Aboriginal people don’t have a history of manufacturing, except to make individual artifacts that were useful in daily life or ceremony. These items are time consuming to make and only appeal to a small number of people. Better World Arts brings together the traditional crafts remote traditional communities and Aboriginal art, bringing benefits to all. The artists are paid a royalty and in some of our agreements art centres also receive a profit share. The artisans are paid by the piece for the work they produce. Artisans set the price for their work, not us. Aboriginal people welcome this opportunity to engage with the mainstream economy in culturally appropriate ways. The Cross-Cultural Projects leverage the cultural strengths of each community involved.
Aboriginal people are interested in their own cultural activities, not that of other ethnic groups. Aboriginal people do not come from a manufacturing tradition, but they do come from a story telling artistic tradition. We are also very interested in Intellectual Property (IP) and the handicrafts we work with are the IP of the communities and geographic locations they come from.
Artists get royalties when their designs are used. We pay generous royalties at the beginning of each month, and do not know of any other company that pays more than us. The income stream that royalties provide to artists is significant and sustained. Artists can receive an income over many years, value adding to the original painting. It is normal for a design used to pay out many times the cash received for the original painting. When an artist passes away the royalties are then paid to next of kin which usually consists of a group of people.
Aboriginal communities from remote Australia have limited opportunities to engage in the mainstream economy in culturally appropriate ways. English is usually their 2nd or 3rd language, or not spoken at all. Aboriginal communities suffer a high level of disadvantage. Better World Arts has made payments directly to artists and art centres that now totals in the millions of dollars. This money goes directly into artists’ pockets. Better World Arts continues to build upon the skills Aboriginal people have and turn these into cash that is regular and sustained.
Handicraft communities benefit economically and culturally. Again, these villages are usually remote and opportunities to earn cash are limited. Artisans are employed in rural tasks that are seasonal and vulnerable to good and bad weather cycles, pests and other problems that all farmers face. A strong handicraft industry alleviates the peaks and troughs in work load and cash returns, and provides income insurance for families. The handicrafts themselves are unique to particular regions.
Better World Arts is an endorsed member of the Fair Trade Association of Australia and New Zealand. It is possible to be a member without any accreditation process, but endorsed members like ourselves have been through an accreditation process that is transparent and assures the FTAANZ that we are following the 10 principals of Fair Trade. Many of our suppliers are also endorsed by other Fair Trade bodies (there is a world wide network). We do not ask our suppliers to get endorsement if they do not have it because it is an expensive process. None of our suppliers are unfair traders, and the fair trade idea can be followed by any organization.
Many of the artisanal groups with are unionized and determine standardized pricing and practices and influence business outcomes through this process. In other places they are part of a fair trade certified organsiation. One way or another, in each individual location, artisans are empowered to determine their working conditions and returns. There are no gender differences either. The same work receives the same payment regardless of gender.
No, child labour is not involved in any of our projects. Many children are advantaged in the artisanal communities, not only by the income received, but because the handicrafts often allow their parents to work from homes where child care is not needed. We don’t think child care is bad, but having family around all the time strengthens communities and creates a fulfilling lifestyle, plus it is a significant expense saved.
We have a 14 day return policy. You don’t need a reason, if you want to return to us just let us know within 14 days. You can try your purchase in your own home and the only risk to you is return postage if it doesn’t match or fit.
We have 3 retail outlets located in Port Adelaide, Adelaide and Norwood . Our products can also be found in Oxfam shops and in many galleries and museums across Australia, and internationally. Our online shop and our own retail outlets have the most extensive range of goods.
We offer paintings stretched on a frame or un-stretched. If a painting has to travel and is a little too large to pack framed we suggest buying un-stretched and we will send the painting rolled in a tube. We can send the same bars the painting was removed from which will make re-stretching easier once the painting is received. Any good picture framer can re-stretch a painting and it is relatively inexpensive.
Smaller parcels within Australia only cost $9.90. We use Australia Post standard service unless asked to do otherwise. The website makes an intelligent estimation of the postage, if there is a large variation in our favor we will process a refund. This is the exception rather than the norm.