We are often asked why we are called Eighteen Rabbit, and it has been suggested to us many times in the past that we could consider selling ethical rabbit wool products. We are delighted to announce today that these dreams are soon to become a reality.
Our shop at Hay Castle is at the centre of redevelopment plans for the Castle site as a whole, and in consultation with the architects we have agreed an ambitious plan to branch out into commercial rabbit fur farming - on a strictly ethical and cruelty free basis.
Angora rabbits will be housed in special runs in the upper floors of Hay Castle, allowing them to roam "free range" around the Castle ramparts. Special feeding stations will be built into the castle walls. Current estimates are that there is sufficient space within the Castle site for us to comfortably house 120 well cared for, well fed rabbits. Each rabbit will produce approximately 2kg of pure angora wool each year, allowing us to produce ethical rabbit wool garments right here in Wales.
At the end of their working lives, the rabbits will be "retired" to the Warren to live out their days roaming free along the river bank.
Full plans for the Castle hutches will be available shortly from Rick Mather Architects. We hope to begin production of angora wool clothing - starting with "Make Trade Fair or the Bunny Gets It" Christmas jumpers - within the next six months.
One of the angora rabbits that will soon move in to Hay Castle.
Please note this story is strictly embargoed until April 1st, 2015.
It is nearly festival time, and Hay is gearing up for the busiest ten days of the year. From this Thursday we'll have the Hay Festival of Literature and Arts as well as How the Light Gets In on our doorsteps. A very warm welcome to everyone planning a visit to Hay over the next fortnight.
We already have some big highlights to look forward to. In our diaries so far are Billy Bragg, Carrie Fisher, Ben Watt, Toumani Diabate, Gruff Rhys, Tracey Thorn, James Lovelock, Katherine Hamnett and many more!
We'll be running a fair trade pop up cafe next to our shop at Hay Castle - we hope you'll be able to join us at Coffee on the Cobbles for a fair trade cuppa during the festival.
We wish you all an entertaining, inspiring, thought provoking and fair trade Festival!
One of the down sides to running a shop selling cool fair trade items is that inevitably we meet a few customers who would prefer to buy something made in our local area. We are lucky in Hay on Wye to have a thriving artistic and craft community who produce some stunning pieces - and we have great shops in Hay selling them, such as Brook Street Pottery, the Haymakers, and our neighbour at Hay Castle, The Thoughtful Gardener. Explaining why we don't stock any local items ourselves is always a good opportunity to reinforce some of the benefits of making trade fair.
That's not to say that we don't care about local businesses, or local shops! We love the retail community in Hay and we try to be a part of supporting our thriving High Street through the Chamber of Commerce. Now we're involved in a new scheme called Totally Locally, which we're hoping to launch in Hay in the next couple of months.
Totally Locally is a clever marketing campaign to get people to think about where they are spending their hard earned cash. It's not anti-supermarket or anti-internet - there's a place for those guys too. But by showing the benefits of diverting just a small amount of money being spent into local shops, we can see a real difference in the economic health of the town.
We're hoping to launch Totally Locally Hay around the Winter Weekend festival. We believe that fair trade and local shopping make great companions on the road to a more prosperous High Street.
We've been making some changes to the front of the shop this week - getting ready for autumn while doing our best to accentuate the last of the summer sun! What do you think?
We've mixed some of our favourite copper pieces from Nepal with a range of our best-selling yellow ceramics which are designed in Holland and made in Thailand. We love the combination of rich, deep, earthy tones from the copper and the bright sunshine of the pottery. Hope you agree!
As always, provenance is key :)
We're really excited to be stocking an amazing new range of toys available exclusively in the UK at Eighteen Rabbit! They are made in Argentina by a small family business called Sopa de Principe and we think each one of them may be able to steal a small piece of your heart. Made by hand, the toys include cows, sheep, bears, rabbits (of course!) and even ant eaters. There are also mini monsters to collect, plus a "Build Your Own Monster" kit allowing you to assemble your very own soft and fluffy Frankenstein's Monster!
Before their debut at Eighteen Rabbit, the range of toys has already seen some pretty cool places, including an exhibition at MoMa in New York. In an age of computer games and downloads it's nice to have a connection with something truly authentic, hand made, and unique.
We're sure these guys wont last long so get them while you can. We hope to have another order before Christmas but supplies are very limited so don't delay! All the toys are hand made in cotton and stuffed with polyester, with soft felt eyes. They can be hand washed in cool water.