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Starbucks Partners with Fair Winds Trading to Bring Hand Crafted African Products to U.S. Stores


As nations around the world experience economic slowdown and decreased foreign direct investment (FDI), many countries, particularly in Africa, are taking inventory of their future trade capabilities and are relying on the appeal of locally produced, culturally relevant products. World leaders including President Obama, who addressed the topic of economic stability during his recent trip to Ghana, continue to place a spotlight on the opportunities that exist in Africa and the continents importance on the world stage.


Starbucks, a trusted Rwandan partner, is doing its part by increasing its product offerings beyond fair-trade coffee. Through a partnership with Fair Winds Trading, Inc. – leading importer of handmade goods from Rwanda – Starbucks has brought authentic African fabric coffee tumblers and hand sewn totes to its U.S. and Canada stores this summer. These products are made in Rawanda and are handcrafted and designed by men and women from Rwanda as a way to celebrate and share their culture.


Starbucks is proud to team up with Willa Shalit, CEO of Fair Winds Trading, Inc. (and film critic Gene Shalit’s daughter), who has poured her soul into bringing products from artisans in Africa  to millions of Americans by introducing high-value, culturally expressive products that promote peace and justice and improve lives around the world.  The Fair Winds Trading and Starbucks business model of working with international producers to bring products to local consumers for economic growth opportunities is one that is easily applied to business owners looking to diversify their product offerings. African-American business owners with an eye towards growing their businesses while engaging in socially responsible practices can easily adapt this business model.

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