Hi! My name is Qinnie. I set up Oz Fair Trade in early 2013 following a life-changing journey to Southeast Asia, where I met extremely hard working and talented people who struggled to make ends meet. I started asking questions:
- Why don't their beautiful handicrafts make their ways to Australia?
- Why are these hard working people struggling to feed their kids?
- Why is travelling an unrealistic dream to them?
- Why do I have a much easier life?
These questions bothered me so much that I decided to set up an online marketplace for fair trade products. I had the incredible support of the local press in Canberra and gained a group of lovely customers who put trust in me.
I am a strong believer in 'trade not aid'. Aid is extremely useful at times of crisis, but it has not been very effective at breaking the poverty cycle. There are many contributing factors including corruption and mismanagement of aids. Moreover, that's not what these people want. They want trade, not aid. They have incredible skills, but they either struggle to find their market or get hard done by greedy businessmen. The global supply chain is far from fair, and I want to do my bit to help make it right. I not only buy their products but also keep their labels and tell their stories - so that they become known in the marketplace and they can grow into successful social enterprises.
Currently, Oz Fair Trade runs out of my living room and a laptop. I had no prior business experience or web building expertise. My eagerness to learn makes up for my inexperience and my passion makes up for my lack of time. You can listen to my podcast on my journey here.
I hope that you will join me in the fight against poverty through fair trade. This has to be the simplest and most mutually beneficial way to empower the most disadvantaged people in the world!