One World Shop to offer fair trade rugs that help Pakistani artisans

For 40 years, the nonprofit One World Shop has partnered with organizations around the globe to give artisans a chance to sell their creations­—at fair trade wages—to Northeast Ohio residents. The marketplace serves to educate the community on fair trade and global social justice issues by selling artisan handmade goods (including home decor and jewelry) from more than 40 vendors representing 55 countries.

This week, One World will take its fair trade mission to another level by showcasing more than 300 hand-knotted rugs made by Pakistani artisans at its Fair Trade Rug Event, running today through Sunday, May 19.

Artist Mohammad Imran at the Bunyaad Warehouse in Lahore, Pakistan Spanning everything from intricate florals to hand-spun natural dye wool designs, the Tribal, Bokhara, and Persian rugs have been designed and hand-knotted by highly skilled and fairly paid adults. The Bunyaad Rugs are secured through the Pennsylvania-based fair trade nonprofit 10,000 Villages.

All the rugs displayed at One World are for sale and range in size from two-by-nine feet up to 10-by-13 feet. Prices range between $100 and $500 for the smaller sizes to upwards of $10,000 for the larger sizes.

“We’re transforming the store into a rug shop,” says Laura Potter-Sadowski, One World Shop manager. “The prices are dependent on the knot count and the amount of silk woven into the rugs.”

Customers can even take rugs on a trial run before buying. “[Customers] can take up to four rugs home on loan to see how they fit in your home,” says Potter-Sadowski. “Test it out and see what you think.”

Potter-Sadowski says Bunyaad works with more than 850 families living throughout 100 villages in Pakistan. “Bunyaad works directly with the artists,” she says. “They come with a really rich knowledge of what the artists are doing and their inspirations.”

The artists are paid half of their fees when they are first commissioned to make the rugs, then paid the other half before the rugs leave Pakistan after completion.

One World Shop
19321 Detroit Rd.
Rocky River, OH 44116

Additionally, 60 percent of the participating artisans are women. By providing these artists income, the women are seen as equals in their communities and in turn can send their children to school, instead of the kids staying home to help with chores. “Fair trade wages give the extra income for school funds and scholarships,” Potter-Sadowski explains.

At One World’s Loom to Room event tomorrow (Thursday, May 16) from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., Bunyaad representatives will present a seminar and video of the artists making the rugs and how they get the dyes they use. “It’s interesting to see the whole process and gain an appreciation of the rugs you’re looking at during the event,” Potter-Sadowski says.

One World Shop got its start in 1973 through a group at Lakewood Presbyterian Church, which held “alternative Christmas fairs” in Cuyahoga County. The One World Shop was established on Madison Avenue in Lakewood in 1979 before moving to its current location in the early 1990s. The shop operated under the 10,000 Villages umbrella for nine years in the early 2000s before becoming its own independent nonprofit entity.

One World’s hours during the Free Trade Rug Event are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. today through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, call Potter-Sadowski at (440) 333-7709.

Read more articles by Karin Connelly Rice.

Karin Connelly Rice enjoys telling people's stories, whether it's a promising startup or a life's passion. Over the past 20 years she has reported on the local business community for publications such as Inside Business and Cleveland Magazine. She was editor of the Rocky River/Lakewood edition of In the Neighborhood and was a reporter and photographer for the Amherst News-Times. At Fresh Water she enjoys telling the stories of Clevelanders who are shaping and embracing the business and research climate in Cleveland.