TresBello: The Fair Trade Artisan Shop on Wheels

If you were at our last show in June, it was hard to miss the big truck parked inside Heritage Court that was overflowing with beautiful fair trade products. TresBello is the Fair Trade Artisan Shop on wheels that sells a variety of global and local products, mainly apparel and accessories. TresBello makes house calls through their ‘Host a Party‘ model, making it easy for a group of friends to shop from a global selection.  You can also find the truck at various events throughout the year (including The Fair Trade Show)! Check the calendar to see where they will be next! 

At TresBello you can find products from around the world including countries like India, Vietnam, Ecuador, Ghana, Kenya and Burma. These products aim to empower marginalized groups, often women, children and people living with disabilities.


In the photo above you can see Janet Virre, Founder of TresBello, visiting a few of the artisans she sources her products from in Carabeula, Ecuador. We asked Janet to tell us a bit more about her business.

What was the inspiration that made you get into this business?

I have always loved the allure of the exotic, foreign lands, and people around the world.  When travelling, markets are always my favourite thing to visit. I love beautiful things made by the beautiful people of the world.  I like to create connections between my customers and these people through their purchases to gain a better understanding of the world.


How do you think your business impacts the world?

My impact is through connection.  Connecting our world with that of the artisans.  The love that goes into these products continues when you wear it, look at it, admire it.


How do you see the future of social entrepreneurship and how do you see citizens playing a role in social change?

This is so important if we are going to have a peaceful planet.  Social entrepreneurship plays such a vital role in connecting the world. Social change will only happen when all citizens embrace the new reality.



What have you found to be the biggest challenges to running a social enterprise and how have you overcome them?

My biggest challenge is creating a sustainable business model so that I can keep going and grow.  It is important that social entrepreneurship survives but it has to provide a living and allow us to model the life we want to live in order to support other initiatives.


Alonso, an artisan of Otavalo, Ecuador
A young girl in Burma with Women’s Education for Advancement and Empowerment (WEAVE)

Join TresBello and other like-minded businesses at the next Fair Trade Show – May 13&14, 2017!

The Young Social Entrepreneur Contest is Open for Video Submissions!

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We have officially launched our first Young Social Entrepreneur Contest! This is an exciting time for us at The Fair Trade Show, because by the end of the contest, one inspirational young individual and their social business will be joining us with a free booth at the May 2017 Fair Trade Show.

All of the contest details can be found on the main contest page. This post is just to share a bit of the history and purpose behind the YSE Contest.

History of YSE

At our previous show in June 2016, we invited the social entrepreneur, Toby Kriwiel, Founder of Matano, to join us at the show for no cost. Toby was launching a KickStarter campaign to get his Fairtrade sports apparel on to the market and was looking for platforms to share his brand with people. After our Founder Rafik Riad talked with Toby about his business, he knew he wanted to support him. One generous act sowed the seeds for what is now known as the Young Social Entrepreneur Contest.

Toby , Founder of Matano
Toby Kriwiel, YSE of 2016


That is where the idea for this contest was born. By giving an emerging, youth-led social business the opportunity to exhibit at a major consumer show, we aim to encourage more youth leaders to take action. The creativity, innovation and thoughtfulness of today’s youth is inspiring – and contagious!

Help us spread the social innovation bug and tell your network about this opportunity!

Engaging the Public

We are also excited for round two: the voting round. Once we have chosen our top social entrepreneurs, their videos will be shared with the public who will be asked to vote for their favourite. Voting opens in January, so stay tuned!

Interested? Create your video and fill out the application!

“Young people around the world were crucial in designing the Sustainable Development Goals, the targets for global development agreed by all countries last year. The goals focus on your priority issues: quality education; empowering women and girls; ensuring decent work for all.

All countries have pledged to bring this agenda to life. Young people must lead the way.”

– Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the UN speaking to youth in Jordan

News: We have joined CSI!

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It’s been a historic week for The Fair Trade Show! We have officially joined the Centre for Social Innovation community and can’t help but celebrate! We are now planning the next show from 215 Spadina Ave.

If you haven’t heard of CSI yet, it’s time. With four locations in Toronto, CSI is the ultimate co-working space for creative individuals and organizations who are solving social, environmental and economic issues with their ideas. Check out to see what we mean!

There are too many amazing CSI members to list them all, but these organizations will give you an idea of some the initiatives that are coming out of CSI:

Ontario Council for International Cooperation (OCIC) – is a community of Ontario-based non-profits, institutions and individuals working globally for social justice. They also host Development Drinks once a month!
ZooShare – is developing North America’s 1st zoo-based biogas plant that will recycle manure from the Toronto Zoo and local food waste into renewable power for the Ontario grid! Plus, they were at our June 2016 show!
Cuso International – works with skilled volunteers and partners around the world to reduce poverty and empower people. They were also with us this past June at Heritage Court.
Toronto Tool Library – are leaders of Toronto’s sharing economy, all while saving you from clutter at home and clutter in the landfills. You don’t need to buy when you can rent tools for those occasional DIY projects! – is fighting for the environment through grassroots mobilization. Down to keep fossil fuels in the ground and build a low-carbon economy? Check them out!
Jayu – is a human rights film festival and mobilizer of the arts to affect change in our communities. Originally focused on North Korean films, Jayu has now expanded to open minds and tell stories from all over the globe.

This video does a great job of showing off both the social impact and the good vibes of CSI: