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.