developing country.
We are committed to these ethical practices — and hope you are too:
Ensuring makers earn a fair, living wage in safe working conditions
A conversation is the cornerstone of every purchase we make from an artisan group. Together we agree on a price that provides vital income and we deliver advance payments to grow resilient enterprises that thrive.
Caring for the Earth
The Earth sustains us, and we believe it’s courteous to return the favor. We focus on the use of locally sourced, recycled and renewable materials in our products. We promote creative re-use and energy efficiency in artisan workshops and our supply chain to minimize our environmental footprint.
Investing in partnerships that empower communities
We choose to work with women, people with disabilities and others often excluded from the global economy. Our long-standing relationships show us when women gain financial independence, their daughters, families and communities flourish, breaking the cycle of poverty.
Celebrating craft and culture
Maker skills have been passed down from generation to generation. They are part of the history of a place and people. We work together to preserve indigenous legacies while spurring innovation and designs that speak to customers who love craft and culture too.
Every handcrafted product generates income — and impact
We know because we've been there. Our average buying relationship with artisan groups is 25 years. That's enough time to see their children grow into adulthood and enough time to see the impact this movement has created.
We create opportunities for artisans in developing countries to earn income by bringing their products and stories to our markets through long-term, fair trading relationships.
OUR NAME AND LOGO
Our name — Ten Thousand Villages — was inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s quote. Because in every village are people who want to live a meaningful life with dignity and who bring beautiful culture worth sharing. Multiply the village idea by ten thousand and it represents the world we’re working to build.
THE START WAS A HUMBLE ONE
It all began with one woman selling textiles from the trunk of her car. Her name was Edna Ruth Byler — wife, mother and unexpected entrepreneur.
As a volunteer living in Akron, Pennsylvania in the 1940s, Byler became known in the Mennonite community for her warm hospitality, creative spirit and cinnamon rolls.
In 1946, when Byler traveled with her husband to Puerto Rico, she met women in La Plata Valley who were struggling to feed their children. Having lived through hard times herself during the Depression, she knew the face of poverty. She also knew the importance of dignity and people wanting a way to help themselves.
Byler was moved to do something. She saw the pieces of fine embroidery the women of La Plata created, but had no place to sell. If she, an American, was so struck by these unique textiles, perhaps other Americans would also appreciate their beauty. With no clear plan but a sense of purpose, Byler brought the pieces home and began to sell to friends and neighbors.
Mennonite Central Committee, an aid and relief agency, saw the long-term value that sustainable income opportunities would bring to impoverished villages. They supported Byler’s endeavors and facilitated her travels abroad including to India and Jordan.
By the 1950s, she was driving her Chevy II packed with global needlework to women’s sewing circles and parties of interested friends across the country. She shared the stories of the makers, describing how each purchase meant that a woman gained economic independence and a chance to give her family a brighter future.
It was a simple idea. But a pioneering one that would launch Ten Thousand Villages and blossom into a global fair trade movement.
|Company Name||Ten Thousand Villages|
|Business Category||Precious Metals|
|Address||704 Main Street|
PO Box 307
|Hours of Operation||Monday — Friday: 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. EST|
|Phone Number||Locked content||Subscribe to view|
|Fax Number||Locked content|