Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Fair Trade Tea Towels

A few weeks ago, a very interesting looking package arrived at my doorstep (actually at the front desk of our apartment building, but same thing). It was wrapped in cotton, stitched together with twine, and weighed about thirty pounds. It could only be one thing: a shipment of organic fair-trade tea towels from Chennai.

Last year, I was buying my tea towels from a company that mass-produced cotton products in China. Very cheap, but not exactly environmentally or ethically sound. So when that company closed at the beginning of this year, I decided it was time for a change. I wanted something higher quality and organic, and during this search I stumbled upon a company that sold tea towels that were not only organic cotton, but also woven at a fair trade co-op in India.

After several months of testing sample fabrics and negotiating shipping times, my neatly bundled package arrived. Below are a few pictures of the actual weavers and cotton pickers who make the tea towels I am now using, and which you can have in your very own home.

The price of the tea towels has gone up slightly, but in my opinion it is worth it to know where the cotton comes from, how it is produced, and that it is improving the livelihood of an entire village (Kilvayattanan Kuppam in Tamil Nadu, to be precise). You can even go and watch them weaving the tea towels, next time you find yourself in Tamil Nadu.

Photos via Bishopston Trading Company
So, now when you buy a tea towel you are not only supporting an artist and small-business owner in the US, but an entire village of weavers in India. And that is a purchase you can feel good about!

You can find the organic fair trade tea towels in the shop, right here.


  1. Will you get any more of these??? I love your work and would like a tea towel!!

    1. Emma, I'm so glad you like them! I should have more around the holidays, I will let you know when they are back in stock!

  2. Emma, do you know a way for me to purchase these as blanks? I gifted my children an stamp carving set for Channukah and we want to make some tea towels but I am having trouble sourcing them organic and fair trade. These would be given as gifts for family. Thank you.

  3. hi there, chance upon your blog while looking for tea towels. would love to purchase fair trade cotton towels to made. wondering if you can share the contacts? it's just ethical to not get goods from sweatshops.

    looking forward to hear from you.

  4. This is a very new idea for me.I knew first time about organic fair-trade tea towels made from Chennai.Really awesome towel for home use.

  5. Thanks to share this blog. Your Blog is unique and informative for us.Order for our organic cotton towels wholesale ! The ring-spun organic cotton is eco-friendly that allows the towels to remain exceptionally soft, plush and absorbent even after multiple washing.


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