Fair Trade FAQ - Get to Know Papillon Marketplace

“How We Operate”


Are you Fair Trade?

Yes, Papillon Marketplace is a verified member of the Fair Trade Federation (FTF)

How do you create economic opportunities for marginalized producers?

Papillon was founded by CEO Shelley Jean after she spent a week in an orphanage in Haiti and realized that all of the children in the orphanage were not in fact orphans, but rather children who had been relinquished by their mothers and fathers due to economic hardship. She sent her heart on creating sustainable and fair work for mothers and fathers in Haiti to be able to earn a living wage in order to keep their children. Papillon provides paid training and employment to women and men in artisan handicrafts in Haiti. We pay a living wage (enough for shelter, food, and education), which ends up being 2-3 times higher than the required minimum wage in Haiti.

In what ways do you have open, fair, consistent, and respectful relationships with producers/artisans?

Papillon maintains clear lines of communication through monthly meetings with artisans to address any issues, grievances, or production pain points. We offer upward mobility and management opportunities to allow our artisans to also grow in their skills and abilities beyond that of just handcrafts.

How do you provide financial or technical assistance to producers/artisans?

All training is paid and we also work with artisans to troubleshoot problems that they might have in their production process in order to maintain a steady flow of work to them. We have a website that we maintain and use as a marketing platform to sell the goods they make and allow them to focus on production while we worry about marketing and sales.

Do you provide interest-free advance payment to producers/artisans?

Papillon provides loans for personal needs as well as advances for production needs. Please tell us some stories about some of your producers’/artisans’/ that we can share with our customers.

Artisan Story - “Makilene”

Makilene walked for days looking for an orphanage. She had four children that she couldn’t feed and a baby in her arms. The father of her children had recently died and she was at her wits end. She had nothing left to give her children. She had heard of a place that helped children and thinking that it was an orphanage, she showed up at our gate. Papillon provided shelter for her family for a year through our non-profit arm (Papillon Empowerment) and brought Makilene in as a paid apprentice jewelry maker. Over the next few years, she was able to master her craft, save money, buy land, get her kids all enrolled in school and has managed to gain 50 pounds (a great sign in a place like Haiti). She is an example of how the opportunity for steady and fair work can change a life, keep a family intact and bring hope to the next generation. She is an example of why we do what we do. Orphan Prevention through Job Creation.

How do you pay producers/artisans fairly? Do you pay promptly?

We work differently with different kinds of artisans. Some of our artisans are in-house and we pay them monthly. Some are independent producers and we pay them upon delivery of goods unless they need a materials deposit. Sometimes we pay 50/50 depending on their needs.

Please describe your policies for cancelling orders from suppliers.

We don’t. If we place an order, we handle that as a commitment to buy.

How do you support workplaces which involve producers/artisans in the decisions that affect them?

Weekly and monthly meetings are held specifically to give our artisans a forum to express concerns and make collaborative decisions about production of artisan goods.

In what ways do you distribute income fairly?

We pay a living wage (2-3 times the minimum wage). This wage allows for our artisans to be able to shelter, feed, and send their children to school. We also try to divide work as evenly as possible among artisans that are working so as to ensure that everyone has fair opportunity for income.

Are children under the age of 18 involved in the production of the items you buy? How do you ensure that children are not being kept out of school to work with the family?

No children are involved in production. In our own production facility it is easy to ensure that there are no children who are working on any of the artisan goods. For goods made off site, communication and regular site visits assure that it is only adults who are working on our products.

How do you evaluate the impact on the environment and promote the responsible stewardship of resources?

As much as possible, we use recycled materials. Our cereal box bead is a great example of this. We also use almost exclusively local resources for the rest of our products. The clay that we use for our pottery and ceramic beads come from the central part of Haiti and we process it naturally on site. We also have 80 solar panels that we use for electricity at our production facility in Haiti.

In what ways do you balance market needs with producers' cultural heritage?

We love this part of our product development. Over 80% of our designs are created by our artisans. We may choose color stories to follow - but even then, most of our color stories fit within the Caribbean heritage of Haiti. Metal artisans we work with offer us culturally appropriate pieces that are significant to the history and artistic culture of Haiti.


Hi there! I hope that the answers above give you confidence in who we are and what we’re trying to accomplish for families in Haiti. We would love to work with you! If you have any additional questions, please contact me directly at shelley@papillonmarketplace.com or by phone at 360-763-1006


Shelley Jean, CEO
Papillon Marketplace

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