Fair Trade the eBay Way

Mar 02, 2010
George Anderson

By George Anderson

WorldofGood.com, a website that markets products created
by artisans from developing nations, sold its retail brand and related
assets to eBay last week after a two-year collaboration between the two companies.

to a release announcing the deal, “The transaction
reflects eBay’s growing commitment to engaging consumers to affect social change
through sustainable commerce. It also represents World of Good’s commitment
to creating the greatest market opportunity for small, Fair Trade and environmentally
responsible producers around the world. The online marketplace hosts hundreds
of sellers, with tens of thousands of sustainable products from 85 countries.”

of Good also sold its wholesale business, including its Global Girlfriend clothing
line, to GreaterGood/Charity USA. The wholesale business supplies companies
including Disney, Hallmark and Whole Foods.

Priya Haji, co-founder and CEO of
World of Good, said, “We are excited about
the opportunity to scale the World of Good mission to an unprecedented degree
through eBay. Also, we are
confident that GreaterGood will be an excellent steward of the retail partnerships
we’ve built and will continue to grow Fair Trade through mainstream retail channels.”

Questions: What do you think about the opportunities and challenges associated
with this acquisition and eBay’s commitment “to affect
social change through sustainable commerce?”

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.

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5 Comments on "Fair Trade the eBay Way"

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Paula Rosenblum
11 years 2 months ago

I think this is a wonderful idea…and I also ask myself with an effective unemployment rate of approximately 15%, shouldn’t the US do something like this for itself too?

I’ve never been a fan of “Made in the USA” jingoism, but I would love to see domestic micro-businesses get a shot in the arm via a special eBay marketplace.

Max Goldberg
11 years 2 months ago

Does this mean that eBay will give special attention and better listings to products that tout social change? Where does this fit into eBay’s auction strategies?

It will be interesting to see if eBay follows traditional retailers in offering store brands side by side with manufacturer brands. Does this signal that eBay will branch into a number of product categories and will all of their private/store brand labels fall within sustainable commerce?

Doron Levy
Doron Levy
11 years 2 months ago

I think it’s great that they are on board with such a venture but will it be given any priority? What about all those non-environmentally friendly-made in sweat shops-with asbestos products they currently have on their site?

The bulk of their fees are made from mainstream commercially available items. It will be interesting to see if any changes are made to eBay’s home page layout to help promote World of Good products.

Ian Percy
11 years 2 months ago
Paula makes an interesting point about doing the same thing here in North America. So what is the difference between “our” struggling people and “their” struggling people? I get product handmade in Jaipur, India by a wonderful group of silversmiths who are proud of their craft and who work hard for their money. The work of these artisans is coordinated by a physician who is raising money for a health clinic in this impoverished area and so we gladly pay a little extra for our product. In return our silversmiths get free health care at the clinic. This just feels good. And it’s still a reasonably profitable venture. Comparing parts of Jaipur to parts of Detroit isn’t exactly apples to apples. However, I think a major difference is that we in North America expect someone else to look after us in some way–to provide work or unemployment dollars for example. In these emerging economies people know they have to use what skills and talents they have to stay alive. What I want no part of… Read more »
Bill Bittner
Bill Bittner
11 years 2 months ago
There is an interesting irony in all this; as consumers become more able to reach manufacturers directly, there are fewer people needed to maintain the pipeline. This leads to fewer people earning money which then leads to fewer people able to afford the goods produced by the manufacturers. It is similar to the adage about government spending which says one man’s “pork” is another one’s livelihood. So is eBay really doing a service for the small manufacturer? By improving the efficiency to market are they reducing the number of people who can afford goods? There are a lot of hurdles the small manufacturer must overcome. Reputation is a key one. People will often pay more because a national brand has an implied warranty. I assume all the normal and possibly even more rating options will be available for buyers to rate the sellers. This will help ensure buyers they are getting a good product. Will eBay work to verify the manufacturer? I don’t think this concept is as simple as throwing a label on the… Read more »

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