Founded in 2014, the Fair Trade Show is Canada’s leading consumer show dedicated to fair trade, ethical sourcing and social enterprises. The Fair Trade Show brings together the community of social entrepreneurs, consumers, and retailers who believe that business is not just about maximizing profit, but also about impacting lives. The goal is to make ethical businesses more visible and accessible to consumers and retailers who wish to support their work. The Fair Trade Show will be happening on June 4th and 5th, 2016 at Heritage Court: Enercare Centre in Toronto, ON.
If you would like to attend the event as a brand, the Fair Trade Show is a great option to showcase your story and product. They offer access to thousands of customers seeking products and services like yours, access to buyers looking for ethical products and services, and being part of a well-curated community of like-minded ethical entrepreneurs.
The Fair Trade Show is the only consumer show of its kind in North America. The shows team has rigorously vetted each and every exhibitor and brought them all together under one roof to give consumers an exclusive opportunity to support some amazing stories and products. The shows exhibitors will feature products ranging from fairly-traded foods, ethical travel experiences, housewares, sweatshop-free clothing and accessories, and much more.
Tickets for the event start at $7. The entire ticket pricing guide can be found here.
Below is a quick Q&A with Rafik Riad, the founder of The Fair Trade Show.
Rafik has studied and worked in Canada, Egypt, Germany, England, and Tanzania on issues related to poverty, environment, climate change, and tourism policies in developing countries. He has worked with bilateral organizations such as the UK Department for International Development and the Canadian International Development Agency, as well as with central and local governments on policy design and project implementation.
Upon moving to Canada, Rafik co-founded SALT, a fair trade social enterprise working with several communities in Africa and Latin America. Realising that there was little done to promote fair trade and social enterprises in North America, Rafik shifted his focus to help create an enabling environment for social enterprises to thrive by improving their access to the consumers and to buyers.
When and how was the decision made to start the journey of creating the Fair Trade Show?
The first Fair Trade Show was created in November 2014 to provide a platform for like minded entrepreneurs to promote their businesses, tell their stories and interact with the public.
The idea came to fill a gap in the trade shows industry in North America, where there are not any shows that are dedicated to promoting social enterprises or fair trade businesses. With the growing number of social businesses working to make the world a better and a more just place and the worldwide growing demand for ethical products and services, we thought the time has come to create The Fair Trade Show and provide consumers and businesses with a platform to interact.
Was there a particular story or social enterprise that inspired you to try and put all these social enterprises under one roof for a show?
I personally had a social enterprise working with women cooperatives in Africa, the Middle East and Latin America to promote their handicrafts and provide them with a sustainable source of income. It was a constant challenge reaching the right consumer that is looking for products like ours, a customer that was appreciative of the impact the products had on the communities they came from. I have also witnessed a couple of social enterprises go out of business as they struggled to become finically sustainable themselves. This when I decided to focus my efforts in creating a show that would attract customers keen on ethical living choices and bringing businesses under one roof for these customers.
As an exhibitor, what can I expect by joining the show? What is the atmosphere and attendees like?
As an exhibitor at The Fair Trade Show, you will be surrounded by like minded entrepreneurs who share your passion to harness the power of business to do good in the world. You will be able to network with regional, national and international organizations working to promote and support fair trade and social enterprises. We have also diligently built a community of consumers that are actively seeking responsible products and services. You will be building long lasting relationships with businesses, consumers and advocacy organizations.
As an attendee what can I expect to see at the Fair Trade Show?
Visiting The Fair Trade Show will allow you to get introduced to a wide range of companies that are using business to solve complex social and environmental problems. You will be able to shop for unique products that are not only are ethically produced but also have a lasting impact on the communities that make them. Products will include food items such as fair trade honey, wine, beer, chocolate and of course coffee. Non food items will range from house décor to jewelry to ethically made apparel. We hope you will get inspired not only to consume responsibly, but may one day join our community of businesses that change the world.
Has the Fair Trade Show grown over the past two years? In your mind has the show been a success so far bringing social enterprises together with impact consumers?
We are very happy to have been growing steadily since our first show in November 2014. We started with 18 exhibitors from Canada and around 1000 visitors. Now we are planning our 3rd show in June 2016 with 100 exhibitors from Canada, the US and beyond. We are also expecting around 10,000 visitors. We aim to be the go to event for social enterprises and for consumers that are looking of impactful purchases in North America.