If you have a question about Rosette, please read on! You’ll probably find the answer to your question here. If you still have questions once you’ve read through the Frequently Asked Questions, please contact us and we’ll be happy to help you.

1. Fair trade

Fair trade is a system where a third-party organization takes a look at how ethical, transparent and sustainable a business, artisan and/or farmer is. Fair trade requires that workers are paid a living wage, that no forced or child labour is happening, and that the environment is respected, among other things. Learn more in-depth about fair trade in our blog post: Fair trade vs free trade: what’s the difference?

Rosette recognizes third-party fair trade organizations that review products and companies for compliance. These organizations are Fairtrade International (FLO-Cert), Small Producers Symbol (SPP), Fair Trade Federation, Fair For Life & World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO). We chose these based on their standards and relevance to the Canadian market. There are also other labels out there that are focused primarily on only one arm of the fair trade movement (such as the environment), but because they’re less comprehensive than fair trade, we don’t include them on Rosette Fair Trade.

The short answer is yes. The longer answer is sometimes it’s actually more cost effective.

Fair trade products are premium products. You can’t compare a Camino bar to a bar from your dollar store—they are simply not the same quality. So you would need to compare apples and apples. Assuming we’re doing that, in the case of something consumable, like chocolate, it’s still pretty likely that the fair trade version will cost more. That’s because if you have to pay a living wage to your producer, which unfortunately usually doesn’t happen outside of fair trade, the ingredients will cost more. That cost has to be passed onto the consumer, but the value add is that the consumer knows that the product was made in ways that aren’t as damaging to people and planet. Nobody was hurt in the making of your chocolate bar, as it were.

When we talk about products that aren’t consumable, such as clothing, fair trade doesn’t actually tend to cost more. This is because fair trade clothing is made higher-quality than the overwhelming majority of fast fashion brands. It’s common to need to replace a cheap shirt several times in the lifetime of a fair trade shirt. A fair trade garment typically doesn’t cost several times the price of a fast fashion garment, so you actually save money in that way. Fair trade encourages folks to purchase less things overall, and purchase those things for their quality. This is better for our wallets and also better for the people and planet who provide our goods to us! And imagine the time and energy you save when you invest in high-quality garments that you won’t need to replace for a decade or more!

Usually, yes! Making a product with care and attention requires more money to make it, and so impoverished producers often produce lower-quality products. A great example of this is coffee, which is shade-grown under fair trade conditions, and this produces a better-tasting coffee. The shaded bushes don’t ripen the coffee cherries quite so quickly, so the beans have longer to take on a more complex flavour. Non-fair trade workers often work on a huge plantation that’s clear-cut and produces a lower-quality finished product.

There’s also the question of: what value-add does sustainability have? Is an organic, naturally-made, socially-conscious product better in and of itself? We think so. It’s worthwhile to pay a premium to producers so that they can make ethical business decisions that protect people and planet.

When farmers are paid less than the cost of production, terrible things start to happen. The trafficking of young children for their labour is a problem that has plagued the cocoa industry, for example. This happens because farmers can’t get enough money for their cocoa beans to make ends meet, so they literally enslave people to keep costs down. In the cotton industry, because of falling prices, some non-fair trade producers spray extremely toxic chemicals that poison local water supplies and wildlife. This is because they can’t cover the cost of production otherwise, and spraying herbicides and pesticides cuts down on labour. We point this out not because we’re judging, but because even the folks who do these things probably don’t feel great about them. Desperate people don’t make good decisions for people and planet.

So yeah! Fair trade means this stuff isn’t happening behind the scenes, which we think does inherently make the product better quality.

2. Rosette

The Rosette Network is owned by Lia Walsh, an individual fair trade enthusiast based out of Ottawa, Canada.

Rosette Fair Trade is an online marketplace that specializes in fair trade goods. We only accept fair trade products that are verified or certified by a recognized fair trade body (or products whose ingredients are fair trade). In that sense, you could see Rosette as almost an Etsy or Amazon of fair trade products, where everything is made ethically by fair trade artisans, farmers and small businesses. We began exactly because there was need for a centralized spot where consumers could buy all their favourite fair trade products from various brands in one spot.

While you can shop online 24/7, we are only available by phone and email during regular business hours, Monday to Friday, Eastern Time. This is also when orders are packed and shipped, so if you order on a weekend, please expect to wait until at least Monday before your order is sent. Your patience is appreciated, as we’re a tiny (one person!) operation.

Yes! All products on Rosette at least contain ingredients that are fair trade. When we talk about fair trade, what we mean is that the product or ingredient is certified or verified by one of our approved fair trade bodies. Those bodies are: Fairtrade International (FLO-Cert), Small Producers’ Symbol (SPP), Fair For Life, Fair Trade Federation, and World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO).

In rare cases, such as in the case of our medjool dates, we accept products that are from fair trade cooperatives, even if the fair trade symbol doesn’t appear on the product’s package, as long as we can trace their fair trade credentials independently. However, typically you will be able to see a fair trade symbol from one of these organizations on the product itself.

Well, that’d be just one. Rosette is truly a small business! Though Rosette may have the opportunity to grow in the coming months, Lia is currently a one-woman army. She does all the behind-the-scenes product sourcing, social media/marketing, as well as communicating with customers and packing/shipping your orders. Seems like a lot, right? Well, it kind of is! But that’s why your patience, understanding and support is always so appreciated! 🙂

3. Orders

We currently accept VISA, MasterCard & AMEX. If none of these work for you, please contact us directly and we’d be happy to work out an alternative with you. We sometimes process orders manually for customers who require email transfer as a method of payment, for example.

We do wholesale to a number of businesses and community groups across Canada. Please visit our wholesale website to read our policies and apply for a wholesale account.

If you realize right away that there was an error, please get in touch with us! We may be able to add, subtract or replace items, depending on whether the order has been fulfilled and shipped already. Simply email us and we’ll do what we can!

4. Shipping & pickup

Sometimes, yes! However, Rosette also partners with a number of wonderful small businesses, who also sell their fair trade wares on our platform. If you order from two different vendors in the same order, you may receive your order separately.

We know that our customers are concerned about their carbon footprint, because we are too. We decided to do some research on the topic and we were surprised to learn that it’s actually a common misconception that shipping has a large carbon footprint. Postal and parcel carriers are quite efficient because they almost never make single trips. Instead, they deliver many letters and parcels on a single route. It turns out that even bringing our car to the supermarket and back may have a larger carbon footprint than ordering the same items online and having them shipped. (If you do your groceries on a bicycle, of course, there’s no beating that!) Because we use Canada Post, the largest mail and parcel network in the country, it’s actually very efficient to send our parcels—especially since so many folks need to stay at home these days and delivery is the new normal.

If you select “local pickup” during checkout, we’ll wait until all your items are at our Ottawa office and you can pick them all up at once.

Some items, particularly large chocolate items, are difficult to ship in the summer because the heat makes the product melt en-route. Because we want your treats to get to you unmelted and high-quality, we don’t ship things unless they work with our insulated shipping materials. A chocolate tablet works, for example, but a 400-piece box of mini chocolates (about the size of a shoe box) does not.

If you need a larger chocolate item during the summer and you’re not able to pick up locally, please try to let us know before May so that we can arrange to get the item to you safely.

Right now, as we’re working from home, pickup is at Lia’s (the owner’s) home in downtown Ottawa. The nearest major intersection is Bronson and Laurier, but you’ll receive a message from Lia when you place your order. From there, we’ll find a pickup time that works for everyone involved.

That depends on a few factors.

Since Rosette works with Vendor Partners, sometimes items ordered for pickup still need to be sent to Ottawa first. This system allows other small, fair trade businesses earn extra income online during the stresses of COVID. These partners may be located in Montreal or BC, so travel time varies.

We consider our Vendor Partners to be an important part of our business model, but we also understand that delays can be inconvenient. If you’re ordering products that come from a Vendor Partner, they will need to arrive in Ottawa before you can pick them up, so that may take approximately a week. Please be sure to allow this time when you order.

Our Vendor Partners, in alphabetical order, are:

  • Dandarah
  • Didi Bahini
  • Etik & Co.
  • The Intersection Fair Trade

If you only order products from Rosette (ie. they don’t have a “partner” specified at the top of the page), we will contact you right away to organize a convenient time for you to pick up. Most of these customers pick up their order within 48 hours.

We work hard to get your parcel in the mail within 2 business days of your order.

Usual shipping is about 5-7 business days during most of the year and about 12-14 business days during the holiday months. (We give these numbers so that you’re not disappointed in case Canada Post is slow for some reason. But some of our customers report receiving their items sooner.)

Unfortunately, since we rely on shipping partners to get your parcels to you, we don’t have a lot of control over how quickly they will deliver your package. But if you’re really in need of it quickly, we do offer an express shipping option for an additional fee. We typically work with Canada Post because many couriers will not deliver to PO boxes and we have lots of rural customers.

Please note that shipping will vary based on your location. Rosette is based in Ottawa and the closer to either coast you get, the longer shipping takes. It may take 2-3 days if you’re in Toronto but 7 days if you’re in Victoria. We do our best, but there’s only so much control we have, so we always really appreciate your understanding!

Yes! All orders over $100 (before taxes) are eligible for free Canada-wide shipping. Orders below this amount are subject to a $15 flat-rate shipping fee, regardless of where in Canada you’re located. If you’re in Ottawa, please consider the free local pickup option if that’s a possibility for you! It helps all of us save on shipping fees.

In Ontario and Québec? Yes! Please simply select the express option when you check out.

Unfortunately, to most other areas of Canada, we have had unreliable experiences with express shipping through our providers. For this reason, we no longer offer this option outside of Ontario and Québec (where their track record has been much better). We don’t want our customers to pay a hefty shipping fee and then be disappointed when their parcel is late! We thank you for your understanding on this matter.

5. Returns, refunds & exchanges

We offer a return/exchange/refund policy that covers the first 30 days after you receive your order. (This is extended to 45 days for clothing items.) During that time, you can request a return or exchange if you’re unhappy with your purchase for any reason. The item(s) in question will be returned, exchanged or refunded according to which is most appropriate for the situation. (Depending on what the customer’s needs are and what’s practical for that particular product.)

Rosette prioritizes your needs and offers a 30-day return policy. If you need to return or exchange an item because it’s defective, it doesn’t fit you properly, or it just doesn’t meet your expectations quality-wise, please let us know within 30 days of receiving your product. We’ll be happy to coordinate a return, refund or exchange at our expense. In the case of clothing items, we extend the returns period to 45 days, as a comfortable fit is crucial. Please keep all packaging and tags and try to ensure the garment is in good condition until you’re sure you love it.

Please note that we don’t accept returns on intimate items such as undergarments. If you purchase intimate items that you’re dissatisfied with, please let us know and we can issue a refund. We typically won’t ask you to actually return the item in this case.

Because Rosette works with a number of partner vendors, please be sure to also check their in-house policies on returns, exchanges and refunds.

If you’re not satisfied with your purchase, Rosette will offer a return, refund or exchange. Which we initiate will depend on the customer’s needs and the situation.

If a return or exchange is most appropriate (ie. not a refund), the customer will need to send the original item back to us. In these cases, we provide the customer with a waybill so that they can mail the item to Rosette. If it’s an exchange, we will send a replacement item to the customer free of charge. Customers are not responsible for paying postage on returns and exchanges.