We are happy to host a Ten Thousand Villages sale at least once a year - check on Facebook for updates!
BEAUTIFUL HANDICRAFTS. SHOPPING WITH A PURPOSE.
Ten Thousand Villages is an organization which sells handicrafts from “developing” countries through its network of stores in Canada and the USA, as well as hundreds of annual Festival sales. Ten Thousand Villages is a program of Mennonite Central Committee, a relief and development organization working in more than 50 countries around the world. Ten Thousand Villages has its roots in the work begun by Edna Ruth Byler in 1946.
Where does everything come from and who made it?
Products sold by Ten Thousand Villages come from 29 countries in the developing world. Ten Thousand Villages buys from more than 100 artisan groups which provides work for more than 60,000 individual people. About 70% of the artisans are women. Some artisan groups also seek to employ persons with physical disabilities. Ten Thousand Villages intentionally looks to work with people who are unemployed or underemployed. Products sold by Ten Thousand Villages are often made in small group settings or in homes where artisans also manage household responsibilities or farm work.
How are we different from mainstream importers?
People first, product second! We deliberately go looking for people who have no marketing connections. In some cases, we buy from artisans who have never made anything they could sell before. We first encourage artisans to make whatever they can from raw materials they have locally available. As we work together, they are able to increase their sophistication. Sometimes, we are able to provide artisan groups with enough marketing and product design assistance that they are able to attend trade shows and develop other trading relationships.