Owner Barbara Erickson said a lot of the items she carries in the store are made by single women or mothers from around the world. An unemployed single mother tried her hand at jewelry making for the first time and is now selling pieces at the shop. Erickson said it has been interesting to watch her progress as an artist.
Erickson buys from local artists as well as fair trade wholesalers because helping disadvantaged artisans is her passion. Opening the shop earlier this month was a perfect union of helping others and enjoying the art for Erickson.
“Fair trade is really about really beautiful gifts that otherwise people wouldn’t have access to,” she said.
It was an accident that Erickson got into the business. She was looking for an interesting gift and went to another fair trade shop in Raleigh.
“I was just mesmerized,” she said.
Erickson soon began volunteering at the store and decided to open her own store.
“I just felt like it wasn’t enough,” she said. “I had to do more.”
Most of the merchandise in the store is made of trash or scrap items.
“That’s what’s available to them,” Erickson said.
All seven continents are represented in the store. Erickson said one of her favorite items is a pack of four soaps that are made in Palestine and packaged in Israel because the women work together while their countries continue in conflict with one another.
“I even get goose bumps when I talk about that,” she said.
She said projects like the soap give the artisans hope.
“It’s so much more than just a business.”
Other items in the store include bags and beaded jewelry from Guatemala, stone sculptures from Africa, scarves from India, recycled paper from Africa, Vietnam and the Philippines and metal wall art from Haiti.
Prices in the store range from just under $3 to $100. However, the majority of the items for sale fall in a $5 to $10 range.
“I think this is one place where if you only have $5 to $10, I think you really could find something,” Erickson said.
Gifts with a heart is located at 2867 Jones Franklin Road in Raleigh. The store is open 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For more information, call 919-854-0040.