An estate planning and retirement attorney by trade, Shannon Enright has always loved learning about new cultures, but it wasn’t until an October 2017 trip to Ghana to deliver polio vaccinations and build part of a school that she first got the idea to open a fair trade store.
With the help of friends she opened the doors of Small Things in Woodbury last year.
So what does “fair trade” mean? Most items in the store were made in developing countries and distributed through fair trade practices, meaning the people who create the products are paid fairly for their work and are employed in humane conditions. Enright sources some products directly from the artisans themselves and some through certified fair trade wholesalers.
In traditional, non-fair-trade supply chains, “others along the production chain get paid, but the artist or farmer at the beginning, who typically has no bargaining power, gets only pennies,” Enright says. “Fair trade allows these artisans to make a decent living, which has wonderful ripple effects throughout their families and communities.”
Enright’s shop features everything from housewares and jewelry to coffee, tea and spices from countries around the world, including Ghana, Egypt, Vietnam and Guatemala—to name just a few.
In addition to being a fair trade shop, Small Things donates 100 percent of its profits to fair trade-related charities.
Enright is already finding fun ways to innovate, such as growing the Small Things online store and providing an exciting opportunity to create bridal registries at the shop to attract younger shoppers.
“Millennials are especially thoughtful consumers, which I find incredibly inspiring,” Enright says. “That brings me hope.” See some featured items from Fair Trade here.
Adapted from a story in Woodbury Magazine.