As we approach Christmas it's easy to get carried away with the festive spirit, whether it's a mad dash for presents, over-indulgence at the dinner table or simply becoming engrossed in endless repeats of the X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing.
No-one likes a kill-joy, and here at Eighteen Rabbit we're all for having a good time - we think that as consumers we have a choice about what we buy, and that the decisions we make when shopping on the high street or online can make a real difference to people's lives overseas. That's what fair trade is all about.
At this time of giving and receiving I think it's important to spare a small thought for those with much less to celebrate than ourselves, whether they are here in the UK or overseas. I'd thoroughly recommend trying to catch up with some of the "Why Poverty?" season which has been broadcast in the UK on BBC4 and also around the world over the past few weeks. The films are varied and all tell an incredible story about the way we live today and the inequality we face in the world.
We hope that everyone can enjoy this season of peace in the spirit of brotherly love which the very first Christmas embodied. Most of the people we work with around the world aren't looking for handouts or charity - just fairness. That's something we're going to be working flat out to make a reality, slowly but surely, in 2013.
...but our website is now up and running! Slightly circular there as if you are reading this, you already know that our website is up and running, but never mind all that. We hope you enjoy browsing the shop and like the look of some of our fabulous far trade products as much as we do. We're still doing some testing before we start making a song and dance about the site, so if you spot any deliberate mistakes or glaring grammar errors please let us know! And do sign up for our mailing list so we can keep in touch.
We're now <----this----> close to being open online - and while we're making the final few adjustments you may notice some weird comings and goings. Please bear with us while we finish polishing the bells and whistles to our virtual shopfront!
It has been such a whirlwind since we got back from Mexico that my plan to update the blog with details of all of our travels has become slightly waylaid. Now that I have five minutes I thought I should let you know about some of the places we visited and where we found the stock we're selling in our new pop up shop in Hay on Wye.
We started off in Xalapa, about four hours east of Mexico City. This was the home for the Hay Festival for a few days, which featured an incredible line up of literary talent, including Jeanette Winterson, Ed Vulliamy and Wole Soyinka. An incredible dry clean for our brains, and a beautiful city which we'd never visited before.
From Xalapa we headed south to Oaxaca. When we had visited previously in 2005 we'd been disappointed - the central square was being renovated, there seemed to be loud tourists everywhere and the whole city had the air of somewhere slightly down at heel. This visit was very different. The air was clear, the people were welcoming, the food was incredible, and crucially we made two very significant contacts. One, a government run co-operative, helped groups of artisans in the surrounding towns to pool their labour and ensured they were paid a fair wage. The second was run more commercially, though still along fairly traded principles, which meant they could help with larger quantities and a clear route to get more stock when we need it. This felt like a great leap forward.
After a quick pit stop in Mexico City we headed south again to Cuernavaca. Having lived here in the past we had a fair idea of where to go and again we managed to make contact with two or three really interesting suppliers.
All in all it was a hugely important trip for us, and one which has allowed us to open our pop up shop with some really enticing products and a truly hand-picked range. Come and see us in Hay on Wye, or sign up to our mailing list to find out when our online store opens.
Our new pop up shop in beautiful Hay on We is now open. You can visit us Tuesday to Sunday at Hay Castle - if you get to the top of the hill you can't miss us, we're opposite the honesty bookshop. It's a bit of a toe in the water - and who knows where it will lead? - but do come and say hello if you want to see what we're up to!