Ten Thousand Villages making millions

Via Roxy Allen: Ten Thousand Villages, the not-for-profit seller of fairly traded handicrafts founded by Mennonite Central Committee, earns a write-up in Forbes. TTV’s roots apparently go back to 1946, when a Mennonite mission worker started bringing embroidery back from Puerto Rico — last year the U.S. branch of the charity brought in $24 million. And, as Forbes has it, they’re doing well by harnessing upscale consumerism for good.

New stores are in tony suburbs, in gentrifying neighborhoods and near college campuses. The typical consumer: an educated, socially conscious woman, aged 25 to 54, with a household income of $70,000 to $100,000. She might be looking for an inexpensive wedding present, replenishing her supply of Equal Exchange coffee or browsing racks of cheap jewelry for a gift to herself she’ll feel virtuous for buying.

  • When I saw this article in Forbes (not that I like Forbes but I got a free subscription), I was stunned!

    TTV really did start the Fair Trade movement.


    Do you think they have enough profit to help MCC’s revenues?

  • Yeah, probably the biggest surprise about the article is that Forbes carried it. Millions in revenue isn’t the same as profits, of course — but I have to wonder if MCC are wishing they hadn’t spun TTV off back in 2000.