Fair trade gifts line the shelves at Regla De Oro, which is opening an online marketplace this week selling more than 1,000 fair trade products.
The store at 2743 Lyndale Ave. S. features Indonesian scarves, Tagua jewelry fashioned from ivory-like palm tree nuts (made to discourage poaching), pottery pieces by Jon Loer, and Wreckcycled earrings made from recycled bike tubes. Center stage in the store is a fiberglass prototype of playground equipment made in the late 50s.
“We only work with fair trade certified companies,” said owner Jessica Smith.
Smith has worked in fair trade goods for 20 years with groups like Peace Coffee.
“It wasn’t on anybody’s radar when I started,” she said.
The shop is celebrating its fifth anniversary this fall and is enjoying a recent record-breaking sales year. The new online store is a partnership with Florida-based Global Crafts, available through regladeoro.com.
“I’m most excited about people’s accessibility to the Haitian pieces,” Smith said, pointing to artwork hanging overhead made from recycled 55-gallon oil drums.
Regla De Oro (Spanish for the “Golden Rule”) also displays artwork. All of its artist receptions benefit nonprofits that focus on social justice or arts education.
One exhibition featured the work of Barbara Porwit. She interviews women impacted by breast cancer to find their inner super power, and paints portraits of them as superheroes.
Smith also curates artwork for the nearby SpringHouse Ministry Center, which is hosting its annual Twin Cities Social Justice Arts Festival on Oct. 3. Proceeds from the event go to EDIT, a group based at 26th & Blaisdell that works to empower youth to become social changemakers. The event from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. will include a free clothing swap, film screenings, Aztec dancers, rap artist Victoria Champion and a plants-based cooking workshop by Vegan University. The keynote speaker is Kate Herzog, founder of House of Talents, which works to connect artisans in developing countries with the global market.