Fair Start, the ground-breaking design brand, was started in September 2016 by asylum-seeking artists and artisans staying in Finland. The brand was born out of a simple discovery - there is a growing interest in imported artisan & ethnic jewelry, woodenware, carpets and decorative items. Whereas meanwhile, many skilled craftsmen and artists are idly waiting for an asylum decision in refugee centres across Europe. We didn’t see this as an obstacle but a motivating challenge to embark on.
We believe that most of the fear and bias against refugees and immigration stems from the fear of their dependence on others. According to our ideology everyone should be given a fair start – a chance to support oneself. By harnessing people's talent and skills, we can diminish mutual frustration, create valuable links with local communities and speed up integration.
In a digital age, setting up shop is no longer difficult and time-consuming. With what seems like a simple idea, a global online gift shop with meaningful and desirable products, refugee artisans and artists are able to turn their special skills into profit. In a way, Fair Start crossbreeds Fair Trade, Etsy and Ebay.
All Fair Start products are designed by refugee artists and artisans in collaboration with local design professionals. After creating a prototype, we will together find a way to turn it into a very simple production line in the reception centres and camps. Asylum seeker and refugee artisans will then make the products independently. Fair Start online store & events take care of the sales, with profit going directly to the makers.
All products are unique, as are their makers. They symbolize the interrupted lives, new beginnings, and hopeful journeys that the refugees experience on their way to their unknown destinations. Everybody deserves a fair start.