This afternoon I stopped by Sojourns Fair Trade Store in downtown Birmingham. This place is such a treasure! I mean, I seriously never leave this store without dropping a chunk of change but I just can’t resist all the beautiful things! From jewelry and clothing to lovely pieces of art from all over the world…if you are looking for unique gifts, this is the place!
When I arrived, Melissa Kendrick, my friend and owner, was busy getting new clothing merchandise ready to display for sale. She greeted me with a big hug and began telling me about the clothing and a pop-up shop she is preparing to open in Montgomery. I still remember the first time I met Melissa. It was at her first location just down the street from her current location – 2017 Third Avenue North. I went in at the recommendation of two friends who worked nearby and immediately fell in love with the place! I remember having the nicest conversation with Melissa and thinking how wonderful to have a store like this in Birmingham!
Sojourns was the first wholly fair trade store in Alabama. They offer unique items produced under fair trade standards from 57 countries. For more about what fair trade is, visit the Fair Trade Federation website. A sign in the store shares that fair trade wages are designed to provide fair compensation based on the true cost of production and are not based on any developed world wage standards. Fair wages are determined by a number of factors including the amount of time, skill and effort involved in production, living wages where products are made, the purchasing power in a community or area and other costs of living in the local context.
Over the years I’ve purchased quite a number of items for my home and as gifts. A few years ago, I took my daughters with me and I was oohing and aahing over a wooden salad bowl set and they surprised me with it for Christmas! I was recently in the store with my mother and bought quite a few Day of the Dead items to add to my growing collection. I have a collection nativity retablos too. Today I was looking for a few more nativities and there were quite a few from all over the world. It was hard to decide!
Melissa told me today that she wants to maintain a Day of the Dead section in her store as well as a Christmas section too. She is expecting quite a few large shipments just in time for Christmas. If you are looking for something different and something that you can feel good about purchasing, stop by Sojourns and take a look around. I guarantee that you won’t leave the store without an item or two! Here are a few photos of the store from my recent visits in a slide show. Seriously…go visit Melissa at Sojourns soon!