Our Story...
artisan group
Costello International links indigenous artisans in the Sierra Madre Mountains of southern Mexico with retailers around the globe, creating a market for their world-famous folk art. Established in 1972, Costello International is the 16th most senior member of the North American Fair Trade Federation. "Fair Trade" provides a sustainable economy while preserving cultural identity, fighting exploitation, and the abuses of crime, corruption, and marginalization.
Serving more than 200 artisan families and 1000 + wholesale customers, we create loyal and long-term relationships. Consult our "Retailer Benefits Program" and read the testimonials of retailers and artisans real-life experiences with our company to see the level of support and sacrifice we make to built these partnerships.
Over the last 50 years, we have aided thousands of talented artisans and have funded more than 60,000 crafting projects. Our mission is to imbue struggling artisans with the confidence, pride, and inspiration they seek as protectors of  their cultural heritage. 

What is Fair Trade?

Fair Trade is a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect, that seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers. Fair Trade organizations (backed by consumers) are engaged actively in supporting producers, raising awareness, and in campaigning for changes in the rules and practice of conventional international trade. Fair Trade's strategic intent is:

          Deliberately to work with marginalized producers and workers in order to help them move            from a position of vulnerability to security and economic self-sufficiency to actively play a            wider role in the global arena to achieve greater equity in international trade. 

Who benefits from Fair Trade?

Fair Trade provides tangible benefits for small-scale farmers, artisans, businesses, consumers and the environment.

1. Small scale farmers and artisans: 
  • Artisans and producers are given premium prices for their products
  • Empowering producers by providing direct relationships with businesses
  • Fair wages and safe working conditions
  • Improved facilities for the enhancement of products
2. Businesses: 
  • The building of future securities
  • "Direct trade" benefits
  • Stable prices; even when global market prices change
  • Credible ways to ensure their trade has a positive impact
  • Connecting consumers with other cultures
  • Repeat and conscious customers
3. Consumers:
  • Buying in line with their principles; directly affecting people's lives
  • Empowering them to participate in addressing trade inequality and support businesses that practice sustainability
  • The introduction of other cultures
4. Environment: 
  • Protection of natural resources through sustainable production practices
  • Intentionally not using products with GMO's (Genetically Modified Organisms)
  • The promotion of sustainable production practices
Our Founders Story...

My name is Tom Costello, the founder of Costello International. I began work with artisans living outside the city of Taxco in Mexico in 1972. Costello International has always been a voice for economic justice in rural Mexico. We  promote traditional jewelry crafting. This area is famed for the production of gold, sterling, and folk-art jewelry.  These farming families create crafts part time. Their primary economic pursuits are agriculture and animal husbandry.  Indigenous communities in southern Mexico face increasingly adverse political and economic conditions. Economic insecurity, crime, and political corruption make a traditional way of life an uphill struggle. Rural absenteeism is estimated as high as seventy five percent.  For those artisans who work with us, our relationship has been a major factor in their ability to continue village life. We believe the bonds we have created with these families are the true measure of our work. 
State health authorities admit to being able to service only one-third of the geographical area of their jurisdiction. Health officials never visit the other two-thirds of the state.  The state budget for health care services for the remaining population they do serve, is less than one US dollar annually per person. Partnering with DHL, one of our accomplishments has been the acquisition and delivery of medical equipment used in ophthalmic analysis, surgery, and treatment. The recipient is the Taxco Adolfo Prieto Hospital for the Poor, where artisan families receive medical care. Please accept my gratitude for learning more about the work we do at Costello International. We hope you too will become a member of our greater family. 
"Somos sus servidores" - "We are your servants"
Contact Us

We like hearing from you and your feedback is important to us. Send us your questions, comments, and suggestions or call to say, "Hello."

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1(800) 463-9422  

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2066 Henderson Rd Suite 2 01  
Columbus, OH 43220

Learn More About Fair Trade & The Fair Trade Federation

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