#ShopFredericksburg: Latitudes Fair Trade Store
Owner Terry Owsley, and his wife Lee, began Latitudes Fair Trade Store in Warrenton, Virginia (2010) and expanded to Fredericksburg in November 2013. Latitudes specialty is the “principles behind the products” they sell.
The idea for the store stemmed from a trip Lee took to Guatemala (to study Spanish) while she was a public school teacher. During her travels, Lee participated in a Mayan weaving class and “she got the idea she could sell some of the weavings in the U.S.” Terry Owsley said, “When she got home she purchased some products and had them shipped to our home.”
Latitudes now has three Virginia “main street” environment locations (Fredericksburg, Warrenton and Staunton.) “They are all quaint historic streets with a community,” Owsley said. Merchandise sourced from Fair Trade Federation member wholesalers adorn the store. “This [using Fair Trade Federation members] assures us they are following the nine principles of Fair Trade,” he said.
Jewelry from South America, Africa, Asia, and Latin America are best sellers. Other popular items include home goods, kitchen utensils made from olive and acacia wood, mugs, baskets, trivets from India, clothing, and a variety of body care products. Merchandise is sourced from over 50 countries.
He travels to meet artisans and is committed to learning the stories behind the products. “The common thread of all our products is that artisans are paid fairly and are able to work up, out of a marginalized situation,” he said. “For us it’s all about helping the artisans — seeing their lives transformed and empowered.” he said.
“There is nothing more satisfying than knowing you are helping someone else rise above an unfortunate situation and achieve dignity and respect,” said Owsley. “I enjoy seeing customers love the products and light up when they hear the story behind it.”
Best-Sellers at Latitudes Fair Trade Store
Home Decor & Kitchen Products: Sustainable Threads tablecloths and napkins, Thumbprint candles, Thistle Farm and body care products, Bright Endeavors scented candles, spices from SERRV, Le Souk wooden utensils, Women’s Bean Project soups.
Stationery & Greeting Cards: Quilling Cards, Mr. Ellie Poo and PooPooPaper.
Apparel & Accessories: Andes Gifts and Loreto Fair Trade winter knits, dresses and tops by Mata Traders and Fair Anita, Ganesh Himal-Nepal pants and shirts, and dresses from Global Mamas.