I stumbled across Mata Traders while searching for a jewelry vendor for my website in April 2015. I was on the hunt for affordable, ethically made jewelry with simple, modern lines - I want to shop fair trade, but still look like me. Mata's style? Loved it. Price point? Super affordable. Mission? I needed to know more about the company and started with their website which just had a gorgeous makeover.
"Three best friends with a serious case of wanderlust set out on an around-the-world adventure and landed in Mother India for four months. Enamored with the people, markets, and colorful textiles, they vowed to make the country a part of their life story."
This may be how the story began in 2003, but it oh baby, it grew. Mata Traders has evolved into a powerhouse of social entrepreneurship. I did a pretty deep dive into their blog and website and by connecting the Google dots was able to find out more information about the company and the cooperatives Mata Traders uses. These three best friends turned a trip to India into a brand you will be proud to wear - I'm proud to have their creations in my little shop.
"A love affair with India has evolved into Mata Traders – a design driven, fair trade brand helping to end global poverty and inspire ethical companies and consumers to change the fashion industry. Made by artisans in India and Nepal, our colorfully original designs are now sold in 50 states and 12 countries, and provide a stable source of income for families in some of the world’s poorest communities."
Jewelry and apparel (primarily dresses and skirts) are the two main categories MT produces. Everything is handmade and certified fair trade. I've carried a large portion of their jewelry line and the quality and value is exceptional. I just started testing Mata's apparel in the shop and the feedback has been super! Flattering fit, quality fabric and stitching - the sort of dresses and skirts you will wear season after season.
Why does this matter? The super short answer is that the fashion industry can be a dark and ugly place where demand for inexpensive garments and accessories come at a high human and environmental cost. Unsafe conditions, serious environmental impact, wages below the poverty line, child labor, and no way out. When you shop Mata Traders (and certified Fair Trade products) you are saying no to all of that. MT partners with fair trade cooperatives who employ, empower and educate women as makers and seamstresses. They are able to sew and make the ENTIRE garment or piece of jewelry which means learning a marketable skill. Childcare is onsite, health insurance and doctors are provided, entrepreneurial aspirations are encouraged and training is available. This helps to break the cycle of poverty by allowing an empowered mother to educate her child to have a better life. Isn't this what we all work for?
Fun fact: Mata means Mother in Hindi and is a tribute to the female creative power in all of us.
Can you have a crush on a company? <3 Take a peek at our Mata Trader's collection and let me know what you think! More apparel coming this summer and fall. My motivation for Mimosa Goods has always been this - we're going to shop, let's do it right and do some good.
Interested in learning more about who made your Mata? You can meet some of the artisans here!