As many of you know we at Shared Earth buy from several suppliers in Nepal, who have been out of touch over the last few days due to power failures. We have now had word from all of them, and they are OK, though some artisan groups are yet to be contacted. There is huge damage to infrastructure, many people are still out on the streets afraid to go inside, and the rebuilding process will take many months.
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Continue reading Helping Nepal Producers
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.
Continue reading The Spring Fair and Me
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!
“2015,” said a member of staff at Shared Earth recently, “is all about being positive.” I’m not sure if this is a genuine trend but I want to make it one! We’ve had years of recession. Well I for one have decided that the worst IS over and I am going to MAKE 2015 a better year.
I’d like to tell you the story of one of our suppliers in India. The people who started it were at the very bottom of society – I don’t just mean badly off, I mean just about as badly off as they could get. They were street children living on New Delhi railway station. About 300,000 children roam and work the streets of New Delhi. They come from all over the country, mostly from rural India. Some have run away from abuse at home; others are lured by the glitz and glamour of the big city. Continue reading Positively speaking
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.
Continue reading Why we love retail at Christmas
In York, where I live, the Tour de France excited enormous attention, with bicycles spray-painted in yellow appearing in shop windows, attached to restaurants, even hung up on walls. Personally, although I ride a bike myself, I found it hard to get excited about waiting in a crowd for a mass of cyclists to whizz past in a flash – especially as they didn’t start racing until well after they left the city centre.
But as an environmentalist I’m keen on bikes, and I was delighted to discover a supplier in India which makes gifts such as picture frames, clocks and jewellery from recycled bike chains and cogs – even a sturdy bottle-opener, the perfect gift for men. There are thousands of bike repair shops in India, and they discard quantities of chains because they’re broken or have incorrect sized links. To ‘upcycle’ them into gifts provides jobs for unemployed artisans, prevents more waste being sent to landfill sites, and gives us here some wonderfully creative products.
Continue reading Recycling and upcycling bike parts
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.
Continue reading Why shop fair trade this Christmas?
A slogan often used by environmentalists is ‘Reduce, Re-use, Recycle’. Although I’m not in favour of over-consumption, in a world where so many have so little, as a retailer I’m not so keen on the ‘reduce’ side of this; if people buy less, how do we survive in business? We can all easily support re-using and recycling, however, and indeed benefit.
In poor countries like India and Bangladesh, almost everything gets recycled. In Britain, our landfill sites are filling up and it’s standard practice for councils to arrange door-to-door collections of paper, glass, tins and often plastics and other materials – something that would’ve seemed unthinkable 20 years ago. Continue reading Reduce, Re-use, Recycle