We create opportunities for artisans in developing countries to earn income by bringing their products and stories to our markets through long-term, fair trading relationships.
Our name — Ten Thousand Villages — was inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s quote. Because in every village are people who want to live a meaningful life with dignity and who bring beautiful culture worth sharing. Multiply the village idea by ten thousand and it represents the world we’re working to build.
A hand-etched edge represents the makers’ materials and methods
Lighted doors and windows reflect the life inside artisans’ homes
A continuous line of rooftops reminds us we are all part of the global village
Our baskets are made from natural materials that grow near the maker’s home, including seagrass, raffia, palm leaf, and banana fiber. The maker might use vegetable dyes for added color or introduce contrasting materials like recycled plastic or reclaimed sari fabric.
It all starts with an idea. Some designs originate with the maker based on a time-honored pattern or her own imagination. Other designs are a collaboration with our buyers who share trends and inspiration.
Basket weaving is often a quiet craft. Some makers work from their homes so they can watch over their children while they sleep or play nearby. Some women gather to chat and laugh together as they weave. Many women learn this traditional skill from their mothers or grandmothers.
A completed basket may travel from the remote countryside to a bustling urban center where it boards a ship to cross the sea. At port it goes through customs, is picked up by our truck, and brought to our warehouse in Akron, Pennsylvania, where staff carefully sort and check items for quality.
The basket is placed on display in one of our stores or posted in our online shop. You spot that handwoven basket — the perfect thing to take to your farmer’s market and fill with fresh finds. You feel good supporting local makers near and far.