Frequently Asked Questions
How can I start importing products from AAC member organizations?
There are two ways: Either you can contact the member organization yourself and arrange for some of their products to be exported to your country or you can contact AAC, who will act as a ‘fair broker’ in your dealings with one or more AAC member organizations.
What kind of contract is there to guarantee an order?
If you are placing an order using AAC’s export consolidation services, we will provide you with a services agreement, signed by both parties, and acting as a contract. If you are placing an order directly with one of our member organizations, they will provide you with a set of terms & conditions and a contract can be developed separately at your request.
How quickly can AAC members complete an order?
Many of the members make products to order and, therefore, do not maintain a stock of their merchandise. This means that each order is made to your specifications. If you are ordering hand woven silk products, expect a realistic time frame for the silk to be woven and then crafted into your product. Generally, three months from order date to arrival date is the maximum time frame.
Will AAC give my business exclusive rights in my country?
No. Our aim is to help our member organizations generate income for their artisans and limiting the supply of their products in a specific country would not be helpful. There may be exceptions, depending on the quantity of orders or how many customers are already in a particular country. The final decision will rest with the member organization you are ordering from.
Can I design my own products?
Yes. Most AAC members are happy to work with you to come up with specific designs for your products. Alternatively, you may want to work with an AAC designer to come up with a unique design that meets your requirements. In either case, there will be a cost associated with new product development.
Are the prices guaranteed?
AAC members are responsible for setting their own prices, which are normally reviewed every six months (based on raw materials and labor) and adjusted accordingly. It is very rare that the members need to increase prices between these assessments. If adjustments are necessary, however, the member will inform you of any changes in order to gain your approval before the order goes into production.
Are discounts available for large orders?
Discounts may be available for large orders, depending on the member’s individual policy. But members cannot generally lower the costs of products, as their objective is to provide a fair and viable income for their artisans. All profit margins are kept to a minimum, so that the revenues go back to those making the products.
Is there a minimum order?
The majority of AAC members have a minimum order requirement, partly due to the expense of shipping small quantities abroad. However, if you are having a sample produced with a member organization this does not usually require a minimum order. Please check with either AAC or the member organization to find out more.
Is the quality of the products guaranteed?
All products are checked by the relevant AAC member organization throughout the production process in order to meet specified standards. If AAC is involved in consigning the order, the products will also have a final quality control check at AAC before being packed and shipped.
What if there is damage to the products while in transit?
AAC recommends that you purchase insurance from the freight company when arranging your order. This way, you can submit a claim to cover any damages. It is important that you check the products before removing your order from the warehouse to ensure that, if any of the products have suffered damage in transit, this can be documented by the warehouse.
Have the products been certified with a Fair Trade label?
Although AAC is a Fair Trade association, with permission to use the Fair Trade label provided by the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO), the majority of AAC members cannot afford official Fair Trade status and hence do not have permission to use the label. In addition, there is currently no internationally-recognized label specifically for Fair Trade handicrafts (in the same way that there is for food products). If you would like to find out more about the conditions in which products are made, please contact either AAC or the member organization directly and ask them about their Fair Trade practices.