Are Fair Trade Products More Expensive? - Darn Good Yarn

Are Fair Trade Products More Expensive?

Written by Kate Curry

What Does Fair Trade Mean?

Fair trade is the practice of sustainable, dignified, and equitable relationships between producers and companies. For years, producers and artisans have gotten less than what is equitable for their craftsmanship. When a product is listed as fair trade, it means that the artisans who made that product have access to: 

  • Safe and dignified working conditions
  • Secure employment with sustainable income
  • Community oriented employment
  • Responsible labor practices and management

If a product or a company is not fair trade, that could be an issue for a shopper that prioritizes where and who they purchase their goods from.

What Are Fair Trade Products?

The first time fair trade language was used was for coffee and tea production, since those products are used across the world and have high rates of income inequality between the people that made the coffee or tea and the companies that sell them to buyers like us all around the world. From these two products, fair trade grew to include cocoa, rice, and fruits and then bloomed to include a plethora of possibilities. Today, fair trade products can be anything! From food, to clothing, to soap - the list of fair trade products and companies is growing everyday.

A pair of hands are tying up skeins of yellow, purple, and green reclaimed sari ribbon yarn.
DGY artisans create all our yarn and clothing out of recycled materials

How Do You Know If A Product Is Fair Trade?

Most companies, like us here at DGY, are very vocal about their fair trade status. You’ll see accreditations from fair trade organizations such as Fairtrade America and Fair Trade Certified on their sites or product pages. There will be blog posts and articles from the company and outside journalists about the fair trade work that the company does to help support the communities of their producers or artisans.

What Are The Benefits of Buying Fair Trade?

Everyone benefits from fair trade! Producers and artisans benefit from fair trade the most - and they deserve to. The majority of artisans are living in rural areas and live below the poverty line in their communities. They are also usually from marginalized groups, such as people of color, religious minorities, disabled persons, divorced, women, queer, or gender non-conforming communities. Being in the cycle of poverty and discrimination, artisans rely on fair trade practices to break those toxic cycles and support themselves, their families, and their communities. 

Beni, our co-op leader in Nepal, working in her community after an earthquake
Beni, our co-op leader in Nepal, works to help her community after an earthquake

We, as consumers, benefit as well. Fair trade products are often of a higher quality than unethically made or sweatshop made products. Yes, sweatshops are still a thing - not just something you’ll find in a history book! Fair trade products are usually ethically made, handmade, cruelty-free, organic, and/or biodegradable, which is great for the environment! Be sure to check the product, because not all fair trade products have all of the above qualities. 

Is Fair Trade Sustainable?

It depends on the company. Sustainable practices are sometimes difficult to implement. To be sustainable, artisans need help with planning and necessary machinery - which they cannot always afford on their own! Many of these artisans have faced colonization and they will sometimes go back to their traditional means of production, which are often sustainable for their communities.

But not all fair trade products are created equally. If a product or a company is sustainable, you will know! The company will display their sustainability on their site or products. If you don’t see any information about sustainability, do not hesitate to reach out and ask them!

Why Are Fair Trade Products More Expensive?

Not all fair trade products are more expensive than their sweatshop counterparts. Fair trade companies work directly with artisans, cutting out any middlemen, which keeps the price of the products lower. Fair trade pricing and wages are often determined by:

  • The amount of skill, time, and artistry that is involved to create the product
  • Living wages in the community where the artisans live
  • The costs of living in the community
  • The price of shipping the product from the artisans to the company that is selling/distributing

Stores that sell fair trade, like DGY, may have a certain percentage of proceeds from their products sold going back to the artisan’s community. The proceeds from these products go to funding the medical, living, educational, and legal needs of the artisans and their families.

A young girl with black hair is sitting at a yarn spinning loom
Our artisans work to support themselves and their families

Fair trade companies do not hike prices. They want to keep their prices as low as possible so that more consumers can support their artisans, which means that the company can better serve their community, or even better yet, expand so they can help more people! 

Fair Trade Products

Are you looking for fair trade products from DGY? Don’t worry, we have you covered. 

Fair Trade Clothing:

All the clothing on this list is handmade by our artisans in India. Their craftsmanship saves thousands of pounds of material from landfills every year and helps support over 600 families!

Sari Wrap Skirts

One of a kind, reversible, size inclusive, and handmade by our artisans. What's not to love?

Zaria One Of A Kind Wrap Dress

Made out of the same material as our famous sari wrap skirts, these dresses will keep you cool and lookin' good!

Aanya Adjustable Short Tunic

Comfortable and classy, these short tunics are perfect for dressing up or for a day spent on the couch.

Amara Short Recycled Sari Duster

Airy and handmade, these dusters add a gorgeous pop of color to every outfit!

100% Cotton Wrap Around Skirt

Hand printed by our artisans, these skirts are thick and come in three gorgeous colorways.

Fair Trade Accessories:

Reclaimed Sari Medley Scarf

No fabric goes to waste with us! Strips of reclaimed fabric that cannot be made into skirts or yarn are hand sewn into these multi-paneled scarves!

One-of-a-Kind Sari Silk Purses

Skirts and scarves aren't your thing? That's fine! Our stunning bags are made out of the same fabric and are adjustable!

Kameela Knot Headband

Silk is great for your hair! It cuts down on frizz and keeps your hair looking and feeling fresh.

Boho Vintage Sari Sash Accessory

Need a little something something for your outfit?! Look no further than these handmade boho sashes!

One of A Kind Pocket Square

Customers have been asking for these pocket squares for ages! Hand stitched, these squares add a bit of flair to your next formal outfit!

Fair Trade Yarn & Crafts:

Darn Good Yarn Editor's Box

Our editor's boxes are the perfect gift for someone just dipping their toes into the eco-friendly yarn scene! Chock full of yarn and notions, this box comes with everything you'll need to get started on your next earth and people friendly projects. Made with love so you can create with love.

Best of DGY Pack

Looking for wild and exotic yarns? Look no further! Our Best of DGY pack comes with skeins of our favorite and most highly-rated yarn!

Knit & Crochet Amigurumi Kits

These stuffed animal kits (often called amigurumi) are so stinkin' cute! Each kit comes with everything you need to knit OR crochet your next plushie.

DIY Macrame Wall Hanging Kit

Have you seen those gorgeous macrame wall hangings on Instagram? Get started on your macrame journey with this starter kit.

Yarn Of The Month Club Subscription

Our Yarn of The Month Club subscription helps employ our artisans in India. This monthly subscription comes with a skein of handmade premium yarn, a digital pattern, and some serious extra perks that our club members love!

A blue skein of our twist yarn and a paper yarn of the month paper insert are on a white background

Meet the Author

Profile picture of the author, Kate Curry, wearing a dark red Nanda Poncho sitting on concrete stairs in front of brick wall.

Kate has been on the Darn Good Yarn team since 2018.

They have their degree in Creative Art Therapy & Psychology - and like crafting and animals a little too much.