Calumny 2 – Testimony of Kevin Ward and Renice Jones original owners of Global Crafts related in a letter from Patricia Pearson FTF Board Chairwoman to Suzann Albion owner of Global Village Fair Trade Store in Victoria, British Colombia, Canada

(English original) Follows is the original letter from Patricia Pearson, Board Chairwoman of the Fair Trade Federation to Suzann Albion, owner of Victoria Global Village Fair Trade store in Victoria Canadá:

Hi Suzann,

My apologies for the slow reply. I’ve been for nearly two weeks at the FTF conference/vacation and also managing a political campaign.

I have spoke to Kevin, Renice, and Tiffany of Global Crafts, as well as Chris Solt, Executive Director of FTF regarding Art Camp.

You are correct in that there are several factions within Art Camp, and not all are well intentioned. Kevin and Renice, former owners of Global Crafts, purchased from Art Camp for many many years, and have been trying to support this group as best as they could. They’ve visited the group on several occasions to try to help them work out their challenges, and get to the bottom of the matter. They’ve spent countless hours on the phone. Unfortunately it appears nothing has changed.

The group increased prices (after orders were placed and paid for in full), demanded that Global Crafts increase orders years over year, and withheld orders. Despite the challenges, they continued to purchase from them, and paid the prices requested. Despite all of this, when they sold the business to Tiffany last year, they recommended she continue buying from them. Tiffany placed an order let year, which has not yet been received. She paid for the samples sent.

Chris no longer replies to their emails; he too has done all that he can (for several years), as did Renee, the former Executive Director of FTF.

Unfortunately I suspect artisans are suffering as a result of the few leading this group.

I don’t know that it would be helpful for me to get involved.

With regards to whether you should order, I would proceed with caution.

I wish I had more answers. I am confident, however that Global Crafts and the Fair Trade Federation have done all that they can for this group.

Best,

Patricia

Patricia Pearson

Apr 9, 2019, 9:42 AM
to sealbion, bcc: victoriaglobalvillage, bcc: Verna, bcc: lisa, bcc: Wendy

8 April 2019

To: Suzann Albion, Anita, Janetta, Leslie, Mavis, Tricia, Verna

Victoria Global Village Fair Trade Store
527 Pandora Ave, Victoria, BC V8W 1N5, Canada

This is our reply to letter of 3 April 2019 from Ms. Patricia Pearson, Board Chairwoman of the Fair Trade Federation
to Suzann Albion of the Global Village Fair Trade Store

Highlighted are Patricia Pearson’s comments

My apologies for the slow reply. I’ve been for nearly two weeks at the FTF conference/vacation and also managing a political campaign.

 I have spoke to Kevin, Renice, and Tiffany of Global Crafts, as well as Chris Solt, Executive Director of FTF regarding Art Camp.

Its simply unfair to condemn us without letting us be heard.
Please: we have not been allowed an opportunity to speak.

You are correct in that there are several factions within Art Camp, and not all are well intentioned.

Excuse me, but here are NO such “factions” within the cooperative. Global Crafts broke communications with Artcamp on December 17th 2017, Global Crafts went to the older sister of one of the cooperative members to have her make Artcamp’s own jewelry, at prices unchanged since 2010.

WHO do you claim is not “well-intentioned”?

¿What do you mean by this, please?


Kevin and Renice, former owners of Global Crafts,
purchased from Art Camp for many many years, and have been trying to support this group as best as they could.

The GMAIL record of Artcamp-Global Crafts 2010-2019 demonstrates that Global Crafts, all those years, neither “supported” nor benefitted artisans in our locality.

Specifically, WHAT “support”was afforded and to whom?

Global Crafts assumed Artcamp’s customers,
and made liberal profits in Artcamp’s name.

When Global Crafts took over Artcamp’s Fair Trade representation in 2010; (10) artisan families
were fully employed.

Thus, Artcamp was already modestly successful before Global Crafts took over its good name and its product lines and its Fair Trade customers. Previous to Global Crafts (1995-2010) Artcamp Cooperative’s annual sales were consistently more than 100,000usd$ annually.

They’ve visited the group on several occasions to try to help them work out their challenges, and get to the bottom of the matter.

Yes, Global Crafts employee Caitie Quinn inspected Artcamp on two occasions.

Respectfully, we request that Caitie’s notebooks and reports be secured and that Caitie be asked to voluntarily testify as to the intended purpose of her visit, and what was the sum and the detail of what she learned from her time with the Artcamp craftswomen. She stayed a week in Cirina Lugo’s home, she knows through experience the cooperative’s situation. I do not doubt that she will freely give testimony favorable to us to counteract this very misleading statement about the purpose of official Global Craft visits to inspect Artcamp’s cooperative.


They’ve spent countless hours on the phone.

Outrageous claim. No such hours have been “spent” on the phone with us. What hours?


Unfortunately it appears nothing has changed.

What has changed is that the Artcamp cooperative, the hope and pride of the villages of Tecalpulco and Taxco El Viejo was ruined by the commercial experience with Global Crafts.

The group increased prices (after orders were placed and paid for in full), demanded that Global Crafts increase orders years over year, and withheld orders.

NO such demands were ever made. The GMAIL record speaks for itself. Please! We beg, we plead for an opportunity to address these false charges.
Global Crafts cut Artcamp’s production orders in January 2017. Four families of Global Craft’s own loyal crafts workers were dismissed without warning, without any explanation, without any compensation, and without pity for these people.


Despite the challenges, they continued to purchase from them, and paid the prices requested.

False. Global Crafts did NOT respond well to a very modest price increase proposal (it was only enough to cover the cost of materials employed in their own production) Again, the GMAIL record is transparent. Kevin rejected the prospect of a price raise; he shut down the channel of communication with the Artcamp office. I did not hear from Global Crafts again until August 28th of 2018 when Tiffany Kaplan introduced herself as the new owner of Global Crafts and instructed that I make for her, some unique pet products in leather: stone mosaic leashes and collars for cats and dogs. I took this as a gesture of good will, however, I was never paid for my labor or materials (I purchased a beautiful heifer skin for this project) nor for my original designs; my original-models I was told had been accidentally thrown away in the garbage by Global Crafts employees.

Despite all of this, when they sold the business to Tiffany last year, they recommended she continue buying from them. Tiffany placed an order let year, which has not yet been received.

Tiffany Kaplan told me that as the new owner of Global Crafts, the previous books with Artcamp had been permanently closed. She explained to me in a GMAIL that, as the new proprietor of Global Crafts, previous accounting were archived and not available to us, the supplier.  It’s odd the new owner of a multi-million dollar business is a woman who last year was a paid-by-the-hour warehouse employee.

The 2018 sale of Global Crafts to Tiffany Kaplan has the appearance of a sham transaction with an evident intention of avoiding the settling of accounts with the Artcamp cooperative. This sale of a multi-million dollar business seems unusual. And this is the only reason Global Crafts has proffered when it declined to present only a normal commercial account-balance:

It is a universal practice in Taxco for suppliers and importers to agree on an account-balance.

At any given day, one or the other party is positive and the counterparty negative, as product, parts, cash, checks, wire transfers, exchange-rate adjustments, shipments, hand-deliveries, etc.;

Each entry is on a separate line, with its date and a short description (‘Concept’) and an entry in either the plus or the minus column. In Taxco, this is normal balance accounting.

According to Mexican law, an employer can’t fire a long-time worker overnight without compensation. In Mexico, to treat people like this is not only illegal, it is highly immoral.

Global Crafts retains a legal obligation to liquidate their long-time labor relationship with the artisans of Tecalpulco and Taxco El Viejo …and to do this in the correct commercial manner.

She paid for the samples sent.

What? Tiffany Kaplan certainly did NOT pay for the samples she ordered,

I made those samples with my hands. When did she pay me? or offer to pay me for them?

When I inquired, she casually told me that they had been accidently thrown in the trash by Global Crafts employees while cleaning the warehouse! When I asked her to please return them to me, she did NOT offer to pay me, Again, the complete Global Crafts 2010-2019 GMAIL record will bears out all I am saying. Please have Tiffany Kaplan tell me to my face that she paid me for my work.

Also please ask Ms. Renice Jones to pay my brother for the work he did on the Double Hoop Earrings he made at her instructions in 2017. He was never paid for his work, nor for the materials he employed (.925 silver). HasGlobal Crafts has ever spent a penny paying an artisan for a product sample in their long lucrative history of ‘supporting cottage industry craftspeople in the third world’? Global Crafts buyers expected to get these made for free, indicated as the required price to the artisan for staying on the good side of the buyer.

Creating an original model is not something one does in an afternoon, it’s more like a week, usually; however neither Renice nor Tiffany have never made jewelry in their lives and so lack the experience to appreciate how difficult it is to make jewelry. These ladies drive back and forth to work in private cars, and they have never suffered as poor craftspeople do.

Chris no longer replies to their emails; he too has done all that he can (for several years), as did Renee, the former ED.

But, Fair Trade Federation Executive Director Chris Solt has never responded to my mails.

The first I sent was on December 18th 2017. I have sent several more formal letters since then, requesting that he allow me to present my credentials and for me to be heard. My letters were dispatched by MexPost and also by GMAIL.

The record will show that there has been NO reply from Mr. Chris Solt, Executive Director of the Fair Trade Federation, he to whom I had applied.

If Chris Solt sent me a response, what was the date? Every letter I ever wrote to the Fair Trade Federation features these two points: 1. Open dialog 2. Account balancing.

Unfortunately I suspect artisans are suffering as a result of the few leading this group.

What is the basis of this so-called “suspicion”?

WHY would you suspect this?

Do these “suspicions” come from of Renice and Kevin?

Well, they are spurious, to make such serious allegations, there must be some evidence presented. ¿No?


I don’t know that it would be helpful for me to get involved.

Dear Ms Patricia Pearson, honorable Board Chairman of the Fair Trade Federation:

It would be very helpful to us that you should become involved; we implore you and we entreat you in the most polite way to permit us us relate our experience with Global Crafts

The G-MAIL record of Artcamp-Global Crafts 2010-2019 will speak for itself;

This will explain much of what we have to say.

Its unfair to be judged without being heard.


With regards to whether you should order, I would proceed with caution.

What do you suggest as a solution for those craftspeople whom you believe to be “innocent”?


I wish I had more answers. I am confident, however that Global Crafts and the Fair Trade Federation have done all that they can for this group.

WHY is Patricia Pearson, the Fair Trade Federation Board Chair ‘confident’ that Fair Trade has “done all they can” for our group? These charges are based exclusively on verbal testimony of Kevin Ward and Renice Jones, the “former” owners of Global Crafts.

Once again, I respectfully request the Fair Trade Federation
to allow our side of what has happened to be heard.  Please!
We have never been allowed to present our side of events.

Respectfully, to the current board chair
of the Fair Trade Federation, Ms. Patricia Pearson.

Patricia Pearson

Fair Trade Sales

We shake the hands that farm the land.

Level Ground Trading
T 250.544.0932  TF 1.888.565.6633
www.levelground.com

Patricia Pearson, Board Chair of Fair Trade Federation,
PLEASE allow us to be heard!  Please do allow us this!
Follow your rational mind and loving heart, do the right thing
and we will all be friends collaborating to reform bad practices.

The Fair Trade Retailers should hold the Fair Trade Wholesalers and Fair Trade Federation to account. You retailers need to be very careful that what you are getting is authentic and doesn’t have Chinese commercial parts or common distress merchandise. The whole idea of Fair Trade is that the person who makes the piece should benefit and that is a great idea, one that ought to be featured by Fair Trade. Ms. Patricia, you are new in Fair Trade aren’t you?

The Artcamp cooperative joined the Fair Trade Federation in 1995 25 years ago, Connie d’Joong issued an invitation to our craftswomens’group.

Couldn’t we somehow return to the way Fair Trade was before? – back when Fair Trade Federation was clear and transparent and full of good will towards third world artisans?

We are appealing to you in the most correct possible way to allow us an opportunity to explain what has happened; please. Don’t rely only on the words of a certain few people.

In advance for your kind attention. Thank you!

Attentively,

Ofelia Estrada Bahena
ARTCAMP SC DE RL
“Artesanas Campesinas”
Tecalpulco, Guerrero, México