[dropcap]O[/dropcap]z Fair Trade is a registered charity that aims to fight poverty through fair trade. Most of our products come from Southeast Asia, and they are painstakingly handcrafted by talented local artisans, using traditional techniques. Every product we sell has a story behind it, and a struggling family behind it.
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Q & A with Qinnie Wang
What’s the story behind your business?
Oz Fair Trade began with a simple wish: to help the people I met who lived in extreme poverty by providing a platform for their beautiful products.
What was your first job?
My first full time job was a graduate position at the Department of Finance. Since then I have been working as an actuary for a Federal Department.
When you decided to start your own business, what was your big “why”?
A trip to Southeast Asia was supposed to be a holiday, but I observed extreme poverty and met talented and hard working people who couldn’t make ends meet. I couldn’t leave and forget about it. I thought I could help them by providing a platform for their beautiful products in Australia.
What have you had to give up?
My free time. Because I work full time as well, I work on the charity every day after work with a brief dinner break, and on most weekends. There were times when I had to push myself to make time for my families.
Your proudest achievement to date?
I am proud that I set up Oz Fair Trade single-handedly without any business or web building experience. I am extremely proud of the group of loyal customers that I have attracted.
What are some of the most exciting projects you’ve worked on?
I have brought a range of recycled bombshell products to Australia and they have been well received by the public. I’m planning to use crowdfunding to help my supplier to purchase an engraving machine, so that the messages of peace and hope can be engraved on the recycled bombshell products. This will also be great for the development of their skills and business.
What would you tell your younger self not to do?
I will tell my younger self not to worry constantly about not having a passion. Travel more and meet more people, then passion will find me.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
My mother came to Australia without any English skill when she was 28. She has always taught me to believe in myself.
What’s next for you and your business?
I have applied to the Fair Trader of Australia to be officially recognised. This process will take some time and I am fully committed to become a recognised Fair Trader.