Hi, I’m Carol Fassino, founder of FairTrade Caravans. Like many, after a long career in operations and marketing in the biotech industry, I realized I wanted to do something different and more meaningful with my time and talents. However, I couldn’t quite figure out what. After some soul-searching, I realized that I could combine my passion to support communities around the world, the benefits of the Fair Trade movement, and my frustrations with school fundraisers. So I created FairTrade Caravans in 2017.
Let me tell you the story.
As a college student, I spent 100 days traveling to 10 countries, where in some, I witnessed dangerous conditions, scarce resources, and struggling families which made a lasting impression on me. I was also excited to learn about different cultures and the issues that were important to the global communities I visited.
Looking back, during my time in college, I wish I could have worked for the United Nations or a cause-related non-governmental organization. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the bravery to leave all I knew behind to pursue that. Instead, I went into business. But the images of the challenges those global communities faced stuck with me.
As an adult, I was drawn to volunteer at a fair trade nonprofit, Ten Thousand Villages, where I learned how selling people-created goods can improve the lives of artisans and farmers around the world. There, I learned about the products in the industry, how they are fairly priced, and the ethics of the movement.
One tenet that continues to drive me is that fair trade products are made or grown with no child labor. This allows children to go to school and be educated to make their own choices when going out into the world. As a parent, this is important to me.
Still, it took me a while before I went from checking labels in a grocery store to merging my business skills into the fair trade industry.
As a single mother, I was exposed to years of school fundraisers, selling mass-produced products of unknown origins. Most people only bought these things to support a student and school, not necessarily because they wanted them. These products are not always healthy or good for the environment. Even worse, many products sold to benefit our school children may be made children in other countries! These time-consuming fundraisers didn’t seem to truly benefit anyone.
So, as an entrepreneur, I wove these three powerful experiences together to create FairTrade Caravans and set out to Make a World of Difference.
I want to support the fair trade movement, support communities here in the U.S. and abroad, and inspire others to practice fair trade. That’s why we sell ethical, sustainable, and unique goods that people actually want to buy in a way that maximizes profit for schools and nonprofits and supports the people and communities who make them.
Being able to help others learn about other cultures and advocate for fair trade goes much deeper than just raising money for schools and nonprofits. FairTrade Caravans is on a mission to educate and motivate compassionate people to practice and advocate for fair trade.
I hope you join me on this mission to Make a World of Difference through a fair trade fundraiser.