Discovering Handmade, Fair Trade Global Goods from Around the World
I founded the Winding Road on 4th of July 2011. After 25+ years working in corporate marketing, I decided to follow the winding road toward my passions of travel and exploring off the beaten-path exotic places. I love discovering and shopping for the unique and unusual, getting immersed in the sights, sounds and smells of bazaars, markets and souks around the world. I strive to support and get to know small suppliers that follow fair trade practices and utilize natural eco-friendly materials as much as possible.
You could say that I caught the travel bug at a young age, in grade school I had traveled to Spain, Morocco, Portugal, France, Mexico, Israel and a few other places with my family and I had the great opportunity to study in college overseas for two semesters and back pack around Europe and the Middle East for two summers. Visiting markets and bazaars in Cairo, Greece, Italy and many other places, I kept seeing things that I had never seen before, but as a poor college student with only a back pack to carry things in I could not buy much but made a lot of mental notes about what I would come back for some day.
Fast forward about 20 years, a few of trips to India, Nepal, China, Pakistan, I finally could buy these unique finds and bring them back for my friends who were full of encouragement. My first official shopping trip for the Winding Road was to Kathmandu in July 2011, I traveled with my mom, we met many talented and hardworking artisans. I conducted a virtual shopping trip inviting about 150 friends to come along for the ride on my Facebook page to provide their feedback on goods I was considering while on the road. I brought back handwoven cashmere shawls and blankets, and other hand-made fair trade goods and took them to the San Francisco Gift Fair and sold them into several major museums, I was in business and I have not looked back since! I have been building a following at local markets in the Chicago area, where I am always happy when I hear customers say Wow, I have never seen anything like this before! Much to my surprise, some digging into my roots over the past year lead to a family history of merchants in Venice in the 1500’s and further back, the Silk Road in Kazakstan! I am not surprised that this is in my DNA!
We are excited to have just launched a new website with online shopping for a few of our lines.
I hope you will enjoy our goods as much as I enjoyed shopping for them! Please feel free to drop me a line.
Chicago Fair Trade is the largest fair trade coalition in the US. CFT’s mission is to raise awareness and build support for fair trade and its principles of environmental sustainability, ethical production, fair wages, and safe working conditions.