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  • Ten Thousand Villages Expands Shea Butter Line

    Posted on March 16, 2015

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    Ten Thousand Villages recently introduced Shea Body Butter as a part of the Looking Glass Collection.  New scents include Peach Cream, Orange Zest and Vanilla Bean.  Each 2.7 oz container will retail for $16.

    The new body butter joins a collection of shea butter cream, soaps and lip balms

    The Shea (“shay-a”) tree grows only in Africa, where African women have celebrated its benefits for generations. Rich in Vitamins A, D, E, F and K, natural shea butter is used for a variety of therapeutic purposes including protecting skin from the sun, nourishing dry and broken hair, caring for sensitive skin during breastfeeding, providing relief from minor skin ailments including burns and maintaining soft lustrous skin.

    Shea trees grow naturally on wild lands and farmlands across West Africa. Producing shea butter is traditionally a woman’s job. It has been called “African woman’s gold” as it provides work for economically marginalized women who often have no other source of income. 

    From June to September, fruit that has fallen from the trees is gathered from the ground.  The extracted seeds are roasted, crushed, and made into a thick paste, which is kneaded by hand, washed and boiled. Eventually, creamy shea butter emerges. 

    Women artisans in Ghana carefully hand-process Ten Thousand Villages’ shea butter cream and soaps using traditional African techniques. This traditional processing allows the shea butter to retain its natural color and all of its beneficial qualities.

    Through fair trade with Ten Thousand Villages artisans receive a fair price for their products, consistent orders and work with dignity. Consistent work and fair prices allow artisans to improve their lives, send their children to school and dream of a brighter future.

    To watch a video showing El Agbe artisans creating shea butter products, click here.

    This post was posted in Product Photos and was tagged with shea butter, fair trade, women, ghana, El Agbe, body butter, lip balm, healing, antioxidant, hand-process, fair wage

  • Ten Thousand Villages Holiday Gift Guide: Unique Gifts for Her

    Posted on July 2, 2014

    Choosing the perfect gift for your mom, sister or friend can sometimes be challenging because you want to choose a gift that is as special as she is. When you choose a handcrafted gift from Ten Thousand Villages, you'll know you chose a gift that she will treasure and a gift that will make a difference in the lives of artisans around the world. Consider one of the items below or browse our entire collection of gifts here.

    Holy Land Sands Candleholder. Complete with sand from the holy land, this candle holder is ready to gleam like a campfire in desert night. Recycled bottles are smashed into pieces and melted in high temperature ovens. In Phoenician glass blowing, artisans add substances to the molten glass, creating a range of colors within each piece. Working with this process takes an especially skilled hand, and is reserved for the true masters of the art. Each piece has its own unique blend of color and pattern. Handcrafted in Palestinian Territories. Suggested retail price, $34.

    To access a high-resolution image, click here.


    Enjoy Life Photo Holder. Capture a special moment with a special friend and encourage them to enjoy life, like this fun little swinging figure from the artisans of Sapia in Colombia. Handmade in dried orange peel and cornhusk. Holds one photo for display. Suggested retail price, $16.

    To access a high-resolution image, click here.


    Tea Time Mug. Brew the perfect cup of tea in your one-stop mug. Put tea leaves in the filter and pour hot water over them, steep and remove filter with leaves. Includes mug, filter and lid. Handcrafted in Nepal. Suggested retail price, $24.

    To access a high-resolution image, click here.


    Hand-Painted Sushi Set. This beautiful sushi set includes six rosewood chopsticks with white and black buffalo horn accents, six matching rosewood chopstick stands and six blue and white ceramic bowls. Blue jacquard silk box has ball and loop closure. Handcrafted in Vietnam. Suggested retail price, $79.

    To access a high-resolution image, click here.


    Spring Frog Condiment Set. Playful Balian frogs take a tea break. Two ceramic frogs grace the lids of these condiment dishes, on a lily pad platter. Mischievous visitors from the artisans of Mitra Bali in Indonesia. Suggested retail price, $39.

    To access a high-resolution image, click here.


    Sari Shop Slouchy Bag. A gift for the woman who has it all -- a bag to carry it all! Colorful patchwork patterns, innovatively pieced from recycled sari fabric. Each Sari Shop Slouchy Bag is unique. From Action Bag Handicrafts in Bangladesh, employing women and providing classes on literacy, nutrition and legal rights. Suggested retail price, $59.

    To access a high-resolution image, click here.


    Sky Flight Basket. Spirals of blue take flight in shades of blue and natural colored raffia. Sky Flight Basket is handcrafted in Uganda. The interior fiber forming the core of each coil is banana fiber, around which raffia palm is wrapped. With each wrapping, the fiber is threaded through the previous coil to form the basket. Raffia fibers are used in textiles, basket-making, rope-making, garden string, construction and for roofing. Suggested retail price, $29.

    To access a high-resolution image, click here.


    Desert Drama Earrings. Tuareg “ax” design is traditionally used on wedding necklaces to symbolize the tools a bride uses to shape hearth and home. This handcrafted jewelry is made from smoked soapstone, polished, etched and decorated with black leather dye. From Tuareg artisans of Niger in Saharan North Africa. The Tuareg are found in Burkina Faso, Niger, Mali and Chad. Traditionally nomadic herders, some Tuareg now cultivate crops in fertile oases, or work as traders. Suggested retail price, $18.

    To access a high-resolution image, click here.


    Resurrection Tree Necklace. Rajana artisans symbolically resurrect life from the damage of war. This handcrafted tree is made from one of the many bomb casings still found across Cambodia. War in Cambodia littered the landscape with bomb casings and unexploded bombs. These casings are collected by a demining agency and transformed by artisans with Rajana. “When we make jewelry [like this] then we know our country has peace,” said one young silversmith. Suggested retail price, $39.

    To access a high-resolution image, click here.


    Forest Tracery Jewelry Set. Rich colors of the forest, in dyed tagua nut disks. Also known as “vegetable ivory” tagua is produced by a palm-like tree in South America. The nuts fall to the ground when mature, thus harvesting does not damage the trees. Tagua nut’s grain is close and very hard, resembling the finest ivory. Cultural tradition and forest preservation combine in the use of this renewable resource. Handcrafted in Colombia. Suggested retail price, $39.

    To access a high-resolution image, click here.


    City Garden Tote Bag. Practical beauty—a durable, versatile, striped shoulder bag from women artisans of Bethany Colony, a MESH workshop. Artisans employed at Bethany Colony are former leprosy patients or their families. The social stigma of leprosy remains in India today; Bethany Colony allows former leprosy patients to find dignity with their work. Many have no other alternatives and Bethany Colony gives them respect, fair wages and opportunities they didn't dream possible.

    To create the bag, artisans weave strips of cotton fabric on simple floor looms, then sew them together to create the bag. Featuring a decorative flower pin — removable to tie the bag in with an outfit, or to act as an accent of its own. Suggested retail price, $39.

    To access a high-resolution image, click here.

    This post was posted in Product Photos, Product Releases and was tagged with fair trade, holiday gift guide, handcrafted, handmade, gift guide, artisan, friend, sister, mom, women