Wandering around the aisles of craft stores dreaming of projects used to be my idea of a great afternoon out. When I decided to chase the sweatshop-free dream, suddenly the aisles went from tempting to depressing.
It would be so easy to snatch up lots of fun, cheap supplies and create items for sale, but the "Made in China" label puts a damper on those ideas. In the end that's a good thing. I do not need a reason to buy more stuff, and buying things that might be more expensive keeps my purchases limited. The real temptation is to increase my Etsy shop profit by using sweatshop products. At the same time, every time I type "This is a sweatshop free product" it makes me feel like I can make a difference.
Honestly, yarn sources are not too bad. Beads for rosaries on the other hand is a little tricky. I did find beautiful beads from fair trade sources like Happy Mango Beads and Kazuri West, but these would send the cost of a rosary well beyond my price range. I could also buy from the Czech Republic, since they make beautiful beads and as members of the EU have trust worthy labor laws. In the end I ordered from American Woodcrafters Supply Co.
I am still a long way from being sweatshop-free in everything, but crafting is one area I am doing pretty well, even for the kids. Despite the distance I still have to travel, the more labels I read, the more committed I am to doing better.