Today marks our six month anniversary in our new shop! We have loved our time on Lion Street so far. We will always have a soft spot for our first home at Hay Castle, but it feels wonderful to be in the thick of things and part of the bustling retail life of Hay.
We have a big sale underway at the moment which we hope will free up space for some amazing new lines we have coming soon. We've already had some great new products (like these incredible Blantyre Jars from Malawi) and we have more on the way.
It feels like we've achieved such a lot in the first half a year in our new location - thank you to all of you who have supported us in the shop and online - we hope to see you again soon!
We have been lucky enough to have quite a few products in the shop which we could genuinely say were "phenomenal." Our Elephant Cement wallets and bags from Cambodia were one of our earliest lines, and are still hugely popular today. Zotter chocolates, recommended to us by a customer, are now a staple part of our range throughout the year. And our perching and origami birds continue to amaze and delight customers.
Nothing could have prepared us for the flip flop animals though.
Almost exactly a year ago, I met a customer here in Hay on Wye who had been working for an NGO in Kenya. She mentioned a project called Ocean Sole, who took discarded flip flops and turned them in to pieces of art. Intrigued, we checked out the website and sent a few emails. A month or so later our first (tiny!) batch of flip flop animals arrived. Slowly but surely we realised we had a phenomenon on our hands!
Since we moved to Lion Street the flip flop fever has only intensified. Our cool window display has attracted a lot of attention, and we've added new designs such as keyrings to the range.
Last week I met a customer who had recently returned from Kenya where they had visited Ocean Sole. He said the most incredible sight was the enormous mound of flip flops waiting to be processed by the workers. This project really is having an incredible impact, not just in cleaning up the environment but also providing much needed employment in Nairobi. Here are some pictures, with huge thanks to Roger Murray-Leach for sending them to us. We look forward to working with Ocean Sole for many years to come!
We are so pleased to be settling in to our new home on Lion Street in the centre of Hay on Wye. We loved being up at Hay Castle but we are confident that our new location will make us accessible to many more fair trade shoppers.
As part of our move we have expanded several of our ranges. We have more fantastic jewellery from Tamil Nadu, Thailand, the Philippines and Peru, more kids' toys, new lines of enamelware from South Africa (perfect for camping!) and a growing range of books and magazines. We don't have everything on line quite yet but keep checking back for more interesting new products.
We have had a fantastic reaction so far and we hope to be able to welcome many more of you to our shop over the months ahead. Do say hello if you are passing! Here are some snaps to whet your appetite...