Lately I’ve been buying natural or organic soaps as souvenirs whenever I travel. A lot of times because I’m curious to find out if they are locally made or use ingredients specific to the region. In the case of Sacred Mark Soaps it was their distinct and clean design at the Ten Thousand Villages store in Vancouver that peeked my interest instead. Each bar of soap is marked with the symbol of a fingerprint reflecting the individuality of the artisan who made it. The 100% natural soaps are handmade from natural oils and fresh herbs using a cold process and contain no chemical additives. This ensures that they are as gentle on your skin as on the environment.
Sacred Mark Soaps are made by women from Sacred Mark and are survivors of the Bangladesh sex trade. Making the soaps gives them an alternative source of income. The clean-scented soaps are offered in Chai Masala, Cinnamon, and Ginger Neem on Ten Thousand Villages’ website. I bought the Sacred Mark Ginger Neem Soap made of coconut oil, palm oil, neem essential oil, neem powder and ginger root at their store in the Granville Island location. Ten Thousand Villages is a nonprofit Fair Trade Organization (FTO) that has the goal to support artisans instead of maximizing profits. Visiting the store is like experiencing many different cultures from 35 different countries through their arts and crafts. All products are made by artisans from sustainable sources in low-income countries and have been fairly purchased. About 70% of the artisans are women like in the case of the Sacred Mark Soaps. Other products that caught my attention while browsing the fair trade store were eco-modern bowls made out of recycled aluminum or a set of drinking glasses with matching pitcher made out of recycled glass. Ten Thousand Villages is a great destination for modern yet sustainable home accessories that make great gifts for weddings or house warming parties. Most of all you’ll support artisans and their families to receive fair wages for their skills.