There’s no doubt that the Pocket Disc and the family that created it are focused on fun. Let’s be honest, it takes a special kind of family to see your third-grader’s wonky crochet project, think “hey, that would make a really cool product,” and then actually build a company around it. But it takes an exceptional family to do all of that while staying true to fair trade values.
It’s easy to overlook the meaningful impact that a lighthearted product like the Pocket Disc can actually have on people’s well being. But this company proves that fun doesn't equal frivolous!
First, there is the most direct route to a positive impact – use of the product itself. The creators of the Pocket Disc describe it, and all of the hand-crafted games they offer, as “put your phone down fun.” Whether you’re a parent, a grandparent, or just a person with a smartphone – this line probably speaks to you. We all at the very least recognize the value of, if not actively seek out, ways to disconnect from our screens and reconnect with humans. The value of active fun just can't be denied.
But then there is the less obvious way Pocket Disc provides a meaningful impact – the company's fair trade relationship with Mayan artisans in Guatemala. As the founders searched for ways to manufacture the Pocket Disc, they learned that they could create their product – which, it turns out, can truly only be made by hand – in a way that aligned with their personal values of positively impacting the world around them. They partner with Mayan artisans in Guatemala to handcraft each of their products.
Over the past decade, they’ve employed over 600 Mayan artisans in the villages surrounding Lake Atitlan. By providing a fair wage and enabling these artisans to work from home while setting their own hours, there are additional benefits beyond providing consistent work. They no longer have to spend large portions of their day commuting into larger cities or towns for work. Being paid fair wages and avoiding long commutes also means that, for many families, children are able to stay in school longer because the additional wages from a child working are no longer a necessity.
Pocket Disc is a member of the Fair Trade Federation, an organization of businesses who practice 360-degree fair trade – meaning each and every business decision is made with the well-being of artisans and farmers in mind. This represents a high bar of fair trade, and the process to become a member is not a snap. Pocket Disc earned their membership after roughly two years of proving that they met fair trade requirements.
So yes, the Pocket Disc and the folks that create it are full of fun – just take a look at their lighthearted list of alternative uses for the Pocket Disc. But they are serious about doing good, and the Cairn Crew is proud to have had the chance to support their mission by featuring Pocket Disc Sport in a recent Monthly Collection.
And the colorful design that the third grader, now an adult, created decades ago lives on as a Pocket Disc with her namesake – Savanna. Brilliant.