A few weeks ago, I had the absolute pleasure of meeting with Gelaine and Jérôme, the founders of and online gift boutique called Cambio Market. It carries only socially responsible products (handmade, fair trade, ethically sourced) from around the world – from the Philippines to India to Toronto. Cambio means change in Spanish, and that is what Gelaine and Jérôme intend this to be about – about you making a difference with every dollar you spend there. You can read more about this here.
Not to get too sidetracked here, but I did want to mention that we met up in the coolest cafe I had ever been to.
Studio 89 serves Fair Trade, organic and rainforest certified coffee, tea and other beverages, and also have a selection of many vegan and/or gluten-free treats. They offer up their space for free to anyone who would like to host an event or gathering there, and even have a whole other shoe-free room upstairs with computers, books, couches. They also have a few shelves featuring locally made products such as coffee, scarves, blankets, and natural cosmetics.
As we chatted over our Fair Trade beverages, not only were they so friendly and open with their experiences with starting Cambio Market, but they also gave me a couple of gifts from their shop to review for you! So here they are:
This card (and every other card in the shop) was handmade in the Philippines by women who have escaped sex trafficking. Good Paper, the company that makes these cards, helps these women support themselves and lift themselves out of poverty. On the back of each card, the woman who made it signs her name, adding another layer of personal touch and meaningfulness. The cards are also made using up-cycled, recycled and re-purposed materials (using scraps from one card to make other cards). On top of all that great stuff, each card also has a very clever pun on the cover, and I enjoyed reading and laughing at every single one of them!
These rustic wooden coasters were made of scrap and salvaged wood from the Toronto Islands by Jennifer Rong of Jennifer Rong Designs, sealed with a beeswax finish to make them durable, water-resistant and easy to clean. There is a huge focus on sustainability here, as every piece of material involved in the process is used in some way, whether it be in this product or another.
This necklace was handmade by survivors or sex trafficking in Mumbai, India through a nonprofit called International Sanctuary. The proceeds of this necklace go not only to the women who made them, but also towards programs that provide education, medical and dental care, scholarships and micro-loans for these women. Just like the card, the tag attached to the necklace is signed by the woman who made it. On top of all the good the necklace does, it’s minimalist design and unique texture make it a piece you’ll wear with anything and everything, carrying the story of a strong survivor with you.