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.