Growing a Business By Giving Back

We’re highlighting small businesses from around the country as nominated by you, our readers. If your favorite small business is using Twitter to communicate with customers, let us know about it @fbsmallbiz with the hashtag #mysbc, and it may be featured as an upcoming Small Business of the Day.

Small Business of the Day: Dolma Fair Trade

Who: Melinda Haselton, 30, @DolmaFairTrade

What: Fair trade gifts made by artisans in India

When: 2006

How: When Haselton was 24, she was teaching at a school for underprivledged children in Dhramsala, India. Upon leaving the country she wanted to find a way to give money back to the school.

"I brought back a whole bunch of things with me from artisans and shopkeepers and sold them," she said. "I sent the money back to the school and got good reception from people. I decided to grow the business and got interested in fair trade."

She now supports empowerment centers and fair trade cooperatives in India, giving back 15% of profits to the school she formerly taught at.

Where: Burlington, Vt.

Biggest lesson learned from a customer: "Fair trade business in general is all about relationships," she said. "I think for the customer, it's really important to explain why it might take longer to produce items, or why they might be a bit more expensive. Communicating that to stores is so important, and really essential to the puzzle."

To view more Small Businesses of the Day, click our interactive map.