Why Fair Trade?
A commitment to Fair Trade is at the heart of our business. We have a strong, belief in the fundamental rights of people to earn a fair wage for the work they do, to have safe working conditions and to be free from discrimination of any kind. Respect for the environment and action in the face of the climate crisis is also key. While many of the suppliers we buy from support charitable projects in the communities they work with, Fair Trade is not about charity but about skilled artisans receiving a living wage. The end goal is one of trade justice.
These ideas are all embedded in the 10 principles of Fair Trade, as defined by the World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO). We source our goods primarily from supplier members of BAFTS, the UK Fair Trade Network. We know that these suppliers are audited to ensure that they comply with the principles below. But as a BAFTS shop member we also have to show how we comply with these principles within our own business:
Principle One: Creating Opportunities for Economically Disadvantaged Producers
To us this means choosing products that support the most marginalised people in society where ever possible. We are particularly keen to empower women workers as they tend to be particularly disadvantaged.
Principle Two: Transparency and Accountability
We expect our suppliers to be transparent in their business operations and we pass the same transparency on to our customers. We are also happy to be held to account if you aren't happy with any aspect of our service.
Principle Three: Fair Trading Practices
We would never choose to buy from a supplier who we believed was putting profit above the welfare of their producers. We price the goods we sell fairly, without excessive mark-ups, and always pay our suppliers on time.
Principle Four: Fair Payment
By choosing BAFTS or WFTO accredited suppliers, we can have confidence that the skilled artisans that make our products have been paid a fair, living wage. We aspire to be able to pay ourselves a living wage at some point too!
Principle Five: Ensuring no Child Labour and Forced Labour
We know that our suppliers are committed to stamping out the evils of child labour and modern day slavery. And although our small managing director (Lenshina's daughter) often helps in the shop we would never dare to infringe her need to play!
Principle Six: Commitment to Non Discrimination, Gender Equity and Women’s Economic Empowerment and Freedom of Association
We are very proud of the high percentage of women leaders within Fair Trade (52% of CEOs in Fair Trade enterprises are women, compared to 9% in conventional businesses) and are absolutely committed to the principle of non-discrimination. We are vocal in our support for the Black Live Matter movement and are keen to uphold the highest standards of anti racism within our own business and within BAFTS as a whole. We are keen to work within BAFTS to improve diversity within the UK Fair Trade movement.
Principle Seven: Ensuring Good Working Conditions
Workers safety is of paramount importance - there should be no excuse for the ongoing tragedies that occur within the fast fashion sector. Women workers also need conditions that allow them to combine work with childcare and safe spaces for breastfeeding. Lenshina has helped to run a local breastfeeding group for many years and the office area at the back of our shop is well know as a place mums can stop and feed their small people.
Principle Eight: Providing Capacity Building
Capacity building is about increasing opportunities for Fair Trade producers to expand the range of their products and access to markets. We often work closely with suppliers on ideas for new projects or products. We have also helped to test the market for new Fair trade enterprises by stocking goods on sale or return so that they can get market feedback.
Principle Nine: Promoting Fair Trade
Fair and Fabulous is the heart of the Fair Trade movement in our area. Jill and Lenshina coordinate the Newcastle Emlyn Fair Trade Town steering group, driving it to achieve and retain Fair Trade Town status since 2014. We also take our message into schools and community groups, as well as flying the flag for Fair Trade at any events we trade at. We promote Fair Trade events and issues through our social media and shop window displays.
Principle Ten: Respect for the Environment
This principle was the seed of the whole business when Jill started it back in 2005. We specialise in a wide range of products that protect the environment by reducing the need for single use plastics. If those products are Fair Trade as well, then that is even better. We work closely with the local Plastic Free Community groups and also with our suppliers to try and get them to reduce any plastic within their packaging. We use newspaper bags in the shop and re-use packaging to send out orders - so while your package your delivery arrives in might not look very fabulous we know that what is inside will be!