Imagine a world where artisans in developing countries get a fair return on their creative work. Imagine a world where profits from retail sales go to help fund orphanages. Imagine a world where profits help your neighbors in need.
You don’t have to imagine all that anymore. Just visit the Imagine shop in Wimberley.
“I was at a crossroad in my life and I wanted to do something I believed in,” says Kami Turner, owner of Imagine.
Kami and husband David moved from Michigan to the Texas Hill Country when he got a job in San Antonio. She opened the shop a little more than a year ago, figuring that Wimberley was the sort of community that would support a Fair Trade store. It was the change she needed to take her knowledge of retail and jewelry and help others.
“I know how hard these people in other countries work for their children and so I know it’ll be repaid ten-fold,” Kami said.
They are helped because Imagine is a Fair Trade craft gallery.
Fair Trade producers earn a fair, living wage for what they create, helping the economic development of their communities and improving education opportunities for their children.
In addition, consumers get excellent crafts and know their purchases help preserve the environment and promote an end to child labor in developing countries.
Even the Earth benefits because Fair Trade promotes sustainable farming techniques, biodiversity, and bird and animal habitat preservation.
“I wanted to do more,” Kami says. “I was introduced to Fair Trade as a young child in church, and I thought it was a great business model. It’s difficult to find something in this country not made by exploited craftspeople.
“Besides, I appreciate their handicrafts and it’s great to be a part of solution instead of part of the problem.”
You’ll appreciate their handicrafts, too.
Look around her shop and you will be delighted by unique, artistic, handcrafted items from 30 countries around the world like Guatemala, Peru, Vietnam, and Uganda.
You’ll see sock monkeys with a personality. You’ll find baskets and jewelry of all sorts. Here is a fascinating turtle box. Over there are purses, scarves, and clothing. Look at the journals and wind chimes and puzzle boxes. Look through the note cards. Sniff the sachets.
Some of the items are crafted from recycled materials, like the purses made from old, colorful blouses.
Some of the items here are almost unbelievable, like the Zulu baskets crafted from multi-colored telephone wire. The design is remarkable and the craftsmanship superb. Even when you hold it in your hand, you’ll find it difficult to believe an artisan in Africa worked those wires into that stunning bowl.
Several of the items help an orphanage in Uganda. Tonya LaTorre of San Antonio adopted a baby named Kirabo (which means “gift” in Lugandan) in December 2010. Returning from Uganda, she formed a non-profit organization called Kirabo Seeds to help orphaned children there. Buying just one Kirabo Seeds bracelet feeds a child for an entire month.
The Imagine shop does have a few items crafted in America, but 20 percent of those profits go to help various projects. For example, that portion of the profit from Kami’s jewelry goes to the Wimberley Crisis Bread Basket.
“I appreciate things made by hand, as do most people,” Kami says. “And we can take pride in helping others get ahead.”
The Imagine shop is located at 101 Henson St., behind the Square in Wimberley. For more information, call 512-847-2022.