Rochester is home to many unique local businesses, but few offer a global experience like One World Goods, Rochester’s only fair trade gift shop. Certified by the Fair Trade Federation, One World Goods has served as Rochester’s global marketplace and one-stop shop for ethically sourced authentic international imports for over thirty-five years.
A Local Business With a Global Mission
According to assistant store manager Karin Marlett Choi, One World Goods (OWG) is dedicated to creating opportunities for artisans and farmers in the Global South and is committed to serving international communities that live without opportunities available in other parts of the world.
Education is a large part of One World Goods’ mission, and part of that includes helping consumers understand the benefits of fair trade. The products at OWG are purchased from fair trade importers who acquire the products directly from farmers and artisans around the world. These importers ensure that the creators of the goods are paid equitable wages and paid promptly.
Purchasing through fair trade ensures that native farmers and artisans receive fair payment for their labor and allows them to remain in their ancestral homes while they work. The fair trade process also provides equal employment opportunities for women and protects children from child labor.
For instance, all chocolate in the shop is grown by reputable farmers and sold by fair traders. For Divine Chocolate—a brand sold at OWG—the growers of the cocoa beans are even part owners of the chocolate company.
According to Marlett Choi, environmental stewardship is another important fair trade goal. Many of the shop’s products are made from recycled materials, including saris, bags, and even candy wrappers.
Inspiring Stories at One World Goods
One of Marlett Choi’s favorite artisanal products at the shop is a stunning pine needle basket woven by indigenous Mayan women in Guatemala. Two to three decades ago, these artisans made t-shirts. After demand for the t-shirts shrunk, the artisan group rolled up their sleeves and learned how to create a new product—a beautiful Mayanized basket woven from massive eight-inch pine needles original to their land. Today, these baskets are not only gorgeous and sustainable, but are a top seller at the shop.
Also inspiring is the steel drum art made by Haitian artisans. These beautiful works of art are crafted from oil drums dumped on the country’s land and water by a large oil company. After many years of this practice, the Haitian artisans took action and began repurposing the drums, and today their steel drum art is a traditional art form born in Haiti and sold across the world—including right here in Rochester!
Items To Make a Trip For
One World Goods offers a wealth of warm weather favorites. OWG’s Guatemalan pine needle baskets are a popular product year-round and a unique option for baskets in the spring.
For those on the hunt for other culinary finds, OWG sells an assortment of fair trade coffee, tea, spices, and soup mixes. Their coffee is shade grown and bird friendly (being shade grown creates more places for birds to nest!), a delicious and environmentally responsible option for your morning brew.
The shop also has great wardrobe options for spring and summer, including tops and dresses sewn by Mexican and Indian artisans. For those in need of a little sparkle, the shop carries an exquisite line of jewelry from the Women’s Peace Collection out of Bali, Indonesia. And, if you are shopping for little ones, you’ll find an assortment of alpaca fur stuffed animals from Peru.
Can’t Miss Events
One World Goods is a year-round shopping destination. Every September, OWG holds a four-day rug event, prominently featuring heirloom rugs hand-knotted in Pakistan. The annual sale showcases 300 rugs, with various motifs represented in the rugs reflecting traditional designs unique to Pakistani villages.
And of course, when winter holiday season rolls around, the shop offers a wide—and popular—assortment of Christmas ornaments.
As a not-for-profit organization, One World Goods relies on a dedicated staff of volunteers to share its beautiful works of artisan and agricultural producers from around the world. Anyone can apply for a volunteer position, including high school and college students.
To learn more about One World Goods, visit them online at oneworldgoods.org. Follow One World Goods on Facebook and Instagram @oneworldgoods.