What is "Added Value" in Fair Trade ?
"Added Value" refers to "extra" feature(s) of an item of interest (product, service, person etc.) that go beyond the standard expectations and provide something "more" while adding little or nothing to its cost."
An example of the above definition of "added value" could be: buy our gift envelopes featured above for very little (just 20 cents each) and either include them in the sale of your earrings or have them as an option to buy separately to go with an earring purchase. Either way, you have just increased the value of the earring by offering an affordable packaging option. You also set yourself apart, and your customer returns to your store because you offer a unique alternative to a gift box.
You can also take this idea further, and use the envelope as a way to advertise for your business, like this (below).
But what does "added value" mean in the world of Fair Trade? Since I started working for Ganesh Himal 9 years ago (time flies!), added value has become a buzz word around here. Denise, our resourceful and creative leader, is always looking for ways to provide more work opportunities for our producers, and often it's by "adding value" to existing products. We believe that the more hands involved in the production of a product, the more value is added to it. By designing products with many details, and different production steps we involve more producer groups and help to employ more women. The more women working, the more women are getting paid. The more women getting paid, the more children are educated, families are fed and communities are transformed. These added steps can be seen in our block and silk screen printed fabrics, embroidered bags and colorfully dyed paper. We also pride ourselves in adding value to what would be waste. For example, the production of some of our bags and jackets leave leftover scraps of material that would normally be thrown away. Instead of throwing these away, we recycle them and use them to make other products, like wallets, coin purses, and rag rugs. Scraps from sari scarves are used for headbands, leather scraps add detail to rubber bags. Not only is this environmentally smart, but it also creates more work, and potential more economic growth, for our producers. I can't begin to tell you all the ways Denise has created opportunity for our artisans using this model of added value, the list is too long for this newsletter.
So, consider buying our gift envelopes made out of handmade paper to increase the value of your earrings and other jewelry pieces. Your customers will appreciate the extra touch of beauty that highlights their purchase, and will probably be back again for more. But also consider you are providing work for our wonderful artisans in Nepal who make these gorgeous envelopes. The value you just added is immeasurable, and by far, the most meaningful.
Sarah & all the Ganeshees