Unique Batik

Fair trade from Guatemala, Ghana, Thailand, and Chile.

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Unique Batik’s website introduces its extensive projects in a lovely way:

“Life, we think, should be chock full of adventures, nifty coincidences, accidental conversations, and daily discoveries. Not getting enough? Try our Fairly Traded, adventure ready bags, clothes and charmed objects. Then…venture forth with good karma on your body.

Unique Batik is a Fair Trade wholesaler and online retailer based in Raleigh, NC.  In business since 1991, Unique Batik now partners with artisans (individuals and families) in Guatemala, Ghana, Thailand, and Chile.  A proud member of the Fair Trade Federation, Unique Batik guarantees its artisans fair wages, long-term relationships, and safe working conditions that are free from discrimination and forced child labor.  This allows the artists to make a living, stay in their home communities and carry on cultural traditions.”

Their main product lines focus on clothing, accessories and jewelry, although they also have beautiful home décor items. Sharon Gale, the founder and owner, originally started out as a textile artist, selling her own work. I had the pleasure of meeting her in Paducah, Kentucky (USA) in August on 2023 and learned more about how the business grew. Traveling opened up doors and relationships which evolved over the 30 years she has been working as a fair trader.  Sharon is firmly committed to supporting as many people as she can through her website and wholesale accounts.

Unique Batik - Beaded Iguana
Unique Batik – Beaded Iguana

You will find beaded jewelry, keychains, ornaments and collectible animals.  My favorites are the beaded iguanas!

The clothing Unique Batik carries is a lot of fun!  Lots of tie-dye, batik, woven fabrics and cuts that fit many body types.  They have a nice selection of men’s clothing, which I appreciate, since so many handmade sites focus only on women.

Abdul Wardak of Afghan Tribal Arts, also a member of Artizan Made, was in town and came over to meet her.  He has a wonderful bead and gift shop here in Paducah and bought a nice wholesale order from Sharon.  This is an example of how friendships grow in country, too.  Fair trade provides an amazing connection between the makers and the buyers while dealing with the logistics of importing, wholesaling, selling, shipping and all of the tasks that come along with that. It’s an opportunity where education and cultural exchanges happen beyond anything that big box businesses can ever offer.

Unique Batik’s blog is a good way to learn more about what they are doing in the countries they represent.  They are involved with other organizations who are working with rural health care, sustainability and more.  One story that caught my eye was about Carmelita, a Guatemalan beader, finally learned how to read and write at the age of 33. She was so thrilled that she continued through primary school with the regular children and continues to work on making other dreams she has come true.  Read the story here.

 

Carmelita has big dreams - Unique Batik, Guatemala
Carmelita has big dreams – Unique Batik, Guatemala

 

Visit Unique Batik and enjoy shopping, knowing that aside from the fun finds, your purchases support wonderful people who work hard at making these products and at improving their own lives.  Carmelita and others like her inspire us all to be excited about life and to grow in our capacity, in any way we can.

Retailers are welcome to inquire about Unique Batik’s wholesale program.

 

-Rachel Biel

 


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