In our Weddings and Decorations category - we sell some beautiful handmade Candles from Thailand - both Floating Flower Candles and Flower T-lights and we use handmade Flower paper to make some of our Gift Bags. Below is some information about the Candle maker's story in Thailand:
Thailand is an agricultural country, where in the country, men are farmers and women do not generally have jobs. Their children are either farmers or work in factories in Bangkok. This has changed as handicrafts become more popular in domestic and foreign markets.
Many housewives in Thailand make handicrafts from materials available in their local areas; for example mulberry paper from Northern Thailand, Candles and flowers from Central Thailand, and rubber leaf flowers from Southern Thailand.
Many people rely on Candle making as their main source of income. Most of the crafters (95%) are women. They can work from homes or gather at group leaders' homes where they chat while they are making Candles. Skillful crafters who are also group leaders usually train their members to make difficult flowers. Handicrafts are labor intensive jobs. The woman do not use machine, so handicrafts create many jobs for the local people. Candle making is taught in some vocational schools, too.
In the crafters' homes, Candles are made like making biscuits. Special cutters are used, similar to biscuit cutters but the shapes are petal-shaped. Each petal is cut and assembled into a flower skillfully by hand. Plumerias are made in a few seconds while lotus and sunflower are more difficult to make because they have many petals. And of course, each crafter has her own special technique.
These Candles made in Thailand (in our opinion) are 'fair trade' products even though the crafting groups do not have 'fairtrade' certification which is mainly for agricultural products. One reason - this industry is creating jobs for the local people, mainly groups of housewives - local people in the province of Nakornayok especially. Many unskilled and unemployed people are eager to learn how to do this..
By buying these products from us - not only do you buy something beautiful and handmade, but you are also donating 10% of the product price to a Global Giving project - and you are supporting the initiative of these ladies from Thailand.
Maybe, who knows - you prevent money being earned in other less positive ways.