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The Season of Giving

It is the Season of Giving. What an opportunity to do good! Truly, it is a wonderful opportunity – one that anyone is loathe to squander. But how does one give effectively? Ah, that is the harder question.

The art of giving, as explained by a Haitian metal fish sculpture.

If you give a man a fish, he eats for a day…

There are many ways in which to give, but I am going to boil them down to two and use the time-honored fishing analogy as my vehicle of explanation: If you give a man a fish, he eats for a day. Tomorrow, he might get a call that the new job is his and he will never have to learn to fish. You cannot foresee what brightness tomorrow will bring and in the meantime, you help a needy man over a rough spot. He might never know hunger again, yet he will always be grateful for the kindly hand that offered up the fish when the time was tough. Sometimes it works out that way, and when it does, it is wonderful.

At It’s Cactus, we believe in teaching a man to fish, and we do so by giving opportunity. We open trade opportunities and teach our trading

Working in Haiti, It's Cactus gives opportunity for trade and learning.

By giving opportunity, we give a gift that can last a lifetime.

partners about the business of production and marketing, giving them the skills they need to feel success and see it grow. This is not an easy path, and achieving positive results takes a great deal of time and patience. Yet we have seen terrific results in our 17 years of working with our Haitian artists and practicing Fair Trade. The best part of it is that we have seen success sustained. Once the opportunity is seized upon, once the lessons are learned, they sitck. They stay. They LAST.

Here’s how: When a new artist approaches us with an innovative design to sell, he gets an order worth $100 USD to make samples. This enables us to evaluate his style and consistency as well as assess his ability to follow through on our agreement. When those hurdles are cleared, we work with the artist to establish a selling price that is both fair and marketable. We discuss all aspects of pricing; teaching and learning in both directions along the way. When the price is settled, a new order is written, again with 100 percent paid in full up front.

As our sales of the new artist’s design grows, our ability to buy more from him grows as well. This steady growth¬†enables us to experiment with other new designs and orders with him. He becomes more skilled not only as an artist, but also as a

Giving as explained by a mermaid sculpture.

If you teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime.

businessman. With lessons well-learned and well applied, the rise in his prosperity – though not meteoric – is substantial and sustainable. In this way, the gift of opportunity becomes a gift that can last a lifetime. Multiply that gift by the 30 artists we work with on a regular basis, and the impact on their families and their community becomes enormous. That success reinforces our continuing efforts to keep opportunity growing and expanding.

Giving is a very personal thing. Bringing happiness in any form to anyone at any time is a worthy gift whether it is meant for a moment, a day, or a lifetime. Giving opportunity is simply how we at It’s Cactus choose to give. When you buy from us, you support our artists, and that is a very great gift, indeed.

Contributed by Linda for It’s Cactus

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