Q: Are These real people, or fictional?
A: These are real people who produce the many products we see in our stores. Amanda Eicher conducted extensive first-hand research in Guatemala and El Salvador living in the town of Colima part time over the past 3 years. Some of the packaging (Rosa, Yaneth) features workers she met while in Central America. Other images come from our research network – the International Labor Rights Fund, CISPES, sweatshop workers’ rights groups, fair trade organizations, and fair trade businesses. Additionally, many multi-national corporations have provenance information available on their websites. Every story comes from a photograph and first-hand reporting by an international worker or fair trade organization.
Q: Why put the workers on the products?
A: Mass production, modern advertising, and the global economy try to separate associations between products and labor. Rather than attempting to deal with all the complexity of who makes what we buy and how, a product is easier to sell if it seems to have just appeared on the shelf. This project reconnects products and labor.
Q: Is putting People Products’ improved packaging in stores legal?
A: To the best of our knowledge, legal research, and personal interviews with attorneys, there is no law against (what amounts to) leaving a piece of paper in a store. Our additions cause no damage to existing products and can be easily removed if neccessary. They can even be places along side products rather than over them, if that makes you feel more comfortable!
Q: What if I get caught?
A: In the unlikely event that you are confronted in a store, apologize for any inconvenience, offer to remove the improved packaging, and move on to the next store.
Q: Why are the designs hand drawn and hand made?
A: In a world of mass-produced packaging, one thing that still stands out from the rest is an authentic, hand made label or package. People Products’ improved packages show, both on the shelf and at home, who it is that makes the things we consume – people!
Q: Can I submit my own packaging, a potential worker to feature, photos, or video?
A:Yes, please. We are open to your contributions to the project. If you document your placement of the improved packaging with photos, please upload them to flickr.com and tag them peopleproducts123. If you have ideas for subjects, please contact us though our online contact form. If you want to do more, click on ‘What can I do?’ on the upper right hand side of this page.