In today’s consumer culture, we operate on an international market more than ever before. I’m not just talking about the world’s superpowers like China, Japan, or Great Britain, but countries you may have never heard of; these are also involved in the world trade and they’re vying for our attention as trade associates as well as competition. Two of our recent partners, the Women’s Bean Project, based right out of Denver, and Seeds to Sew International, are making use of a creative and consumer-appealing marketing tool that uses something creative in their packaging: attaching a card with the name of the person who handcrafted your piece of jewelry or assembled your gift basket to connect you, as the consumer with the product’s creator. I think it’s really important for people to make connections, especially with those they may not have the chance to interact with otherwise.  In the last decade we have completely changed the way we interact with each other – Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to name a few. However, there is such a disconnect between Americans and those that make products sold in America from other countries. We imagine some far-off place with workshops and nameless employees making our winter coats, beaded bracelets, or new leather crossbody bag. Or maybe what’s more sad is that we don’t think about them at all.

Giving a name, a face, and a story behind each product created is what we, Westerners need in order to feel good about making an international purchase – to see someone in a small village in Africa, India, or the Middle East and knowing that we, in some way, are helping them financially. It’s a great marketing strategy that combines social interaction with an element of empathy and is simply a way to connect our consumers with the people that handmade our products. But does it really have to come to this to make us think of someone besides ourselves? We all didn’t study International Relations or Global Policy, but to think that the only countries that have cultural value are the ones with billion dollar GDPs is not only ignorant but completely untrue.

If tagging every item imported from a foreign country with details of its creator including a picture is what it takes to open up our eyes and God forbid, relate to someone unlike ourselves, to wake up our visual-minded senses, then maybe it needs to become common practice. I lived abroad for over a year in a developing country who relies on foreign aid as much as they rely on the rain for their crops. When I see the tags from Women’s Bean Project or hear a story about a single mom from Seeds to Sew, weaving baskets by hand to support her six children, I think of Anshata, Tene, Korotoumu. I think of the beautiful family and friends who I had the privilege of living and working alongside and learning from. I’m lucky because I already have names and faces. We, at Live Worldly, hope to share some culture, experiences, and a few stories and faces with our customers who could use with a little eye opening. We aim to share that, to learn about each other.

By: Lauren Hershey, Intern at Live Worldly