The purpose of a Trading Post is to bring fair trade items into an already established pattern in people’s lives to make everyday fair trade purchasing even easier. We have Trading Posts in bookstores, cafes and churches across the country.

Sell Fair Trade goods in your store, cafe or church. Ready to get started?

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At Manchester Christian Church, we are all about providing the under-resourced with a hand up versus a hand out. People are going to buy gifts, cards, food and clothing so the idea that we can be intentional with our buying fits right into what we do in the area of global outreach. Once we made the decision to partner with Trade As One and open a Trading Post, we started to see people engage their hearts during the simple act of purchasing a gift by connecting the items to the personal stories.

– Lisa Mazur, Manchester Christian Church

Trading Post Overview

After reviewing the key details about our Trading Post program, please feel free to contact us with additional questions or to start your Trading Post.

  1. What is a Trading Post?
  2. Who Can Start a Trading Post?
  3. How much does it cost to get started?
  4. Logistical Details
  5. Risk Free Guarantee
  6. Further FAQs

1. What is a Trading Post?

A Trading Post is an on-going place within your church where people can regularly purchase Fair Trade goods. This allows individuals to redirect their spending to Fair Trade purchasing where they can be part of breaking cycles of poverty and abuse around the globe. As individuals, we vote with our dollars so making items easily accessible to congregation members or store customers is a way you can support their desire to use their dollars ethically.

Practically speaking, a Trading Post can be anything from a table that gets set up in the back of your church once a month to a special Fair Trade section of your church bookstore. The program is incredibly flexible to work in a variety of contexts.

2. Who Can Start a Trading Post?

Anyone who would like to establish a regular place for individuals to purchase Fair Trade goods may start a Trading Post. It is common for churches who partner with us on an event to use the Trading Post as a next step to support the desire of their members to purchase Fair Trade goods. Often, a church staff member will catch a vision for how easily a congregation can change lives with their everyday purchasing and will either begin a Trading Post or will work with the church bookstore to begin purchasing Fair Trade goods. We also have local bookstores who carry our products, so this certainly isn’t limited to the church context.

3. How much does it cost to get started?

You can start a Trading post with an opening order of $500 (for $588 worth of goods) by purchasing one of our special Starter Kits. You are also welcome to select any items on our website and there is not a per sku minimum quantity which allows you to experiment to find best selling items at your church without having to order several of one item at a time. If you prefer to select your items on your first order, contact us to set up an account first. We know that the amount of choices can be overwhelming, so we would be more than happy to work with you, suggest best sellers, etc., to help you get started.

You will receive free shipping and a 15% discount off the retail price on non-food items and a 10% discount on food items on your future orders of $500 or more. This discount allows for you to have money to reinvest into additional merchandise or to cover your costs in starting/merchandising your Trading Post—that part is up to you!

As you re-order products, if your order falls below $588 retail value/$500 with your discount, you will be charged for the shipping cost, so we encourage you to maximize your orders.

Contact us if you have any questions!

4. Logistical Details

As you begin your Trading Post, you will need to determine the following:

Space: If the church doesn’t have a bookstore/cafe where the items would logically be sold, you will need to determine a space to set up your Trading Post as well as a place to store the products if the space doesn’t allow for a full-time display.

Frequency: You will want to determine how often the Trading Post will be open for sales. This may be contingent on your staff/volunteer support, facility restrictions or the support of the ministry who leads the Trading Post effort. We know of Trading Posts who are open one Sunday a month, during midweek classes, every Sunday and during regular bookstore/cafe hours.

Payment Methods: Once you purchase the products from Trade as One, they are yours to sell, so you can collect payment in whatever way the church can administratively support. If you are setting up a table on a less frequent basis, chances are that you will be limited to accepting cash and checks.

Staffing: The amount of people you will need to support your Trading Post will depend on the frequency and size of your Trading Post. We recommend having someone lead the ordering/inventory managements tasks so you have consistency in your relationship with Trade as One and then recruit volunteers from within the church to help staff the Trading Post. This is a great way to get students involved as well!

5. Risk Free Guarantee

We know that you are concerned with stewarding your resources well and we want to help you reduce your risk. We will offer an exchange on items you wish to return within 60 days of purchase on your first two orders so you can swap slow selling items for your best sellers. It may take awhile for you to establish the product mix that people in your church are most interested in purchasing at your Trading Post and we want to help mitigate the risk for you. We are not able to accept returns on consumable items (food or bodycare items) due to health safety guidelines.(Fine Print: Obviously, the items have to be in sellable condition! If an item breaks, we will handle that separately.)

6. Further FAQs

Q: How do I contact the Trading Post representative at Trade as One?
A: Contact Cath George via the info on our contact page.

Q: What is opening order amount?
A: $500

Q: Do we receive a discount on our order?
A: Yes, Trading Posts receive a 15% discount off the retail value of each non-consumable product, and a 10% discount off consumable products.

Q: What is the shipping cost?
A: Your orders of $350 or more receive free ground shipping. Should your order value go below $350, you will be charged the regular ground shipping charge.

Q: What is the turnaround time from when I place my order?
A: Please allow 7 business days for processing your order within our warehouse plus the in transit time. Should you have a tighter deadline, simply contact us and we will let you know the feasibility of a faster turnaround.

Q: Where is your warehouse located?
A: Trade as One’s warehouse is located in Chicago, IL, and your orders will be shipped from there. You can view typical in transit times at ups.com (use zip code 60163).

Q: What if I need to expedite shipping?
A: You are welcome to pay the difference between the free ground shipping and a faster shipping service (3-day select, 2-day or overnight). Contact us for information.

Q: What is your return policy?
A: We do not accept returns unless you receive an item that is damaged. In this case, let us know immediately. However, we are committed to mitigating your risk as you work to spread the word about Fair Trade to your faith community or cafe patrons. So, we do offer exchanges on items you want to return within 60 days of purchase on your first two orders with us.

Q: What do you recommend we purchase for our opening order?
A: Contact us and we will help you choose items for your first order based on what you tell us about your context, the goals of the Trading Post, and sales data on our products.

Q: What payment methods do you accept?
A: We prefer you purchase your items online with a credit card (Visa, MC, Discover, Amex). If your church or store is only able to pay with check, contact us to have your account set up correctly.

Q: I have ordered from Trade as One before, do I use the same account for my Trading Post Order?
A: No, you will need a special Trading Post account that has the details of your discounting and shipping offer, so please contact us to get your account started.

Q: My church is supportive of me starting a Trading Post at my church but cannot fund it. Can I purchase items as an individual and still be considered a Trading Post?
A: Of course! If you, your small group, youth group or ministry wants to fund the start of a Trading Post, we will fully support you in your efforts.