Each year we choose a theme to represent our main goals for growth as an ethical business. We believe that there is always room for improvement, and that without clear goals, we cannot achieve our main mission of achieving a fair marketplace for global goods. Last year, we decided to focus on sustainability. We asked ourselves how we could offer more sustainable products like our new bamboo straws, increase transparency, or take actions to cut back on our plastic use.
During the past two years, we have also shifted a lot of our attention to building up our online store. When we can't talk with our customers face to face and share the stories of our products in conversation, what we type on a product page or write in an email or post becomes so important. For many of our customers, this is their only connection to the story of how their products are made. That's why this year we have decided to focus our energy on sharing these stories in a more transparent, frequent, and respectful way.
Looking Forward to 2022
This aim is what has inspired us to choose Respecting Cultural Identity as our 2022 year theme. Not only does this remind us to put our artisan partners first in every communication about fair trade products, it also reminds us of our responsibility to offer unique items that value diversity and tradition. An ethical marketplace cannot exist without the input and values of diverse cultures. This is what Respecting Cultural Identity means to us.
Respecting Cultural Identity is also one of the 9 Principles of the Fair Trade Federation. To fully embrace this term, our business must do three main things. First, traditional practices of small artisans and farmers must be integrated into many of our designs. Second, relationships between us and our suppliers must be built on mutual trust and support, recognizing that neither of our businesses exists without the other. Third, we must communicate with our customers in an open and clear way to bring awareness to the beauty of diverse and handmade goods, avoiding objectification at all costs.
Many of our favorite products rely on traditional methods. One great example is our hand-painted luminaries. These are handcrafted in a family workshop in the community of San Juan de Oriente, Nicaragua. Each luminary is created out of local clay, turned on a kick wheel, hand-painted, and wood-fired in a beehive-shaped kiln. By relying on ancient, time-tested techniques like the kick wheel, each piece is made to be unique.
In 2022, we plan to source more products that support the preservation of traditional techniques and are based on artisans' designs. Watch our New Arrivals page to see what comes next!
We like to believe that Lucia's is a family-run business. We value building relationships between our employees in the US, our vendors, and our direct suppliers in Guatemala. Our owner, Teresa, visits Guatemala every year with her husband to reconnect with artisans they usually only get to see over video chat and to to catch up on what is going on at their second home. Over the last 20 years, the relationships between Teresa and the artisans Lucia's works with have grown into lasting and trusting bonds. Through these relationships, Lucia's has been able to help provide COVID relief to a small town where some of our artisan partners live, to support families as they send their kids off to university, and to back creative entrepreneurial ideas that artisans bring, like recycling shoe leather into beautiful jewelry.
In 2022, we hope to build on our existing relationships and to foster more open discussions about how we use artisans' stories, what ways we can better support employee and artisan goals, and how we can better communicate the stories that our vendors share with us about how their products are produced.
Finally, you can't respect cultural identity without giving credit to cultural heritage. In 2022, one of our biggest goals is to make sure that we share the story behind every product. Whether this means telling how it's made on our website, creating more spaces for questions from our customers, or going to our vendors for more information, we want to make sure that every product story is clear.
One of the main ways that we plan to do this is through our weekly newsletter. Each week, we will share at least one product story. Not only this, but every month we will choose a brand to spotlight. In these newsletters, we will do a deep dive into the cultural heritage and techniques that go into producing that vendor's products. To be sure you get every brand spotlight, register for our newsletter at the bottom of your screen today!