World Peaces is a project dedicated to creativity and transformation. The name World Peaces comes from the idea that making change is a process of working together - collaboration across, between and among cultures. Each product comes from a collaborative design process - including artists, crafters, makers, international designers, retailers, and consumers around the world. Being open and inclusive makes our process personal, complicated and transformative.
I, Connie De Jong, started World Peaces as a wholesale company while working for Global Gallery, a non-profit Fair Trade retailer and educational organization. I worked for Global Gallery for 20 years, opening various retail locations for the sale of Fair Trade handcrafts and coffee, and looking for the ways to open the market for these goods in Central Ohio. I also looked to deepen consumers' understanding of and commitment to Fair Trade. I worked with students, from young children to university and graduate students, to address their desires to connect with ethical consumption choices and to expose them to positive alternatives that required deep critical thinking and action.
From the time I started working for Global Gallery, I felt that the handcrafts available were focused on specific countries in Latin America and Asia, and that products from Africa were less available. I studied the reasons for this imbalance. This study led me to focus on countries, both in Latin American and in Africa, that are difficult to work in, have barriers in terms of geography and logistics, or are otherwise overlooked. This process has shaped the company and the products, and continues to provide powerful lessons in development as we grow, together with the small businesses of producers in these places.
My design perspective is truly one of inclusion of multiple perspectives. I strive to help products surface from recycled and natural materials that are high quality, contemporary, and speak to our interwoven identities. I benefit from the expertise of many professional designers, the depth of handcrafting skills of the artists, the history and traditions of the making context, and the wide exposure to many cultures I have experienced through travel and connection with many people around the globe. I feel that our journey begins anew each day and that, as a company, we have just begun to realize our potential. Stay connected with us through the products you find in our retail partners' stores, websites and catalogs, through our blogs and social media, and through our travel opportunities. You are truly welcome as a traveler on our journey.