One Fair World prepares for Small Business Saturday
5:12 p.m. PST November 26, 2015
Small business owners have to compete with the mass stores’ sales during the holidays.
But how can they compete with Black Friday deals?
To address this concern, small businesses from coast to coast participate in Small Business Saturday.
And this year, One Fair World in Salem is prepared for their day.
One Fair World, a fair trade, nonprofit retailer downtown, does not have the ability to offer special deals without jeopardizing the success of their artisans.
“As a nonprofit we can’t compete with Black Friday,” said Kim Baldwin, the One Fair World store manager.
Because the items in the store are sold in the spirit of charity, Baldwin said the store has to instead rely on people’s desire to help others, rather than their draw to deals.
“We hope people will come in and shop their values,” she said. “They will be buying gifts that give back.”
According to their website, One Fair World sells artisan-crafted items, everything from home décor, accessories, and candles to jewelry, musical instruments, and holiday items. It also sells some food products such as coffee, chocolate and tea.
The store is an EarthWISE certified business, meaning they demonstrate green practices in their place of business and promote environmental sustainability.
The artisans are paid up front and, as a nonprofit, any profit from sales goes to, as Baldwin put it, “keeping the lights on.”
The money the artisans earn, Baldwin said, is used for them to continue to make art and products for sale.
“They can buy more and make more to earn a better life,” she said. “By earning their income, it is a way for them to earn their lives.”
Baldwin said this is a marketplace approach to address social and environmental injustices.
She also said the products supports a lot of justice-conscious movements, including no child or slave labor and the promotion of environmental sustainability.
One Fair World, according to Baldwin, gets a fair amount of business each year on Small Business Saturday.
“It’s actually one of the biggest days of the year for us,” she said. “Most people, after the Black Friday frenzy, want to focus on other things like helping the community, helping fair trade, or fighting social injustice.”
One Fair World, located at 474 Court St NE, also has a slight upper hand since it is the only store in Oregon that is dedication solely to fair trade.
Baldwin said there was one in Portland, but it closed in 2009, just a year after the individual stores separated from the larger 10,000 Villages store. She added there is a store near Sweet Home that sells some fair trade items, but is not entirely dedicated to fair trade.
Because of this, people come from Portland, Eugene and other areas to shop.
As a nonprofit, the store operates differently than other small businesses. It does not have a store owner, workers do not work on commission, and it has volunteers rather than employees.
“I am the only full-time employee,” Baldwin said. On Small Business Saturday, the store will have four volunteers in addition to Baldwin.
Baldwin said there are a handful of popular items in the store this season.
As the weather continues to get colder, she said she thinks the woolen products will grow in popularity. Additionally, the store gets at least 12 new nativity scenes in each year, made of unique materials, that collectors tend to be interested in.
“This is the season of giving,” she said. “Give the gift that gives twice. Give the gift of fair trade.”
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