Communities Not Clubs
"Fair Trade, as an example, is a brand. If you see something being sold with the Fair Trade sticker on it then they’re actually selling that brand. And that’s because there are costs involved to have that label on your product. The product then becomes part of that club, the Fair Trade club. I don’t like the aspect of thinking you have to be part of a club because you can’t control who’s in the club and you might philosophically be in very different spaces. Add to that the cost which is often prohibitive for people who are doing things in the right way anyway. It’s like getting organic certification. Often the cost of getting certified is too much for a small organic farmer even if they are doing things right on their own.
I’m not interested in joining clubs, which is how I view those things. I am interested in being part of a community because communities really know each other. I don’t care about labels because for me they’re marketing gimmicks. Everyone said they were 'sustainable' when that became a thing but very few were letting you into their actual process. I would rather show you as the customer the full process of what we do and let you make up your own mind - do you trust us or not. And that forces you to have a deeper level of engagement with people.
That’s why I say communities not clubs. Communities really know each other. It’s a different level of engagement. And when you let people right into the process then there’s nowhere to hide anything. You have to be completely open and honest."
(Conversation with Last & Loom’s Hemi Pou.)