It’s Never Just a Website Redesign: Transforming Business Through Design

At Cooper’s UX Boot Camp, facilitated by Kendra Shimmell, Stefan Klocek, and Teresa Brazen, held between March 25th and March 28th at Monkey Ranch in Petaluma, CA, Fair Trade USA looked to participants for ideas around how to raise awareness of their mission and inspire consumers to purchase Fair Trade products. Fair Trade USA enables sustainable development and community empowerment by cultivating a more equitable global trade model through certifying and promoting Fair Trade products. Their work benefits everyone from farmers and workers to consumers, industry and the environment, and yet only 20-30 percent of Americans even know what Fair Trade means. Why? The issues are complex, but as students dug into this problem they identified key factors behind this disconnect, including a lack of brand awareness of the business case for Fair Trade, low brand adoption, and limited Fair Trade product presence in stores. From those explorations, the following goals emerged:

  • Motivate and inspire brands to adopt and evangelize Fair Trade practices.
  • Put more Fair Trade products in front of consumers.
  • Build “pop culture” awareness of Fair Trade to get more brands to buy into the movement.

To get there, student teams went beyond the initial concept of a website redesign and took on the bigger questions that lead to business transformation. For a look behind the scenes as the teams approached this challenge, check out the following video filmed during the Fair Trade USA Boot Camp, and read more to take a look at the Fair Trade USA ecosystem model and what the students came up with in the pitch decks that follow.

The Fair Trade USA Ecosystem


Student Pitches at the Fair Trade USA Boot Camp

Team Money Talks

Heather Samarin, Jiazhen Wang, Kurtis Beavers, Luis Altuna Azpeitia, Virginia Steiner, Anna Smalley

This assessment tool for business leaders helps them project how use of Fair Trade certified products would impact long-term viability of their particular supply chain and, ultimately, their bottom line.  This concept includes the ability to download a custom presentation that helps them make the business case for Fair Trade back in their organizations.

Team Media Matters

David Elgas, Edward Chong, Mary McDonald, Marina Primakina, Jamie Viviano, Paula Wegman

This Media Resource Center turns Fair Trade USA into an invaluable resource to media, helping them spread the Fair Trade movement on the organization’s behalf. The tool would provide up-to-date information, point-of-view pieces, and data on Human Rights issues, as well as direct access to people impacted by social issues (e.g.: farmers) for interviews.


Team McSheep

Grant Baker, Kate Chadd, Brian McGee, Chinmay Panchal, Priya Premkumar, Amy Tsao

This tool provides business users with a customized roadmap for sustainable growth and positions Fair Trade USA as a valued partner in that process. Once business users identify brands that have successfully scaled through Fair Trade certification that they would like to model their growth after, they receive a roadmap based on that success story and a Fair-Trade sponsored advisor to provide them with personalized assistance along the way.


Team Brandaid

Deb Dennis, Daniel Kalick, Rabia Karatela, John Situ, Nate Smith

This virtual “Farmers Market” highlights Fair Trade USA’s expertise across many industries (coffee, cocoa, tea, etc.) by offering an interactive, exploratory way to learn about specific product categories. Retailers, for example, can visit the market to learn the story of a particular coffee bean: the growing process, the effects of that process on flavor, and even the family that runs a particular farm.  

Team Ransak

Rachel Duprey, Shandin Harper, Ariel Morejon, Ander Arizaleta Roa, Nathan Sinsabaugh, Kathleen Watson

This Fair Trade USA Mentorship Program connects businesses with a network of people that have industry-specific expertise (e.g. coffee supply chain) and experience becoming a Fair Trade USA certified business. These mentors offer guidance and share ways that Fair Trade USA can be a useful business resource while building their own personal brands within the business community.


Thank you Students and Fair Trade USA!

Interested in participating in the next UX Boot Camp?

Find out all the details about upcoming UX Boot Camps here.

The Editors

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