Month: May 2010

News from Bihar, where our beads come from

Looks like there are signs of improvement in Bihar, one of India’s most impoverished states and the location of many of our bead producer groups.  Bihar has one of the lowest wage rates in the country and bead production is a big industry there.  The cool thing about the organization that makes our jewelry is that they ensure that even the beads themselves are ethically sourced.  They cut out the middle man and work directly with bead producers to pay them a livable wage that is often 3-5 times higher than the minimum wage in the area.  They also make sure that health and safety precautions are followed and no child labor is used.

So it is good news to hear that the economy is growing in the notoriously downtrodden state of Bihar.  The New York Times reports that the state’s new leadership has focused on development and social programs while fighting corruption and crime.  Such efforts have led to impressive increases in the state’s economic growth rate and school attendance.  The implications are positive: “If even Bihar can change, then anywhere in India can change,” said Shaibal Gupta of the Asian Development Research Institute. “With good governance, good policy and law and order anything is possible.”

Read the article here: Turnaround of India State Could Serve as a Model –


Maureen speaks at Green Fest

Do you know where your shirt was made? And under what conditions? Mata Traders is transforming the garment industry, proving it is possible to work with small-scale producers and pay a living wage, all while creating a product that sells.

On Sunday, May 23rd at 3pm, Maureen will be speaking at Chicago’s Green Festival about her experience working with producers in India and the new Fair Trade Certified apparel standard.

GF-Chicago2010_EventGuideGreen Fest celebrates what’s working in our communities—for people, business and the environment. Join Mata Traders at the nation’s premier sustainability event, where you will see the best in green. Enjoy more than 125 renowned authors, leaders and educators; great how-to workshops; cutting-edge films; fun activities for kids; organic beer and wine; delicious vegetarian cuisine and diverse live music. Shop in Green Fest’s unique marketplace of more than 350 eco-friendly businesses—everything from all-natural body care products and organic cotton clothing to Fair Trade gifts and beautiful kitchen tiles made from renewable resources.  Mention this blog post at Mata Traders’ booth and receive 10% off your purchase of $30 or more.

See the most recent developments in renewable energy and green technology; sample Fair Trade chocolate and coffee (yes, they really do taste better); and learn how to invest in your community, green your home and avoid products made in sweatshops.

Green Fest Facts:

  • Green Fest is the largest sustainability event in the world and continues to grow year after year.
  • Green Fest is the only green event that screens exhibitors for their commitment to sustainability, ecological balance and social justice using Green America’s green business standards.
  • Green Fest offsets 100% of its electricity emissions with clean, renewable energy.
  • Green Fest walks its talk: each year it gets closer to being a zero-waste event.

May 22-23, 2010
Saturday – 10am – 7pm
Sunday – 11am – 6pm

Navy Pier
600 E Grand Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611


Mata Spring Begins!

*****Announcing the launch of Mata’s 2010 Spring/Summer line!*****

Just arrived from India this week, our new line has got us looking forward to warm weather.  New dresses, jackets, skirts, and tops in the bold block print fabrics we’re known for.  Lots of hand-stitched details.  Plus cute accessories, like headbands, scarves, and bags.  Beautiful new jewelry, too.

For information on wholesale purchase, click here.  The line will be available in stores soon and at in June.

Here’s a sneak peek…


Thanks for reading…

Welcome to Mata Traders’ blog!

We’ll use this space so you can learn more about Mata Traders and the women’s cooperatives and artisans that make our clothes and jewelry. Please check back here often for stories and pictures from our travels in India, anecdotes about starting up a small business, information on fair trade, and discussion of the latest fashion.  We’ll also use this space to offer special deals on our fair trade clothing and accessories and to announce events where we’ll be selling our line.

If you have something to say about fair trade or fashion, let us know.  We’re looking for contributors!