The Great Fair Trade Giveaway
We have some big news to share with you! And while it's tinged with sadness, we hope you'll agree it's also a positive step. Read on to find out more...
In early 2021, Eighteen Rabbit co-founders Louise Davies and Andrew Williams faced an uncomfortable decision. Having been closed for much of the previous year due to Covid, their six-year lease was coming to an end. The situation was further complicated by the fact that neither Andrew nor Louise were working full-time in the shop. On a day-to-day basis the shop was run by three dedicated and reliable staff members, Ruth, Szilvia and Layla. Should they sign a new lease, or accept that they had reached the end of the road?
It was while thinking about the future of the three part-time staff that the germ of an idea began to emerge. Andrew and Louise no longer relied on the income from the shop. But the fair trade projects around the world had never needed more support. So why not simply give the shop to their staff?
What started as an off-the-cuff remark has become a reality. Led by new shop manager Ruth Hayden, the shop will continue to trade under the Eighteen Rabbit banner for the foreseeable future. Over the past four months, Andrew and Ruth have undertaken a comprehensive handover programme, with introductions to key suppliers, analysing buying patterns and looking at administrative elements such as payroll and banking. Ruth has signed a new lease with the landlord, and as of 6th July, the shop will be hers.
Co-founder Andrew Williams commented, “This might seem on the face of it to be a bit mad. We had the shop commercially valued a couple of years ago and the figure quoted was £65k, although of course Covid has changed the retail landscape. It seemed a great fit for us though – and very much in keeping with the ethical ethos we have had along with the shop.”
Eighteen Rabbit co-founder Louise Davies added, “The main priority for us was ensuring that we could continue to support the incredible fair trade projects around the world. Our customers love the products and knowing they will still have an opportunity to buy them in Hay is fantastic news.”
New shop manager, and now owner, Ruth Hayden said, “I am really excited about this new chapter for Eighteen Rabbit! It has been a steep learning curve, but I'm committed to continuing and developing this meaningful and important retail business. I am really looking forward to seeing everyone during what we hope will be a busy summer in Hay.”