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The days when orders are coming in and work for artisans is plenty are wonderful! Yes, there are always problems with raw materials, transport, weather, cash flow, national holidays and more BUT people are employed. Wages are earned, self respect built, children educated and family security ensured. The main reason we're in Fair Trade business is being worked out and we're happy!

So, when the lean times come and production is simply ticking over, or maybe even stopped, it's a time of serious concern. It's a time we have to ask ourselves the big WHY?

This poem The Real Work, helps us see that in times like this we need to reflect before looking ahead.

The Real Work  Wendell...

OK here's a pretty obvious statement,
'It's the stuff we're good at that we like to do!', especially if it's for a cause that calls us like Fair Trade. BUT have you ever felt like giving up? Even when you know you still feel strongly about it – I know I have!


Yet these -  lines by farmer, poet and author Wendell Berry give us a curious response.

The Real Work  Wendell...

Likely you've heard this too, 'If running a business were easy everyone would be doing it.' Maybe even from your Grandma! It's not for the faint of heart – even when we're spurred on by much more than profit.

Maybe your career is taking you deeper and deeper into Fair Trade yet you're stuck, second-guessing this direction, what to do?

These lines by farmer, poet and author Wendell Berry give us a curious response.

The Real Work  Wendell Berry

It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have...

The Women in My Life

March 8, 2017

Today's the day I get to honor 2 wonderful Bangladeshi women at the heart of Motif with me. They pop up in posts from time to time but on this International Women's Day I want to blow their trumpets as I know for sure they won't!

Be sure and celebrate the women in your life today too - those who nurture, support and lead you in all manner of ways.


When the idea formed to start Motif in 1997 I knew it couldn't happen without Jharna as my partner. We had worked together since...

Part 2: Wisdom speaks ...

February 3, 2017

Remember that wild ride I spoke of a few weeks ago? Well, I just got off! Most of the time I'm in Dhaka it feels like I'm living 3 lives in one - and loving them all:

  • Heading up Motif and getting into all things new with products, suppliers and gearing up for the year ahead.
  • Enjoying time with good friends. Having known many since they were small it's a precious gift to still be together during preparations for higher studies, marriage and even parenthood.
  • My own life journey – always in God's hands, always a source of adventure yet not always what I'm looking for.

In that last...

Part 1: Contrasts & Colours

January 12, 2017

My first week back in Dhaka is always a wild ride! From feeling time stand still in traffic jams to careering through the blur of bazaar life ... yep it's a far cry from the quiet prairie life of central Illinois ... and I love it ;)

There's just so much to take in - the good, the bad and yes the ugly too. The humour amidst hardship; big hugs with big smiles even in the challenges. Honestly, our shared humanity is an amazing equalizer if we let it be. Here's a little peek of our shared life at Motif as we get together again:


Her husband left to marry another woman because he didn't want a child to raise. Shapnil,...

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