Fair Trade USA Opens Pilot Pop-up Shop in NYC


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Fair Trade Difference pop-up shop in New York City. All photos by Paul + Williams

[O]ctober is Fair Trade Month, and the country’s leading third-party certifier of all things fair trade is celebrating in a new way.

Fair Trade USA opened its first pop-up shop, Fair Trade Difference, on October 10 and is set to keep its doors open in New York City through the end of the month.

Located at the Seaport District on 8 Fulton Street, also known as the city’s original commercial spot, the store features products by Fair Trade USA’s brand partners, including Patagonia, West Elm, and Kroger.

Fair Trade Difference’s two-story space allows customers to have a range of experiences, from taking time to sip on coffee at the Death Wish Coffee bar while shopping for goods including furniture, chocolate, beverages, rugs, and textiles.

Death Wish Coffee bar

The shop is open and free for the public to enjoy and learn more about the industry.

For Lisa Williams, the head of product at Patagonia, being a fair trade business and setting the standard for others is a point of pride.

Patagonia at the pop-up shop

“Five years ago, we started making 10 yoga styles in one Fair Trade Certified factory and we are proud today to offer more fair trade styles than any other apparel brand,” says Williams. “This means more than 66,000 workers have benefited from our commitment to the Fair Trade Certified program. We’re excited to celebrate our partnership with Fair Trade USA at the pop-up and the progress we’ve made offering products in every category that allow our customers to vote with their dollars for good values.”

Beyond shopping, visitors have the chance to get involved by participating in some special events in the space. On Monday, October 21, from 7 to 9 p.m., attendees can catch a screening of the BuzzFeed video “I Get Paid to Drink Coffee” and a conversation led by BuzzFeed’s Auri Jackson. Jackson will speak with representatives from Death Wish Coffee and Fair Trade USA in a question-and-answer session.

On Thursday, October 24, from 6 to 8:30 p.m., creative director of We Wear Fair Trade, Rachael Wang, will speak on fashion and advocacy, with snacks, drinks, and gift bags provided.

A virtual reality event with complimentary tea readings and free tastings will be held Saturday, October 26, from 3 to 6 p.m., where guests will learn about the Sorwathe Tea Estate in Rwanda, home to Fair Trade Certified tea fields.

Just in time for Halloween, Fair Trade Difference is hosting a trick-or-treat with free sweets on Wednesday, October 30, from 3 to 8 p.m. Guests, who are encouraged to wear costumes, can learn about the impact of Fair Trade certification on cocoa and sugar workers.

Can’t make it to the store? Fair Trade USA’s online product finder features more than 1,200 businesses certified as fair trade.

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