My First Trip to India

Jen - Shared Earth Liverpool shop manager

“Never again,” I said to Jeremy (Shared Earth MD) after our trip to Bali. “It’s too far, I can’t cope with the heat.” I was adamant that me and trips abroad were a one-off. An experience of a lifetime, not to be sullied by excessive time spent in airport departure lounges with swollen ankles, and yet, here I am sitting in my hotel room in New Delhi, with the air conditioning blasting out, eternally grateful to be granted this experience once again.

Indian truck

I have never been to India. I’ve seen it on TV, I’ve heard other people’s accounts, I’ve read all our producer stories and yet nothing was quite enough to prepare me for what I was seeing first hand; it really is a different world.


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Christmas at Shared Earth – Getting the Windows Right

Jen - Shared Earth Liverpool shop manager

As you can imagine, Christmas is a super important time of year. Christmas sales are what drives you through into the next year and keeps you going during the quieter months. It’s also the time of year you don’t have to persuade people to part with money, they want to.. it’s just whether it’s in your store or not that is the issue. That is why shops go all out for their windows to be the best dressed Christmas windows around to drive people into their stores and Shared Earth is no exception.
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The cost of carrier bags

Jen - Shared Earth Liverpool shop manager

According to the Government’s website, “In 2014 over 7.6 billion single-use bags were given to customers by major supermarkets in England”. That is an astronomical figure when you consider that’s more bags than there are people on this planet. They also say that figure was rising year on year despite the fact they estimated the average household already had 40 used bags sitting in their kitchen cupboards already. I think without meaning to we’ve become a ‘throw away’ society and here at Shared Earth, we believe in doing our bit to remedy this.

The government introduced the carrier bag levy last year and many supermarkets have reported up to an 80% cut in carrier bag use; this is phenomenal. Shared Earth introduced a carrier bag charge around 5 years prior to this and although we can’t claim an 80% reduction, we can claim a very positive swing towards not only a drastic cut in carrier bags being purchased but a noticeable rise in the amount of jute and cotton reusable bags being sold and we are over the moon about this.

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A chocolate lover’s guide to chocolate…

Jen - Shared Earth Liverpool shop manager

I wouldn’t like to say I’m a connoisseur of chocolate but I’ve eaten enough in my lifetime to feel like my opinion must hold some weight. Over the years Shared Earth has sold many brands of fair trade and ethically sourced chocolate but none have been as popular as the ‘Choc Affair’ chocolate that we sell now. We’re completely taken in by their beautiful packaging and outrageous flavours. No other manufacturer I’ve come across can put rose with raspberry and make a combination that borders on heavenly. It’s not their only flavour either, we currently stock 15 different ones and I have had the pleasure of sampling them all just for you, and here are my results;

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Celebrating 10 years in Liverpool

Jen - Shared Earth Liverpool shop manager

We can’t believe we opened our shop in Liverpool ten years ago this September. It doesn’t seem that long ago and yet when we try and picture what Bold Street was like then before all the cafés and restaurants moved we’re shocked by how much has actually changed and that 10 years in retail really is a long time.

My memories back then are really hazy now. We opened in a blur. Minimum training, the manager was instantly on a pre-existing booked holiday, we had very little knowledge of anything and in fact, we didn’t even have a till, just an old fashioned cash tin under the counter. That didn’t stop us though, our first days trading was so busy. Fair Trade was alive in this city and we all felt it (in our feet and our backs) come closing time.

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The Spring Fair and Me

Jen - Shared Earth Liverpool shop manager

The first spring fair I ever did was 3 years ago. I turned up wide eyed with a smile on my face and a fresh eagerness to fill my order sheets with lots of custom. What I didn’t realise was that the only day I was doing was the final day. The very quiet, very slow, slightly soul destroying Thursday (you all know what I mean). I soon realised, not only was it harder then I thought to turn an enquiry into a sale, but to coax people out of the aisles and on to the stand was a much tougher feat then I ever imagined. I felt like a failure, dejected and sad. I vowed to come back with a vengeance given the opportunity.. and I got it, one year later.

Last year was a new beginning. We changed our location to a corner aisle, we had a brand new stand, less green, and more in keeping with the feel and atmosphere of our company and boy, what a difference it made. David, our new Wholesale Manager, brought a renewed energy to the mix and that hopeful feeling started to return. Apparently the first two days are always the busiest but compared to my very quiet Thursday of the previous year, I couldn’t believe the difference. People were freely wandering on to the stand and sales started trickling in. By the end of the first day, my feet ached, my jaw ached, my back ached but the feeling of achievement I felt far surpassed those. By the end of the week, I was exhausted, packing up the stand seemed to take forever and I was glad to be leaving Birmingham for home. A few days later, the results of the figures came through and we’d improved our sales drastically from the year previously. All the feet ache was worth it and I felt that fire in my belly coming back.

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Why I like working for Shared Earth!

Jen - Shared Earth Liverpool shop manager

Some of you may know me, most of you may not but my name is Jenny and I have worked for Shared Earth for 8 years. I manage our Liverpool branch on Bold Street (the best street in this fair city) and have worked in it since the day it opened waaaaaay back in September 2006. My shop has changed a lot since then, it’s evolved and grown and undoubtedly gotten better. From little things to aesthetic improvements to just a renewed sense of achievement and invincibility from surviving the recession which sadly a few of our neighbouring shops did not. Continue reading Why I like working for Shared Earth!

Why we love retail at Christmas

Jen - Shared Earth Liverpool shop manager

I love Christmas. Everyone always moans when the cards and seasonal gift sets start edging their way into shops in August but not me. It leaves me feeling toasty inside wondering if it’s still too early to break out the Christmas jumpers. I love the 3 month build up. Though if you would like some relief from the inevitable Christmas songs on constant repeat then you’re safe in our shop, we have the sound of whales to keep you sane. Christmas is amazing. It’s so colourful and exciting, with the special smells (of which we have of course captured in some seasonal incense) and bright lights but the thing I love most is the fact that it is muscle achingly shattering.
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Why shop fair trade this Christmas?

Jen - Shared Earth Liverpool shop manager

Christmas is such a special time of year; full of festive lights and colours and seasonal scents. There’s an atmosphere in the air created by the hustle and bustle of determined shoppers looking for that perfect present. You spend hours and hours traipsing around shop after shop feeling utterly uninspired by the same unimaginative gifts on offer. Well stop; make sure your first shop is Shared Earth and we guarantee that perfect present, that totally inspired, utterly unique, one of a kind gift you’ve been searching for is here.

If you’ve been into any of our shops, you will know that we are passionate about what we do. That’s part of the reason why we love working here so much, The Shared Earth family stretches across the globe to some of the poorest areas there are and Christmas is a time which makes that poverty more apparent. Buying Fair Trade at Christmas is one of the things we can do to help those who truly need a helping hand. We absolutely love the feeling of aiding someone pick out that special something. Especially when we know that ultimately every item we sell is like 2 gifts for the price of 1. The first being for your friend, loved one or family member and the second being the gift of a better life for the artisan who made it. Fair Trade is a big deal to us and our producers and artisans are the ones who inspire us to always strive for more.
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