By Jordan Houston

Pasadena Weekly Staff Writer


Ten Thousand Villages Pasadena is set to host its annual Fair Trade Rug Event, featuring more than 300-hand-knotted rugs from Pakistan, for collectors of all tastes.

The South Lake store is partnering with Bunyaad, a fair trade rug company that works with more than 850 families throughout 100 villages in Pakistan. Bunyaad seeks to increase employment opportunities for women across the country by paying them a living wage and working with the artisans in their homes.

The affair will take place at the store, located at 567 S. Lake Avenue, from Thursday, July 15, to Sunday, July 18, during regular business hours, according to Ten Thousand Villages Assistant Manager Hayley Chesshir Bernard.

“They’re all fair trade rugs, so there is no exploitation used in the process – no slave labor, child labor or anything like that,” she said. “It’s a really popular event because rugs are an investment.”

Attendees can expect to see rugs of all sizes, patterns and styles, the assistant manager continued.

From intricate florals, to hand-spun wool, natural dye and tribals, the rugs range in size from 2 feet by 3 feet, to 10 feet by 14 feet.

“The artisans have total creative control to design it however they want,” Bernard said. “We (Ten Thousand Villages) are guaranteed to buy them no matter what, so it gives them a lot of freedom to create whatever they want.”

Made with a “love of love and care,” Bernard added that the rugs’ variety in style will be sure to satisfy all tastes, including traditional, modern and contemporary.

According to Fair Trade Certified, fair trade is a “global movement made up of a diverse network of producers, companies, consumers, advocates and organizations putting people and planet first.”

Independent certifiers, such as Ten Thousand Villages, audit producers, traders and companies to ensure that they are complying with the movement’s “economic, social and environmental standards,” Fair Trade added.

“I wish fair trade was the norm because it really is important,” Bernard said. “There is so much exploitation that happens in the regular manufacturing of products and clothing.”

She continued, “When you buy something that is fair trade, you can be assured that there was no exploitation and that nobody was harmed in the making of that product.”

Ten Thousand Villages, identifying as a global maker-to-marker movement, seeks to connect 20,000 artisans in 30 developing countries across the world with “conscious shoppers” in the U.S. Ten Thousand Villages offers a fair, living wage in safe working conditions, its website states.

The company guarantees ethically sourced, handcrafted gifts, home wares and fashion accessories via a network of 50 branded stores, 300-plus retail partners and an e-commerce shop.

“Everything we sell at Ten Thousand Villages is certified fair trade,” Bernard shared. “We go directly through artisans and we’re not going through any middle men.”

“We can tell stories about every item in the store,” she continued. “That’s really the big difference between buying from fast fashion.”

Ten Thousand Villages has been pioneering the concept of fair trade since 1946, its website discloses.  According to the Fair Trade Certified website, the movement began shortly after World War II, writing:

“The fair trade movement began to take shape in the years following World War II as a way to connect marginalized producers to global markets. One of the movement’s key pioneers was Edna Ruth Byler, an American businesswoman who, in 1946, was moved by the women artisans she encountered along her travels and began selling their handmade textiles to her friends and neighbors to help them earn a living. Out of this grew Ten Thousand Villages and a global fair trade movement.”

For more information about the Ten Thousand Villages Fair Trade Rug Event and its products, visit