Small businesses give character and individuality to an area. Small businesses are a final product of passion and hard work, as well as the hard work that people put in to please the consumer. They help to provide a personalized experience, as well as a unique end-product hard to get anywhere else.
There are hundreds of small businesses around the world, but many do not have contact with the large economy that we have here in North America. I spent sometime in Mexico last summer and we signed a printing contract with a one room family run business that did an incredible job for us. They printed hats, t-shirts, caps, buttons and many more. The best part about the whole thing was how happy this family was to do this work.
For your next trip, I recommend taking a task over that you can give to someone. This can be something as simple as getting your next prescription glasses done, (I did this in Korea and the quality/price were incredible!), having your clothes altered, getting some printing done or literally any other task that you can think of. Not only will you save money – you will positively contribute to the lives of those that have very little and work really hard for every dollar. It is a win-win!
An organization that truly empowers local artisans from around the world in my opinion is Ten Thousand Villages, a source for fair trade clothing items, jewelry and many more. This will help to support small businesses around the world. For more information visit: http://www.tenthousandvillages.com
“Ten Thousand Villages is an exceptional source for unique handmade gifts, jewelry, home decor, art and sculpture, textiles, serveware and personal accessories representing the diverse cultures of artisans in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. One of the world’s largest fair trade organizations and a founding member of the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO), the company strives to improve the livelihood of tens of thousands of disadvantaged artisans in 38 countries. Ten Thousand Villages accomplishes this by establishing a sustainable market for handmade products in North America, and building long term buying relationships in places where skilled artisan partners lack opportunities for stable income. Product sales help pay for food, education, healthcare and housing for artisans who would otherwise be unemployed or underemployed.”