We at FAIRLING have the mission to connect brands and retailers from all around the world and to make the world of wholesale a better and more sustainable place.
In our Brilliant Brands category on this blog we have asked unique brands from all around the world about their story and mission. We want to look behind the scenes of amazing brands and tell their story. Today, we have asked the inspiring Brand FOLKDAYS about their story.
FOLKDAYS is a Contemporary Fair-Trade Design company founded in 2013 by Lisa Jaspers in Berlin.
They offer fairly produced jewelry, accessories, home products as well as clothing from independent artisans, family businesses and local fair trade organizations from Africa, Asia and Latin America. With a focus on natural materials, all products are handmade and fair trade.
How did it all start? What’s the idea behind FOLKDAYS?
It all started with a crisis of our founder, who was no longer happy with her job in management consulting. The daily work routine and the way of working together in a classical work context were extremely frustrating and characterized by stress and a lack of joy. Questioning her own privileges led Lisa to her studies in political science and development economics, and many questions from that time have continued to haunt her. Out of this grew the decision to start a company that would function differently than the companies she had worked for up to that point and that would reshape the concept of development cooperation.
Who are the people behind the brand? Please tell us a bit about yourself.
Lisa Jaspers founded FOLKDAYS together with her friend Kimon Haars. Before founding FOLKDAYS in 2013, Lisa studied political science and development economics at the Free University of Berlin and the London School of Economics and afterwards worked for an international aid organization as well as for a consulting firm.
Over the past years, Lisa has become an active voice for social and political issues such as value and production chains and fair pay, while constantly questioning the structures of the system we all live in. She is the initiator of the #fairbylaw campaign, and co-author of two books: “Starting a Revolution” and “Unlearn Patriarchy”, which has just been published at Ullstein Verlag in September 2022.
What was your favorite highlight Or happiest moment in the last months?
Recently Lisa and her friend Naomi published a new book with many co-authored contributions. “Unlearn Partriarchy” deals comprehensively with the deeper structures of the system. The contributors to the anthology UNLEARN PATRIARCHY share their experiences and trace their own fatal patterns of thinking. They show how across all areas of society, from language and love to work, politics, education or identity, the patriarchal patterns of action can be broken and a better life for all becomes possible.
As a company, we are focused on constantly questioning our own position as a label with a message, as a founder, and as employees, and through a new understanding of the world, always finding a new understanding for our actions in the world.
Do you remember the first retailer ever that stocked your products? How did that come about?
We first started selling our products in other stores at the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis. The cooperation with a larger fair trade company has enabled us to import more products, which we can now also offer in selected concept stores. Because we were already established in the field of fair trade design with FOLKDAYS for a long time, we had many contacts to corresponding stores and fellow campaigners.
The first stores that offered our products (among others Wertvoll, Moeon and LOVECO) are in Berlin, the city where FOLKDAYS is based in. The proximity and personal contact to the stores helped us a lot in the early days to better assess the market.
Which are your most successful and important marketing channels at the moment – and why?
As for many brands, Instagram currently one of our most important marketing channels. The common focus on a fairer world has created a network that thrives on mutual support and inspiration. This is especially exemplified through our Instagram channel. Even though the platform has many aspects that should be questioned, we can use the positive sides and perhaps strengthen them as a result.
Where is the journey to go? What is your vision of FOLKDAYS in the long run?
Lisa is not only an entrepreneur, but also an activist. She is a regular guest at events and panels where she speaks about sustainable consumption, the structures of our system, and social entrepreneurship. The vision is multi-faceted: While we naturally want to grow as a brand with FOLKDAYS, we also see a certain responsibility in helping to shape the system we live in and strive for positive change on various levels.
What tips could and would you give to other young and upcoming brands?
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and connect with people who share the same mindset. We’re always stronger together!
Thank you, Luca, for the lovely interview! We wish you all the best for you, your team and FOLKDAYS!
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