Four years after college, Amanda Judge decided to completely start over and left her job in finance to find inspiration and volunteer around Latin America. Judge, then 26, didn't know exactly what she wanted to pursue, but she hoped to bridge her financial aptitude with a desire to make a positive impact on the world.
While researching how communities could sustainably bring themselves out of poverty for her masters degree in economic development, her ideal blend of interests finally clicked. Her fair trade accessories business, Faire Collection, was born.
Her project entailed meeting local artisans, and Judge immediately saw the potential for their work in a world market. She spent afternoons wandering through the Ecuadorian markets and fell in love with the atmosphere. "I realized that if I could spend more time in more markets around the world and meet more artisans, it would be a really fulfilling life," Judge says.
She identified the number one reason that artisan families are stuck in the cycle of poverty - lack of access to profitable markets. "They were forced to give whatever price the middleman asked," Judge says.
Judge came back to the U.S. with a suitcase of jewelry she had designed with the artisans and walked around to stores in Boston's Harvard Square until she had her first client.
Faire Collection supplies its fair trade products made in Ecuador & Vietnam to thousands of boutiques around the world as well as many major clients - including Tommy Bahama, Anthropologie, DKNY and J.Jill. Judge's award-winning business has 20 employees worldwide and works to provide better lives for hundreds of artisans.
As a social enterprise, Faire Collection was founded to bring sustainable change to impoverished communities in South America. As a fashion brand, Faire Collection has changed the landscape of what to expect from fair trade products.
-- From the Story Exchange's feature on Amanda Judge.