Aldea and I Engage In Fair Trade

2009 November 25
Aldea Scarves

Aldea Scarves

Weeks ago I had pizza with the Aldea Artisans crew, a really cool Austin start-up that markets fair trade, microloan-enabled Guatemalan scarves in the US.  They wanted to have pizza with me and learn some marketing and social media tips, and I wanted to learn about Acton, an entrepreneurial MBA program that the founders attended.

I met Cheyenne, an Aldea co-founder and Acton grad at an Acton information session.  A bunch of prospective students like myself were awkwardly standing around trying to impress faculty and alumni like Cheyenne.  We found ourselves in one of those artificial conversation circles where people go around saying what they “do”.  Someone was an IT consultant, someone else was in sales.  Then it was my turn.

In America, what you “do” implies what you get paid the most for or what you do for a job during the week, whether that’s how you define yourself or not.  So you might love boats or bikes or making tiramisu, but if you’re in commercial real estate, then that’s what your expected to offer up as what you “do”.  I’m unemployed and needless to say, “nothing” or “I’m unemployed” is not a real awe-inspiring answer.  So I said “I eat a lot of pizza”.  They gave me quizzical looks, I told my story, and no one wanted to hear from Mr. IT Consultant anymore.  Maybe Cheyenne asked him to pizza too, but I doubt it.

We met up on the 25th anniversary of Amy’s Ice Cream, when they were giving away free scoops from 2-6pm.  I knew we wouldn’t have time to get some after our 5pm dinner date, and since no one can accuse me of not taking advantage of free food, I suggested that we get ice cream first.  Life is uncertain, right?

So we get ice cream, walk back to Homeslice and find a table.  Everyone else had finished theirs, but I was so busy answering questions that I still had half mine left (I talk a lot, could you tell?).  As we walked in, I tried to act all sneaky and hide it but I was pretty unsuccessful.  The waitstaff sorta ribbed me about it, but they managed to hide their tears of disappointment pretty well.

The crew consisted of Cheyenne, fellow Acton grad Matt and three interns.  I told them that my one free large pizza wouldn’t go too far with six people.  I usually require free beer for my services (pizza on me, beer on you), but I said I would waive the beer and my right to pizza if they’d order me an eggplant sub, which I ironically don’t get for free and therefore never eat.  They agreed and got some pizza, I don’t even remember what toppings they ordered as I was busy devouring my amazing eggplant sub.  It’s too bad free subs aren’t a part of my deal, they’re amazing.  Fresh bread, gooey mozzarella, tons of sauce and gobs of greatness.o win this year’s title.

They picked my brain about marketing, twitter, social media and facebook, and after the interns took off, I asked Matt and Cheyenne about Acton.  It seemed a fair trade (ha! get it?).

Matt decided that he was going to challenge me in the upcoming Hands on an Eggplant Sub contest.  When he went from new friend to newer opponent, I glared at him and told him how difficult the competition would be.  He didn’t flinch.

So after all of the tips I provided and the thousands of dozen-ish clicks this blog post will send Aldea’s way, he will repay me by trying to take me down.  I hope/think that he’ll too busy running his transcontinental corporate empire to devote the 50 or so hours it may take to win.

So dear readers, if you’re looking for a way to avoid the Black Friday ridiculousness, and want to purchase a beautiful handicraft that enriches the community of artisans who produced it with love, buy a scarf from Aldea.  Unless Matt competes against me in the HOES contest, in which case buy a sweatshop-tacular scarf made by mistreated Chinese migrants at Walmart for like $7.31, and throw the change at Matt as he cowers beside me on the sub.

Note: my apologies for the delay in posting and the lack of pizza photo, I forgot my memory card and after fruitless attempts at finding the right cord to get the photos off my camera’s hard drive, I just gave up.

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