A Fair Trade Decade
- Mata Traders
- 03 Oct, 2017
Mata Traders officially began in 2007, although I started wandering the globe many years before that, buying exotic things and selling them in the U.S. at flea markets and home parties.
In the beginning, Mata was about carving out my own path. At 28, I had spent most of my adult life living on a shoestring and saving my paychecks for travel. I was supporting this lifestyle myself...so who could judge? Did I have a direction? Not necessarily. I just had a strong urge to EXPLORE, and through that I learned about myself and my connection to the world. (Try telling THAT to the parents.)
Good fortune or good karma led me to the idea of starting a business that combined this wanderlust with my love for selling things and an obsession with the colorful, intricate, handmade textiles of South Asia.
Ten years later, Mata Traders is much more than my own personal journey. It’s a thriving social enterprise whose growth was and is made possible by our dedicated employee team, artisan partners and fashionably adventurous, compassionate customers who support ethical fashion worldwide. I like to say we’re “fashioning a better world” with vibrant designs and fair trade practices that enable a better life for our artisans.
One thing that hasn’t changed since we designed the very first Mata dress is our devotion to operating a business that helps women achieve economic and social stability.
Mata empowers our producers, mostly women, all from India and Nepal, who are breaking gender stereotypes, learning new skills in a meaningful work environment, taking leadership roles, and supporting their families through their work at the cooperatives.
We empower the ethical consumer - women who use the power of their dollar to make change - through the brave retail partners that by carrying our brand are creating purchasing avenues for women to make ethical fashion choices.
And Mata empowers our employees to apply their formidable talents and wisdom to growing a company that is having ever greater impact around the globe.
Consumers, creators and crafters are all part of an interdependent web of gifted, conscientious, global-minded people following the path of ethical fashion because it’s just what we do and who we are. I am excited to see what the next 10 years will bring for Mata and for the larger movement of fair trade and conscious consumerism. The best is yet to come.