We're a wholesale only company of fair trade products. What does that mean? Fair trade means that our artisans are paid fair wages and have safe working conditions. Whenever possible, artisans are paid not just a fair wage, but a living wage. What's the difference? Well a fair wage is the wage that's fair to be paid for the work produced. Sounds simple enough, right? While fair wages are great, sometimes it's not enough to actually live on. A living wage is the income needed to support a family with food, shelter, safe drinking water, and education. A living wage can break the cycle of poverty.
We also believe in doing what we can to preserve the environment. So whenever possible, our products are made with sustainability in mind. This includes things like the use of tree free lokta in paper making, sustainably harvested wood, and recycled glass.
So how did it all begin? Weeelllll that's quite a story, so we'll offer the abridged version. Our owner, Wendy, started out as an international buyer in the big business side of things. As she visited factories overseas and built friendships with her suppliers, she found their work situations unsettling and the conditions completely haunting. She realized that behind every item on the store shelves is a human being, someone trying to keep food on the table, a roof over their heads, and send their kids to school. It's amazing how one little revelation can change your entire perspective on life. In 2006, she made the decision to be part of the solution, not part of the problem, and walked away from her career to open a fair trade retail store called The Silk Road. It was time to take a stand in what she believed in. Time to make a difference, even if only a small one. With 15 years experience in international buying in her back pocket, she took the leap and never looked back.
Evidently, there's a thing with 15's. Here we are, 15 years after opening the Silk Road. We've developed amazing relationships with our artisan groups, built a successful brick and mortar, as well as an online store, and Wendy decided it was time to leap again. The Eclectic Woodchuck was born to extend our fair trade outreach even further.
So what's up with the woodchuck? You can blame Wendy for that one. She lives in a neighborhood with a woodchuck problem. There's been many a summer she launches a new battle in Woodchuck Wars as one of those persistant little critters digs a burrow next to her house. Unfortunate for them, she's as determined and fierce as they are, and eventually wins every battle. Those who respect the no dig zone are treated with respect and affection, and greeted by name as they tromp across the yard. Those who don't, well, they're evicted without question...sometimes repeatedly.
When Wendy decided to launch the wholesale biz, focusing primarily on wood and paper, a name involving the woodchuck seemed like a perfect choice. After 15 years, we've seen what feels like a lifetime of poverty, desperation, and man's inhumanity to man. We wanted to be a little lighthearted, while still focusing on our goal to help our artisans succeed. You could say we're as determined as a woodchuck chewing through the siding of your shed. Mhm...anyone who's ever battled a woodchuck totally gets it now. And the plaid in his little vest? Well, that's a nod to Wendy's own Scottish heritage with the use of her favorite family plaid. We know our name is a little quirky, but so are we, so it's the perfect fit. We hope to have the privilege of working with you soon!