April 22nd, 2013 by Paul
I`m asked this a lot….. “Why should I buy from THE FAIR TRADE STORE?”
Afterall, there are plenty of other online retailers out there who sell Fair Trade products or ethical gifts.
Or maybe you`re a fan of Primark, ASOS or John Lewis?
Well I`m biased, but here are 10 reasons why I think you should shop online with us…
1/ An Extensive Range of Products
We source a wide range of unique, handmade, Fair Trade products from the developing world. The website is constantly being updated with new lines and seasonal one-off purchases.
Online, you will discover hundreds of bags and purses, jewellery, fashion accessories, stationery items and homeware – many made from recycled material and ALWAYS ethical and Fairly Traded.
2/ Clear & Concise Product Information
We aim to provided detailed, relevant product information, laid out in a clear and concise way, to help you decide on your purchases.
I personally write each product descriptions with the actual product in front of me, rather than pinching someone else`s version. It takes time, but you deserve it.
Each product page features a “Product Information” and “Producer Information” section, giving you the background story to the actual people behind the product.
Compare that to the likes of Matalan. No wonder they can sell such big bags for only £10
Full product dimensions are also provided, so you can clearly visualise what your gift will look like.
If you need more information just ask us – we love to chat with our customers.
3/ High Quality Images
You can view digital quality images for every item. Some feature shots from multiple angles.
We pride ourselves on providing images that exactly match the actual product, so you won`t be disappointed when your order arrives..
We are also experimenting with “lifestyle” shots to give you inspiration on how you can create the perfect fashion look.
4/ Search Finder
Use the “Search” box at the top left-hand corner of every page on our website to find exactly what you are looking for.
Simply type in the word or phrase you are interested in and hit your “enter” key – the relevant search results should be then clearly displayed..
5/ Easy to Follow Checkout Process
After much research and a great deal of customer feedback, we have carefully designed our “Checkout” process to make it quick, easy (and secure) for you to complete your purchase.
You can pay with debit or credit card, or PayPal. Simples!
6/ UK Based
We are proud to be a small, independent, family-owned business that has survived the worst (we hope) of the economic recession – and have been trading successfully since February, 2009.
And we simply love what we do.
7/ Speedy Delivery
We aim to despatch all orders within 48 hours of receipt. Delivery usually takes 2-3 days. As a small business we keep our eye on the ball and respond to all orders or queries quickly and personally.
Royal Mail is our distribution partner for all UK-based postal addresses.
8/ ‘No Quibble’ Returns Policy
We understand that you may wish to cancel an online order before it has arrived, or maybe you were not happy with it for some reason. You certainly have the right to change your mind if you decide you no longer want a product you have ordered.
This is where our 30-DAY, “NO QUIBBLE” MONEY-BACK GUARANTEE comes in….
And remember, returns to us are FREE.
You can find information on just about anything you might need to know in our “How to shop / FAQs” area.
But don’t forget, if you can’t find the information you are looking for just contact us – you can even talk to me, Paul the owner. Look out for my ugly mug on our “Contact Us” page!
10/ There are lots of other reasons I can think of, but maybe you would like to add your own as the 10th point?
Why not use the Comments box below to do this? I`d love to hear from you.
Thanks for reading my post. Subscribe to the Blog and make sure you get our next post sent directly to your email inbox – Paul
March 30th, 2013 by Paul
The Fair Trade Way. Photo by Tom Bamber.
Feeling adventurous? Then taking a series of walks along The Fair Trade Way
might well appeal.
The 6-day walk links Fairtrade Towns between Garstang (the world’s first-ever Fairtrade Town) and Keswick.
This long-distance heritage trail helps link three related local themes – those of Fair Trade, the British Atlantic slave trade and Quakers (Religious Society of Friends).
The Fair Trade Way is a tough walk, averaging 15 miles per day and was created to promote the positive impact using Fairtrade products can have on the lives of people in the developing world who struggle whilst they produce the products and resources that we in the more wealthy, western countries consume in our everyday lives.
Whilst following the route and its official markers, walkers are encouraged to endorse the principles of Fairtrade by enjoying Fairtrade food and beverages. They also have the opportunity to book Fairtrade accommodation.
There are 4 criteria to successfully complete The Fair Trade Way. They are :-
1/ Each day must start and end in a Fairtrade town, city, village or island.
2/ Actual and potential premises for Fairtrade refreshment should be included on the routes.
3/ Places of national scenic, historic, environmental and/or cultural importance should be included.
4/ Where possible, roads are to be avoided and Public Rights of Way should be used.
Now to the heritage trail itself…..
The starting point is Garstang in Lancashire.
Garstang is a small, market town and is approximately 10 miles north of Preston, with a population of just over 4,000.
In the centre of Garstang is The FIG Tree International Visitor Centre and Fairtrade Café & Gift Shop. It is the site of Garstang’s official declaration as the world’s first Fairtrade Town that took place in November 2001.
The very first Fairtrade Town certificate presented by Harriet Lamb CBE, then Executive Director of the Fairtrade Foundation, is displayed in the centre.
The first stage of the trail ends in Lancaster, about 15 miles of walking from Garstang.
The settlement of Lancaster grew up around the Roman Fort built in about 80 AD and the name Lancaster comes from the river Lune (itself coming from the Celtic word meaning pure or clean) and the Saxon word ‘ceaster’ meaning a group of Roman buildings.
After Liverpool, Bristol and London, Lancaster was the fourth biggest slave trade port in England and during the 18th century the city prospered from the Atlantic slave trade.
Going past the Millennium footbridge, the first section of The Fair Trade Way ends at the ‘Captured Africans’ slave trade memorial.
The names of the 25 slave ships and their captains are engraved on the side of the memorial with the number of African slaves carried on each voyage – the total being 5,034 men, women and children.
The 6th and final stage of the heritage trail is Grasmere to Keswick.
Your journey along The Fair Trade Way comes to an end at the Keswick Moot Hall in the central Market Square, which was built in 1813 and has an unusual one-handed clock. It now contains the Tourist Information Centre.
LEAVE A COMMENT
And there you have it. A whistle-stop tour of The Fair Trade Way and some of the experiences it has to offer.
If you have been on the trail yourself, why not leave a comment below and share your thoughts?
I hope my Blog post has inspired some of you to take up the challenge and help support Fairtrade in a great new way. Or maybe you might look at starting your own route up, linking at least two Fairtrade destinations together?
Thanks for reading – Paul
March 20th, 2013 by Paul
Pink Heart Shaped Trinket Box, handmade in India
It`s a popular question I get asked. Why shop for Fairtrade gifts
this Easter, or indeed at any time of the year?
Well, the products are :-
1/ Handmade by skilled artisans and therefore of top quality.
2/ Coming from the developing world they are really unique and not found in UK High Streets or supermarkets.
3/ Producers get paid a Fair Price for their labour and their working conditions are humane.
4/ You can be sure that no child labour has been involved.
5/ You will often be supporting traditional handicrafts and skills.
6/ And finally, the recipient of the gift will be delighted you have put thought into selecting something ethical (and often recycled!)
I hope you agree that it`s a great idea to shop Fair Trade.
Why not visit THE FAIR TRADE STORE for hundreds of gift suggestions for Easter right now?
February 14th, 2013 by Paul
Kuapa Kokoo - makers of Divine whole brazil nuts covered in dark chocolate
simply means “Good Cocoa Farming”.
When internal marketing of cocoa was liberalised in Ghana, a pioneering group of farmers led by Nana Frimpong Abrebrese established Kuapa Kokoo as a farmer’s cooperative in 1993 with assistance from Twin Limited UK.
Dedicated to producing high quality cocoa and running a democratic organisation with the farmer`s interests at heart, it was only two years later that the union received its first Fairtrade certification.
THEIR MISSION :-
“Kuapa Kokoo seeks to develop itself into a formidable farmer-based organisation capable of mobilising quality cocoa products, improving the livelihood of members and satisfying customers.”
THEIR OBJECTIVES :-
1/ To provide a medium for the social, economic and political empowerment of its cocoa farmer members.
2/ To enhance the participation of women in the decision-making process at all levels of operation and organisation.
3/ To encourage environmentally-sustainable cocoa production processes.
Divine entered the UK market in 1997 with The Day Chocolate Company, who launched the Divine Chocolate range in 1998.
Kuapa Kokoo farmers own 33% of The Day Chocolate Company, which means they influence how the company is run and get a share of the profits.
Today, The Kuapa Kokoo cooperative has 45,000 members in 1,200 villages producing 6% of Ghana`s cocoa and is backed by UKaid from the Department for International Development.
Making chocolate this way means children now have better access to clean water, healthcare and education.
Our delicious Divine whole brazil nuts covered in dark chocolate are produced by Kuapa Kokoo and carry The Fairtrade Mark.
Why not try treat yourself or someone special to a pack?
If you have found this blog post interesting, then check out my other posts about Fair Trade producers.
Or leave a comment below and I`ll get straight back to you – Paul
January 14th, 2013 by Paul
10 Facts About Fairtrade Fortnight 2013
1/ This year, Fairtrade Fortnight
is from Monday 25th February to Sunday 10th March, 2013.
2/ In 2012 we were asked to “take a step for Fairtrade” and just over 1 million steps have now been registered!
But there’s still so much more to do. In 2013, the Fairtrade Foundation want to take Fairtrade further and need your help to reach more farmers and workers who urgently need a better deal from trade.
3/ Fairtrade Fortnight brings together consumers, retailers, licensees, businesses, producers and campaigners nationwide to promote awareness and sales of Fairtrade products and campaign on issues of trade justice.
4/ Find out who is taking a step at Fairtrade events around the country.
5/ Choosing and asking for Fairtrade is one way to ensure farmers and workers can farm into the future and earn enough to provide for their families and invest in their communities.
6/ Fairtrade provides them with the security of knowing they’ll receive a fair price for their crop and the long term stability that comes from having a better relationship with their buyer. Find out more about Fairtrade farmers and workers.
7/ Here`s how YOU can take a step for Fairtrade
8/ Find out what schools can do to support Fairtrade, including sourcing products and suppliers. This link has resources, practical tools and guides to support converting your school to Fairtrade.
9/ Today, Fairtrade Fortnights are celebrated in several countries, most notably Ireland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
10/ You can follow the Fairtrade Foundation and keep up-to-date with events on Facebook
Thank you for reading my Blog Post.
If you are holding an event, or simply participating in one, why not leave a comment below to help promote it?
Have a great Fairtrade Fortnight everyone – Paul
November 7th, 2012 by Paul
What gift do you give “the woman who has everything” at Christmas? The answer is this wooden earring stand.
Fair Trade wooden earring stand
Not only is it an ethical choice, being Fair Trade, but it`s practical too and can hold up to 20 pairs of earrings for safe keeping on two tiers, with a dished base for studs and other small items.
Imagine how that could tidy things up at home?
With a round, flat base, it will sit on a dressing table, cabinet, shelf or any flat surface.
Supplied in 6 pieces for easy self-assembly – no screws, nails or glue required – takes seconds to build. Even I was able to build it quickly on my first attempt – and I`m a man!
Handmade from haldu wood by skilled artisans at a Fair Trade organisation in India called Asha, it has proved to be our absolute best seller over the past 3 and a half years of trading at THE FAIR TRADE STORE.
India, which is one of the largest handcraft-producing countries in the world, offers an almost unlimited range of crafts and products. Sadly, products can be produced in conditions of abject poverty, with craft workers in bondage to moneylenders, working long hours in very testing conditions.
However, you can be sure that by purchasing from us, the workers have been paid a fair wage and enjoy good working conditions and terms of trade.
See more of our Fair Trade products in this short YouTube video.
Thanks for reading my Blog post.
What other items might you give “the woman who has everything”?
Leave your suggestions in the comments section below – Paul
October 10th, 2012 by Paul
Southport Oxfam Group`s fundraising helps people like this
is now a year old.
As a founding member, I`m delighted to say that the group is going from strength to strength, with exciting fundraising plans for the year ahead.
WHAT IS OXFAM?
Oxfam is a global movement of people who share the belief that, in a world rich in resources, poverty isn’t inevitable. It’s an injustice which can, and must, be overcome.
Oxfam is dedicated to building a just and safer world focusing on people’s basic rights. It is passionate about ending poverty and in helping to rebuild the lives affected by it. There are programmes in more than 70 countries working with local people to improve their lives.
It’s an enormous undertaking but Oxfam has talented and committed partners, volunteers, supporters and staff who share the same values.
AND THE VOLUNTEERS?
Oxfam volunteers in shops, offices, groups and at events are helping change lives right now – and developing valuable skills and friendships along the way. Time is precious, so why not use yours to do something important?
If you would like to get involved in our fundraising efforts, why not come along to one of Southport Oxfam Group`s monthly meetings?
We are a small, friendly group of loyal and committed supporters who raise our local profile and rally the community with fundraising events to support poor people around the world. We guarantee you’ll have great fun organising events such as quiz nights, live music and band events, bag packs, meals etc.
It’s all about doing what you love – for Oxfam, locally.
We meet at The Crown Hotel, Liverpool Road, Birkdale, Southport at 7.30pm on the first Tuesday of every month. You are welcome to just drop in and say “hello” at any time.
Or you can call me, Paul, for further details on 07545 035 183.
Thanks for reading this Blog post. If you are a volunteer, why not let us know what successes you have had in raising money for Oxfam, by leaving a comment below?
August 29th, 2012 by Paul
Fair Trade Producers - Karm Marg, India.
One of our favourite Fair Trade producers
is Karm Marg, an Indian non-governmental organisation committed to the cause of supporting disadvantaged children and young adults from their local area.
“Karm Marg” literally means the “path of action” and begun with a handful of children living on the New Delhi railway station in 1997.
With the help of a social worker, they took to bring about a change in their lives by starting a small kitchen on a street-side to prepare free food for children there. The kitchen was run on the money contributed daily by the older children.
In the last eight years, with the help of a small group of dedicated people, Karm Marg has grown to become a home for about 60 children.
Now based based on 1.5 acres of farm land in Faridabad, just outside New Delhi, they run a children`s home – Karm Gaon, which provides a caring, loving space for the youngsters to live, study, work and play together in a nourishing environment.
The home provides shelter, care, medical support, counselling, sports facilities and education.
In addition, vocational training programmes are run for young adults. An income generation programme that creates revenues by making eco products according to Fair Trade principles, help run the organisation and, in turn, supports economically weak, rural women and alumni of the home.
At the heart of Karm Marg’s functioning has always been the idea to provide these children with a strong support system and to enable them with skills that allow them to be self reliant and sufficient.
It is not only a home where children get love and care, but also a place where the children are exposed to various learning experiences, including the manufacturing of consumer products.
The children have now created their own label, Jugaad™. It means “something made from nothing” – because many of their products are put together from scraps and discarded materials which the children recycle.
They produce many beautiful and unique products by hand. Our recycled rag rug pencil case is handmade by Karm Marg artisans.
Let us know what you think about this wonderful organisation by leaving a comment below.
I will be featuring more Fair Trade producers in my Blog soon, so why not subscribe to the RSS feed now?
Thanks for reading – Paul
August 16th, 2012 by Paul
Walk Against Crime
Walk Against Crime - KSEEEP drummers and dancers
, the initiative designed to raise money to bring a group of young dancers over to the UK from Mathare Slum, Nairobi, Kenya has just completed the first stage of its fundraising activities.
A sponsored walk, from Southport to Hornsea, via York, was successfully accomplished on Monday 6th August – all 230 miles of it!
Well done to everyone concerned, particularly Jeremy Piercy from Shared Earth and Kathleen Scanlan from Zuri Design, who started on Saturday 21st July and walked every step of the way!
As a result £13,500 has been raised, meaning we are halfway to our target.
Walk against Crime is working with an organisation in Nairobi called KSEEEP (Kenya Social Economic Enterprise Empowerment Program), which has a dance troupe that performs professionally in and around Nairobi, not only training young dancers but also helping them earn money – which a number use to attend school.
KSEEEP is a youth project that engages young people through dance, football, education and a number of other programs. It aims to help young people who have been involved in crime, or at risk from becoming involved in crime, or prostitution – which many young people are forced into to survive daily life in one of Kenya’s large slums.
Over 200 local youths are involved and the crime rate in the area has dropped from a staggering 80% to just 5%.
Walk against Crime aims to bring 10 of these teenage dancers over to the UK in the summer of 2013 and arrange for them to perform at various events.
With this experience, it is hoped, they will be able to return to Kenya and make a permanent living, performing to tourists and at special community events and weddings.
It also aims to support the many amazing initiatives KSEEEP run for young people in Mathare slum which include raising school funds, employment skills training, football training and of course dance training!
The means of raising money to support these KSEEEP projects is via a small charity that has recently been set up called The Zuri Foundation.
The Zuri Foundation helps young people in Kenya break the cycle of poverty they are born into.
Working in partnership with local organisations in and around the slums of Nairobi they are helping to enable young people earn a living, get access to education and avoid or leave a life of crime many are forced into for survival.
Life in the slums is tough with access to basic needs including food, shelter, clothing and water limited.
The Zuri Foundation`s aim is simple – to enable young people to work and earn a living therefore empowering them to change their future.
THE NEXT STEPS….
In the summer of 2013 there will be another, much longer sponsored Walk Against Crime – this time coast to coast along the Wainwright Walk from The Lakes to Whitby and we are hoping that people will get behind it so that the fundraising total can be reached.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP….
If you feel that you would like to support the project and help bring the young Kenyan dancers over to the UK you can sponsor a walker and donate to the charity via the Just Giving Page.
KEEP IN TOUCH….
There will be more updates from Walk Against Crime in this Fair Trade Blog, so why not subscribe to our RRS feed?
You can read more about Walk Against Crime in my other Blog post on the subject – Paul
June 26th, 2012 by Paul
Bark-Edged Mango Wood Bowl
A question we are often asked! “What are our top-selling Fair Trade products
” – by our customers, sometimes by our suppliers and even occasionally by our competitors?
The answer, of course, is ever-changing, depending on the time of year, promotions we might be running or trends in the marketplace.
Taking a “snap shot” in time, however, we can reveal that these 3 products have been our consistently best-sellers so far in 2012.
1/ Embroidered Cross Body Bag, handmade in India.
2/ Bright Candy Colours Bracelet with Ten Strands, again from India.
3/ Bark-Edged Mango Wood Bowl, carved by artisans in Thailand.
It`s worth noting, that nationally, sales of Fair Trade products have bucked the trend of decline in the UK retail market and grown by 12% in the last year. The value of Fairtrade products sold reached £1.32bn in 2011, compared to £1.17bn in 2010, according to figures from the Fairtrade Foundation`s annual report.
Unlike other premium sectors such as the organic market, which have lost ground as consumers struggle with the combination of rising food and energy prices and stagnant incomes, the Fairtrade market has continued to expand, which sounds like good news for relatively small businesses like ours.
However, the growth, of course, mainly reflects a move among major UK supermarkets to sell Fairtrade products at a similar retail price as “conventionally produced” equivalents – think bananas, tea, coffee, chocolate and so on.
The UK is the largest market for Fairly Traded products. Worldwide, sadly, the sector as a whole remains very small, however.
So times are still tough for us here at THE FAIR TRADE STORE, but we have exciting plans – so stay tuned to this Blog to read what we have planned!
Do YOU shop for Fair Trade products on a regular basis? Do you buy online or in “bricks `n mortar” shops?
Which are your favourite retailers?
Why not leave a comment below and tell us where you like to shop?