Ten Thousand Villages is an exceptional source for unique handmade gifts, jewelry, home decor, art and sculpture, textiles, serveware and personal accessories representing the diverse cultures of artisans in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. One of the world's largest fair trade organizations and a founding member of the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO), the company strives to improve the livelihood of tens of thousands of disadvantaged artisans in 38 countries. Ten Thousand Villages accomplishes this by establishing a sustainable market for handmade products in North America, and building long term buying relationships in places where skilled artisan partners lack opportunities for stable income. Product sales help pay for food, education, healthcare and housing for artisans who would otherwise be unemployed or underemployed.
Founded in 1946, the company has grown from the trunk of founder Edna Ruth Byler's car to a network of more than 390 retail outlets throughout the United States selling Ten Thousand Villages products. The company encourages artisan partners to use environmentally friendly processes, sustainable natural resources and recycled materials to ensure each product offered has been crafted responsibly. Ten Thousand Villages is a partner of Mennonite Central Committee.
Ten Thousand Villages is an independent nonprofit, charitable organization (501(c)3, with an independent, nine member board of directors. All sales revenue generated by Ten Thousand Villages and any surplus earned by operations is retained within Ten Thousand Villages. Surpluses are used to increase purchases from artisans and to finance the growth of Ten Thousand Villages retail network.
One day all artisans in the developing countries will earn a fair wage, be treated with dignity and respect and be able to live a life of quality.
Ten Thousand Villages' mission is to 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.
The inspiration for our name—Ten Thousand Villages—came from a Mahatma Gandhi quote: "…India is not to be found in its few cities but in the 700,000 villages…we have hardly ever paused to inquire if these folks get sufficient to eat and clothe themselves with." To us, each village in the world represents a unique, distinctive people…offering extraordinary products born of their rich cultures and traditions.
Our logo represents the values we want to invest in the name Ten Thousand Villages. The continuous line of rooftops reminds us we are all linked together as we live on this earth. The light in the doors and windows reminds us of homes of people with whom we work in many villages. The warm red color and hand-etched edge represent the materials and methods used to make the quality handicrafts we sell. Multiply the village idea by ten thousand and it represents the world we're working to build. We invite you to join us in making this vision a reality.
The Ten Thousand Villages Annual Report [6.91 MB] for the period April 1, 2012 to March 31, 2013 is available as a PDF document.