Fair Trade

Mehera Shaw staff

The People of Mehera Shaw
What is Fair Trade at Mehera Shaw?

We are a fair trade, ethical manufacturer based in Jaipur, India and are members of the Fair Trade Federation in the US. We are dedicated to manufacturing high quality clothing and homewares based on a business philosophy that puts the human factor first.  All of our garments are made in-house using sweatshop-free, fair labour standards which means:

  • no discrimination
  • no forced labour
  • payment of a living wage, all staff are full-time salaried employees
  • on time payments to staff and suppliers
  • clean and safe working conditions
  • no excessive working hours
  • no forced overtime
  • no child labour 
  • pension funds for all staff
  • working in a supportive, transparent way throughout the supply chain. For more information, please see all the principles of fair trade to which we adhere outlined below.

 

We are a small company and work as a team; we are team of highly trained stitchers along with quality control staff, cutting master, pattern master, support and office staff. We have a dyeing and block printing unit in Sanganer which also operates under the same fair trade standards. We also work with a women’s group through our Foundation development project and follow the same ethical and labour standards within this group.

 

Direct Benefits of Fair Trade

 

Employee Benefits
  • all staff are hired as full-time, permanent employees
  • living wages paid on time to each and every person on our staff
  • staff bonuses paid 3 times annually (1/3 monthly salary)
  • full medical care benefits to all our stitchers and their family members through a Government of India incentive program
  • emergency loans for education, illness and family concerns to all staff members. 
  • Government of India supported pension funds for all staff 
  • paid holiday leaves
  • clean drinking water, chai and lunch breaks
  • overtime pay for voluntary overtime work
  • non-discriminatory working conditions and right of expression, clear advocacy and work policies
  • safe, clean, well-ventilated working conditions
  • ongoing skills training for all staff and support for ongoing learning, believing that learning through doing is equally as important as formal education. 

 

 

Long-term, Indirect Benefits - Working Together for the Benefit of All

  • Developing self-discipline and self-reliance.
  • Being able to plan more effectively for one’s own and one’s family’s future.
  • Having a secure, reliable source of income has proven benefits for the next generation in terms of employees providing improved educational opportunities, safer living conditions and healthier environment for their children.
  • Decrease in child marriage for the next generation.
  • Gradually helps to remove caste/class based discrimination and provides greater opportunities for social and economic upward mobility.
  • Learning teamwork and clear, open communication helps each individual to see themselves as a valuable person—both within a team and in life. 

 

We believe the message behind fair trade is passed on to the next generation when people work together and see each other as human beings first.  We believe this is the most important type of understanding which will create long-term positive change for humanity.  We believe an environment of empathy and respect is key to our whole future; together we all benefit.  We believe the benefits of simply treating each other as human beings are there for all of us who are willing to join hands and see ourselves as part of this ‘trade’.

 

 

Benefits of Fair Trade in the Supply Chain

  • minimizing the environmental footprint of garment production
  • supporting artisans
  • minimizing the supply chain length by removing middle men and working directly with artisans and suppliers
  • supporting decentralized production
  • supporting heritage crafts and traditions, and cultural diversity
  • providing long-term income security which supports long-term family sustainability and helps make the entire supply chain more sustainable

 

 

Fair Trade Environmental Policies

  • use of GOTS certified cotton whenever possible (approximately 95% of our work with cotton is with certified organic cotton)
  • use of handloom textiles in support of decentralized production, India’s artisans and minimizing our carbon footprint
  • use of AZO free, low impact dyestuff for solid dyeing and printing
  • energy efficient manufacturing whenever possible
  • upcycling project using post-production scrap fabric

 

Fair Trade Federation

We are members of the Fair Trade Federation in the US and adhere to all standards of conduct which include:
  •   creating opportunities for marginalized producers
  •   transparent relationships
  •   capacity building
  •   prompt payments
  •   non-discriminatory working conditions, including women's equality
  •   no child labour, no forced labour
  •   positive environmental practices
  •   safe working conditions
  •   respecting cultural identity
      The website text of the Fair Trade Federation can be found at:
      More in-depth information on fair trade labour standards can also be found at:

       

      Women’s Development

      We strongly support women's development as well through hiring practices in our manufacturing company and through a women’s development project with our Foundation.

       

      We are gradually adding more women to our stitching staff and hope to create more positions for women.

       

      We have a skills training program for women artisans using post production scrap fabric to create design-led upcycled fashion accessories.  For more information on this, please see our 'foundation' page.

       For more information on this, please click on our 'foundation' page.

       

      The Significance of Fair Trade - Thoughts from our Director

      "I have also been asked many times to comment on the statistical evidence that fair trade does some good: what 'proof' can we offer.  What 'success stories' and how many lives have been affected.  What I can say, is that though we are small, each person who works with us is affected in a positive way (myself included); each person, by having income stability, can plan for their children's future, for their families.  Gradually, people make different types of decisions based on job security and freedom of thought.  Their children stay in school, finish school and consequently gain more skills.  Our staff are able to afford more of the things in life which enhance their quality of life.  They have better, more secure lives within the structures of their world.
      We all work in a non-discriminatory environment which promotes respect and appreciation of all.  In this environment, we all learn from each other.  My life has been deeply enriched by learning more about their lives. I believe the same is true for our staff who have learned of other cultures, other ways of thinking.  Our staff has learned about many other parts of the world and ideas through meetings and conversations with our customers, interns, buyers. In our system, everyone gradually takes on more responsibility and becomes part of our team. We are greater as a whole than individually, but it is only by each person working for this ideal that we become so.
      By making these daily connections between people, by developing long-lasting relationships based on trust, everyone's life has been deeply affected in a positive way.  The effect is not in the statistics, but in the quality of each person's life who is part of our shared dream and reality.  I personally am deeply humbled to work with such sincere people.  
      If we all saw each other as human beings first, fair trade would simply be the norm and, one small step at a time, the world would grow in understanding and human kindness.  It is the only way to live and work."  --Shari
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