About Ten Thousand Villages in Richmond, VA
Ten Thousand Villages in Richmond, VA, is a fair trade retailer of artisan-crafted home decor, personal accessories and gift items from across the globe. Featuring products from more than 130 artisan groups in some 38 countries, we are part of a network of over 390 retail outlets throughout the United States selling Ten Thousand Villages products.
As one of the world’s oldest and largest fair trade organizations, Ten Thousand Villages has spent more than 60 years cultivating trading relationships in which artisans receive a fair price for their work and consumers have access to distinctive handcrafted items. We seek to establish long-term buying relationships in places where skilled artisans are under- or unemployed, and in which they lack other opportunities for income. A founding member of the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO), Ten Thousand Villages sees fair trade as an alternative approach to conventional international trade.
Our store in Richmond, Virginia, is located at 3201 West Cary Street, in the historic Carytown district. Free parking is available both on the street and in public parking decks north of Cary Street.
History of Our Store in Richmond
The Richmond store opened in August 1995 and was called Selfhelp Crafts of the World. It was located near the Byrd Theatre and staffed by a Store Manager and a few supporting volunteers. The store grew in success and size over the next few years. The name Selfhelp Crafts of the World was changed to Ten Thousand Villages in 1997. The name of the store was changed to reflect the fact that for many of our craftspeople, the village is where one's heart is, an important symbol of family, tradition, and culture. In June 2001, the store changed its location to its current location at 3201 West Cary Street. Since that time, we have changed the store design. In February 2006, we moved the store offices from upstairs to the basement to make more room for merchandise. In addition, our volunteer numbers have grown significantly, and we now have four full-time staff and one seasonal staff.
Karin Taylor - Executive Director & Store Manager
Karin Taylor began working with Ten Thousand Villages in April of 2003. She has served in many capacities (including Volunteer, Outreach Coordinator & Assistant Manager) before becoming the Richmond store's Executive Director in July of 2004.
Karin grew up in Staunton, Virginia. She attended college at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC. After graduation, she worked for several years with nonprofit organizations, including MANNA Food Bank and the American Red Cross. In 2002, she relocated to Richmond to attend graduate school at VCU, where she recieved her Master of Public Administration degree.
International travel, language and culture have always played a big part in Karin's life. She has lived and studied in both Sweden and in Mexico. She has traveled independently quite a bit as well.
Karin has had several opportunities to travel with Ten Thousand Villages, as well. In 2006, she participated in the Learning Tour to India and Bangladesh. And, in 2008, she was invited to attend the Peruvian Handicraft Gift Show, where she presented to artisans and producers on the principles of Fair Trade, Ten Thousand Villages and consumer trends in North America. During these trips, Karin was able to deepen her understanding of Fair Trade and the implications and effects on the lives of artisans.
My One Reason Why: "I know that the work we do at Ten Thousand Villages has a direct impact on the lives of people around the world. This basket is not just a pretty basket, it represents hope, independence and dignity to so many. I like being a part of something so positive!"
Amy Lavan - Assistant Store Manager
Amy joined the Ten Thousand Villages team as a volunteer in April of 2009. In January 2011, she joined the staff as a part-time Sales Associate. After completing her undergraduate degree at Virginia Commonwealth University with a B.A. in Art History and Religious Studies, she became the store’s Merchandising Manager in May 2011.
Amy’s love of art, travel, and other cultures is what drew her to Ten Thousand Villages. In 2008, she and her mom (a Ten Thousand Villages volunteer as well) went to Egypt, which was a life-long wish for both. Ancient art is of significant interest to Amy. She is fascinated by the imagery and meaning found within art of the past. She loves that the artisans who work with Ten Thousand Villages use traditional craft techniques. The products that Ten Thousand Villages sells not only provide income for people in need, but also work toward preserving history and keeping cultures rich and alive.
Amy’s “One (Many) Reason(s) Why”: I love, support, and work at Ten Thousand Villages because the principles of fair trade align with many personal goals that I have. Fair trade supports preservation of the environment, allows women to grow and thrive in environments where they normally would not have equal opportunity, and promotes a healthy and open way to communicate between the producer, buyer, and consumer.
Kim O’Grady - Volunteer Program Manager
Kim O’Grady began volunteering with Ten Thousand Villages in 2009. She joined the staff as a seasonal sales associate in September of 2011 and became the Volunteer Program Manager in January of 2012.
Kim grew up in Clare, a small farming community in central Michigan. After graduating from
the University of Michigan with a BA in Sociology she moved to Williamsburg, Virginia, where her husband attended law school. After law school they moved to Richmond. Kim then returned to school and earned her BS in elementary education from VCU. She taught in the Hopewell Public School system for a few years and retired from teaching after the birth of her second child. She then became a “professional volunteer”, volunteering at her church, local schools, Richmond Animal League, Maymont and several other organizations. She discovered Ten Thousand Villages in 2009 and knew she had found her home.
Kim’s One Reason Why: “Ten Thousand Villages provides our artisans the opportunity and
means to live a life of dignity and hope. Ten Thousand Villages also gives our customers and volunteers the ability to make a difference in the lives of people all over the world. I am truly blessed to be part of this incredible organization.”
Bobbie Franks - Bookkeeper & Senior Sales Associate
Caitlin Blomstrom - Merchandising Manager
Caitlin holds a BFA from VCU’s Painting + Printmaking program. She has evolved from being a Ten Thousand Villages shopper, to a volunteer and now in 2014, to the Merchandising Manager. Before she was a Villages volunteer, she had been a long time supporter of Fair Trade. Villages gave her the resources she needed to be directly involved and to learn more about the Fair Trade movement. “When I step onto the sales floor of Ten Thousand Villages, I see a museum. Each different product represents the diverse traditions of each artisan group that we work with. I am constantly referencing art history when explaining the materials and artistic practices involved in making the handicrafts we carry. I get to take a journey around the world every day.”