About Mountcastle International Trading Company
While growing up, Cheryl and Dan Mountcastle shared a love for National Geographic Magazine and all the exotic lands and peoples they could visit through its pages. It would be later in life that they would meet through their mutual passion for travel and culture and form Mountcastle International Trading Company, Ltd.
Cheryl and Dan met in 1983, while on medical assignment in Saudi Arabia, and later traveled to other countries on several other assignments. Dan, a doctor, and Cheryl, a registered nurse, worked in Pakistan on the border of Afghanistan and in Thailand on the borders of Cambodia and Laos. It was in Thailand where they discovered the intricate quilting work of the Hmong, Laotian hill people who were displaced by the turbulence in their homeland and moved to refugee camps. The beautiful quality of this work and the creative use of color prompted Cheryl and Dan to use their savings to buy numerous Hmong cushion covers and quilts and try to create a market in the U. S. to help bring more income to the Hmong women. Upon their return to the US in 1985, the couple opened a retail store in a Washington D.C. mall that was a huge success.
The success of this store, particularly with customers carrying bags from the Washington area museums, encouraged them to begin selling wholesale to museum gift shops. This would provide a much larger market and thus more financial assistance to the Hmong women.
Since 1988, Mountcastle International has greatly expanded its product line to include items made of wood, soapstone, iron, birch bark and glass, from countries including Thailand, Kenya, Indonesia, Russia, Peru, Bangladesh, Chile, Haiti, Botswana, Poland, Sri Lanka, Guatemala and more. They wholesale these products to more than 500 museum stores and 500 retail gift boutiques across the country. Customers range from small beach shops to the most prestigious museums in the country.
The Mountcastles and their five children are currently working overseas. They are based in St. Pete Beach, Florida, however, and have a local manager, Irena Bogusiewicz, a warehouse and small retail store there. If you're in the area, stop by and visit their store!
Mountcastle International Trading Co., Ltd. currently wholesales our products to more than 1,000 retail stores and museums across the United States.
Office Hours 9AM-3PM Monday-Friday, Eastern Time.
Order Toll Free (800) 343-5844
Order 24/7 by fax, e-mail, online store or voice message.
For more information about fair trade crafts, please feel free to visit the sites listed below.
Fair Trade Federation
FTF is an association of fair trade businesses who are committed to providing fair wages and employment opportunities to low-income artists and farmers worldwide.
The Crafts Center
The Crafts Center is an international organization dedicated to improving the lives of low-income artisans by increasing their access to markets and resources.