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Archive for December, 2007

189.jpgSadly my lack of tech expertise (texpertise?) means that my carefully crafted email to all my customers and subscribers failed to actually arrive in anyone’s inbox. Hmmph. I just wanted to send a huge THANK YOU to everyone who has been so unbelievably supportive, from simply wishing me luck to being very involved in Boutiko’s introduction into the world of ecommerce. I have had so much advice and so many good wishes, which has all been a huge boost and greatly appreciated.

 ANYWAY, I hope you all have a fabulous (and eco friendly) Christmas, and that 2008 is happy and successful for every last lovely one of you. Even if you have never laid eyes on this blog or never discover its existence.

See you in the New Year with the launch of Boutiko’s first JANUARY SALE!

🙂

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Fairs

Two fairs in two days. Lots of packing and unpacking, hefting suitcases, and explaining about ethically sourced products. Fairs are good because you get to meet your customers face to face, which as an online business doesn’t happen very often, and it’s also instant cash, which is always nice! There is a lot of work involved but I enjoy it, although I recommend enlisting a friend or family member to help if you don’t have a business partner. (Thanks go to my mum and brother this week!)

Highlights of today included, (apart from making sales and meeting my customers), potential interest from a journalist regarding featuring Boutiko in a weekend supplement (yes please!) and a customer who loved all my products and wanted to buy everything! Feedback is always good, whether positive or negative, but it’s always lovely to hear that people like what you’ve chosen and support what you feel passionate about. She also treated herself, which I always like because people don’t often do that, and in my experience women especially tend to feel guilty if they do.

Here is a list of items I find it useful to take to fairs: (can’t resist a nice list)

1. Pens

2. Notebook or receipt book

3. Fabric/Sheet to spread on your table.

4. Price labels

5. Calculator

6. Tin for change

7. Cash float

8. Bags

9. Bottle of water and snacks

10. Business cards

Optional extras: helper! And stock of course, but that rather goes without saying.

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Boutiko’s First Press!

Today Boutiko received our first press coverage (well, a link to the website anyway!), in Chic Today!

Hmm, the link hasn’t worked….  Try this one: http://www.chictoday.com/blog/2007/12/10/the-world-in-your-pocket/

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holly.jpgCheesy, but irresistable.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how to have a bit of a greener Christmas this year. It’s not difficult to find ways to do it given that words like ‘green’ and ‘eco’ are in daily use now, and articles on the subject abound. I’ve read an awful lot of ‘How Tos’ over the past few weeks, so I thought I’d pick my favourites and the ones I think are easiest to do (because let’s face it, most of us will only change lifelong habits if it requires minimum effort and/or cost).

A quick word on ethical gifts, you know the kind, where you buy a goat for a family in Africa and then give the lucky recipient of your gift a card saying that’s what you’ve given them. Don’t get me wrong, I’m fully in favour of giving sustainable gifts to those in need, but I just can’t make myself feel that that makes a good present for someone you care about. In my mind, a good gift is one that shows you have really thought about what the recipient would like, thus making them feel special and cherished. A present should be something someone wouldn’t buy for themselves, something treaty and possibly a bit unusual or quirky; it should say ‘I care enough about you to have put thought and effort into choosing what you would like most’. I also realise that Christmas isn’t actually supposed to be about ‘stuff’, but people give and receive presents anyway, so why not put a bit of heart into it? 

So here are some of the ideas I particularly like for greening up your Christmas:

1. Buy a potted Christmas tree which can then be planted after Christmas.

2. Be inventive with your wrapping; use fabric, newspaper and bright ribbon, brown paper and raffia – all reusable or recyclable. If don’t have these sorts of things to hand, avoid that plasticky shiny paper that won’t recycle or do anything but sit on a landfill site emitting gas long after Christmas is over (in fact several Christmases, probably).

3. Do away with the need for wrapping and buy an experience! Whether it’s a prepaid skydive or your own homemade tokens for massages or washing up duties, this is a good one for the ‘I thought about what you would really like’ thing.

4. Use solar powered or LED tree lights (no energy and less energy than traditional ones, respectively).

5. For toys that require batteries, buy up some rechargeable ones, or those clever USB batteries that charge up when you stick them in your computer.

6. Don’t leave the tree lights on all the time. (Unless they’re solar powered of course, see 4.)

7. A bit contentious, but recycle those unwanted gifts! Give them to charity shops to avoid accidentally giving them back to the people who gave you them in the first place.

8. Buy as much organic, locally produced Christmas food as possible and cut down on cruelty to turkeys, chemical free food, CO2 emissions and food miles. (Loads of brownie points here.) (Or greenie points.)

9. Use soy or beeswax candles instead of paraffin based ones. Healthier for you and the environment.

10. Save this year’s cards and (with a bit of cutting, sticking and imagination) turn them into next year’s!

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Book Recycling

Read It Swap It.

books.jpgI love this site. Register, list the books you no longer want to keep, have a browse for books you’d like to read, and swap them with other people! So simple, like most of the really good ideas: and it’s free (well, you pay postage, but it’s still cheaper than buying the book).

See the blogroll and do something good for the planet, and for you!

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As an ethical business it is important that we practice what we preach (not that we would ever dream of preaching….). It’s commonly said that you should be as transparent as possible, which makes sense; customers should be able to feel  that they are dealing with an honest and upfront business or they will shop elsewhere. Hidden costs and small print can be very offputting.

Firstly there is of course the fact that all Boutiko’s products are ethically sourced. We investigate all potential suppliers to make sure they also work in as ethical a way as possible, from recycling their office stationery to paying their workers fairly. Some of our products are made from recycled or sustainable materials, some from organic ingredients; others are handmade, either by fairly paid and treated workers abroad or by cottage industry businesses in the UK. Where possible we choose suppliers who encompass several of these aspects, in particular using UK based businesses.

We also adhere to ethical policies within the workings of the business;

~ All paper and card is either sent to recycling or reused for printing or packaging.

~ All packaging, whether from suppliers or lunch, is recycled where possible.

~ All office equipment is turned off when not in use and not left on standby.

~ When conventional light bulbs fuse they are replaced by energy saving ones.

~ Printer cartridges are sent for recycling.

~ We use eco friendly cleaning products.

~ Any business related travel is done on public transport.

~ We have plans to start donating a percentage of profits to charity as soon as it’s viable.

~ We are currently choosing an alternative energy supplier.

I will add to this list as and when we find new ways to be green! Some of these things may seem insignificant, but if everyone does their bit it all adds up. Personally I’d rather do as much as I can and make a tiny dent, than sit back, assume it would make no difference, and do nothing.

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