fair trade policy

environmental policy

Product Profiles

Producer Profiles


Motif, Bangladesh

Motif Ltd. is an ethical trading, private ltd. company led by British designer Jackie Corlett, who originally worked in Bangladesh for over 5 years with local craft makers and weavers through a local NGO. During this period personal views formed on the vital role of market-led ethical trading, resulting in Motif established in 1998.

The women making Motif products are marginalised for reasons more than poverty. We look to employ women experiencing discrimination in other ways too: some are former prostitutes; others have been affected by leprosy or other wasting diseases; some may have been divorced or abandoned - each situation scars women with a stigma that reduces their chance of decent employment. Employment at Motif daily provides a 'safe place' where they can share with other women and be earning at the same time. Many also take materials home, working when daily chores are put down. All enjoy the camaraderie together, we have a great family atmosphere here.

Motif designs and makes unique lifestyle fabrics and accessories currently for European markets, and we are actively looking to expand. Although all items are produced within a fair trade context, this is not a top selling point - quality of design/production, good prices, timely deliveries and strong relationships will guarantee continued sales and growth of our company. If a trade buyer needs to know our practises we proudly own our credentials as a fair trade supplier; if such 'detail' is not important - it remains a nice surprise for when it is! This stand is Motif's contribution to making fair trade the norm for international trading, rather than a unique selling point. We are in the process of being raised from affiliate to full membership status of WFTO.

The Motif crew at work, Dhaka, Bangladesh
The Motif crew at work, Dhaka

We do however encourage fair trade retailers to market themselves and the concept of ethical trading in radical and imaginative ways. They and their customers are the ones who will ultimately raise the bar for other traders to include fairly traded products in their ranges; products that give bottom line goals, give workers a good wage earned in a good environment, and give consumers the satisfaction of a very 'whole' purchase.

We had a discussion together, 'what would we say to a Ganesha customer if we were in the shop with him/her right now?' 'you can rely on our quality and good value.', 'tell your family and friends about our products', 'we're not ashamed of our need for your support - we make great things for you to use and wear, and we get more orders when you buy them.', 'we want to work and earn a living - not live on shameful handouts.', 'with good orders we earn a good wage and can also save something for our future.', 'with good orders we build up Motif, this is important for our future security - we're not in a charity.' - with thanks to Jharna, Shirin, Jyostna and Nasma.

The male staff who do all the external work of raw material purchase, local marketing, banking and export logistics are also on the lower rungs of society. Together we are building Motif into a sustainable, ethically trading business that will still be here 30 + years from now bringing great products into an increasingly ethically aware market and dignity, integrity and a 'safe place' to many more marginalised women.

Jackie Corlett, Motif.