Astrojax Fair Trade Practices
We believe it is urgently necessary to develop and implement environmentally- and socially-responsible business practices, and are intent on doing so and sharing what we learn in the process so that others may follow suit. We also believe that open-ended, creative, physical play is vital to the development of children and greatly beneficial to adults.
Creating an innovative, high-quality product and doing business in new ways is challenging, and there was much to figure out in bringing the Astrojax Weaves to market. Although many companies tout their fair trade practices, few describe their fair trade practices explicitly, and even fewer describe how to set up a fair trade business. Furthermore, Astrojax Weaves are the only product on the market that achieves size tolerances in crochet of roughly plus or minus one millimeter. And as far as we know, Astrojax Weaves are the only product which integrates injection-molded plastic, precision-tooled metal, and crochet. The two and a half years from the Spring 2016 to Fall 2018 were spent creating a fair trade manufacturing infrastructure which could meet our high standards for quality.
Astrojax Weaves are made in Guatemala, a country which is economically poor but incredibly rich in its culture of artisanship. We employ about 50 workers, mainly women, to produce the crochet, and a home team of eight people to stuff the balls with granulated cork, screen the balls according to rigorous quality control standards, and assemble sets.
We believe the most fundamental aspect of fair trade is the wage paid to workers. Although fair trade certification organizations specify numerous criteria regarding what qualifies as fair trade (which mostly relate to work environment conditions and non-discrimination), they generally don't specify what actually qualifies as a fair trade wage. We feel a fair trade wage should be substantially above the market rate for artisans in "third-world" countries, and pay our crochet artisans three times the market rate per stitch.
We also do our best to be environmentally friendly. Astrojax Weave balls are stuffed with repurposed granulated cork made from scrap wine bottle cork stoppers, and there is no plastic waste in our packaging.
Fundamentally, our business practices come down to operating with the understanding that economic transactions need not be viewed as a zero-sum game, and with the guiding principle being love we consider our workers, our business partners, Astrojax players, and the world at large as family.
Fair Trade Astrojax Weaves -- A beautiful product made in a beautiful way for a better world