Fair Trade:Fairly Traded

From African Baule masks to handmade soap almost every item has a story in Cultural Interiors West. I chose Gail Hawkins to showcase her store during October which is nation-wide Fair Trade month.
Gail continues to share those stories in her store’s location at 5406 West Pico Boulevard in Los Angeles, where she relocated exactly one year ago. Everyone who walks into the store is pleasantly surprised to find a plethora of quality art items, housewares, jewelry, textiles, organic teas, and exquisite objets d’ art.

“Although my husband, family and I have had opportunities to travel throughout the world, it’s difficult to meet artisans unless your journey is off the beaten path, so I’m seeking a fair trade organization to assist my endeavors to bring more global art and wares to the store. I believe in by doing so, the community and surrounding vicinities become more aware of sharing art on a world-wide basis, and knowing that the artisans are getting paid fair wages helps everyone to have a heartfelt appreciation for their purchase. It also shows the customer my business’s core belief system and how fair trade is truly beneficial. I also like to help people and add to their prosperity by assisting their abilities to make a living by creating their crafts.”
Here’s a picture of our daughter Piatra in Versailles last year during our family’s trip to Paris…
Gail chooses products sold by purchasing online and visiting local vendors as well as domestic and international trade shows. It also helps to have vendors who come to the store to view the lay of the land and make suggestions about what merchandise would be a proper fit for the store.
Every area of the store is created with a theme for the type of merchandise display whether it is a hand-sewn Kantha silk scarf or Haitian hand-tooled 3-D wall sculpture. Gail states “My store is like a museum, an art gallery, jewelry store and most recently a small library because we’ve acquired a few rare out of print books. And, I love the variety of people who come in.
“Adhering to fair trade principles such as fair pay, I seek local artisans and jewelers who wish to showcase their wares in a neighborhood store venue. We recently began having “Third Thursdays on Pico” along with the other business owners so we get an opportunity to mix and mingle and it’s always a great experience.”

In celebration of Fair Trade Month and just being a part of the greater community, the credo for the month of October is to “shop locally and help globally.” “I hope the bevy of new residents, local businesses and regular customers will be supportive of Cultural Interiors West and fair trade as we welcome everyone into the community.”