Shop shifts stock to fair trade, local products

DeKALB – For Glidden Campus Florist owner Sven Oscar Hansen, the choice was simple.

“We found out that almost all of our gift items were made overseas and the labor practices weren’t that good,” he said. “I’d rather have things sourced from America, or, if they are made in other countries, the people who make them can earn a fair, living wage.”

About a month ago, Hansen changed all of the gift items carried at the flower shop to certified fair-trade products.

At the DeKalb store, the items vary from a handmade doll to a Tibetan singing bowl to a purse made from grasses.

To be considered fair trade, the maker of the item must be paid a fair, living wage. Sometimes, in addition to the wages, fair-trade items have built-in philanthropy.

Shop marketing director Gladys Sanchez’s favorite item is a fair-trade doll.

“If you buy a doll, another doll will be given to a child in Zimbabwe who has AIDS,” she said. “It’s very simple; it’s not even just the doll itself but the symbol of it.

“I have a son, and I would buy it for him.”

She said she would do so to teach him about giving back. Although most of the gift items at the store are currently fair trade, some of the items carried a month ago remain.

“We’re keeping some of them because we use them in flower arrangements,” Hansen said.

But, they probably will not be reordering the items, Hansen said. As far as customers go, Hansen said everyone has been pleased with the change.

“I’ve been shocked and amazed at how supportive people are,” he said.

Glidden Campus Florist’s customers are mostly DeKalb residents, and many of the customers have been shopping there for years. What helps the regular customers embrace the change is that the items are not really priced differently than what used to be carried at the store.

“The things that we’re selling are not more expensive than the other things we sold,” he said.

In addition to fair-trade items, the store also is carrying locally made items including ceramics from DeKalb and Kirkland as well as jewelry from DeKalb and Sycamore.

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