Archive for October, 2008

Well here’s an exciting and unexpected development in the world of Boutiko! My mum’s beauty therapist has decided to take on some of Boutiko’s products to sell in her salon, Essentials in East Preston. Elaine has run Essentials for many years now, and built up a loyal and regular customer base, so it is a huge privilege to be able to be part of that.

It’s been my long held dream to have my own shop one day, and this feels like one small and exciting step towards that. December 4th will see a late night shopping evening in East Preston, where Elaine’s selection of Boutiko’s products will be on show, along with some fantastic discounts on her own products and treatments.


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I was interviewed by Brenda at The Green Familia recently and this is what happened:

Brenda writes:

I recently caught up with Tara from Boutiko, an etailer that specialises in selling ethically produced gifts.

Who you are and your postion?

Tara Leaver.  Owner – I do pretty much everything.

The reason for starting the company?

I couldn’t find lovely, well made yet ethically produced gifts for friends and family.  I have always loved to search for gifts that show I have taken time and considered what my friends/family would like, and it has always paid off.  I wanted to provide that as a wider service.  I had also seen beautfiful handmade products while travelling and wanted to make them available here.  After some research I decided that direct importing wasn’t for me, but I discovered various companies who imported those types of products, as well as designer-makers based here in the UK.

How long have you been in business?

One year on November 22nd!

Tell us about your products?

All Boutiko’s products are carefully sourced to ensure that they have been produced as ethically as possible. This could mean they are handmade locally, fair trade, organic, recycled, or sustainable, or a combination of these criteria.  There is a key on our website so you can tell exactly how the product you buy is ethical.  As a gift website, we stock a growing range of gift type products – homewares, christening gifts, ideas for men and women, weddings, birthdays, anniversaries – in fact any occasion requiring a gift!

What is your favourite green luxury item?

My favourite luxury item from our site is the porcelain tea light holders.  They are made from what would otherwise be wasted left over porcelain after larger projects have been finished, so they are recycled and are so pretty with candles inside.

What is your top green tip?

It’s hard to choose just one!  I think the more things you can do the better, however small, such as using both sides of your printer paper, only filling the kettle with what you need, and not leaving your technology on standby.  I recently discovered the website, Love Food Hate Waste, which is brilliant for preventing food wastage, which would otherwise go to landfill sites producing nasty gases and leeching toxins into the ground.

What do you do to relax?

Yoga, reading, walking and any form of arts and crafts.

Tara’s top 3 product choices from Boutiko are:

Burts Bees Essential Body Kit

This kit includes mini versions of the products to try and is perfect to take away when travelling. Price £14.99.

Pretty Pockets

Beautifully hand embroidered pocket cushions.  These can be used as a pyjama pocket.  Produced on a fair trade basis by a family run business in Vietnam.  Choice of three designs.  Price £25.

Recycled Leather Notebooks

This is a perfect gift, even the paper is recycled.  Ideal for popping in your handbag, to jot down notes etc.  You have a choice of four jewel colours.  Price is £15.

Tara would like to offer readers of The Green Familia a 10% discount off all orders.  Just enter the code TGF01.

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I was reading a very interesting article the other day about group behaviour. People often say, and I’ve thought it myself sometimes, ‘What can I really do to make a difference? I am only one person – surely my tiny contribution to recycling/buying organic food/not buying my clothes from Primark isn’t enough to have any worthwhile impact on the world?’ It is quite easy to be demotivated by this way of thinking, especially when you see photos of landfill sites, or even just take off in an aeroplane and notice how everyone looks like ants within seconds.

To paraphrase a famous quote, ‘It only takes one candle to light a dark room’, and I think it’s worth remembering when you’re feeling a bit disheartened about the worth or impact of your own contribution. Imagine if everyone decided not to bother with recycling, or buying fair trade, or shopping for organic produce – thousands of people’s lives would be very different and not for the better.

A study at Leeds university got 200 people to walk in random directions around a room, never moving more than an arm’s length from someone else. Ten of the group had secretly received instructions on exactly where they should walk, and after only a few minutes, all 200 people were walking in the same direction. All without a single word being spoken and no instruction that anyone should follow anyone else.  When you think about it, animals take collective decisions without any verbal communication – think of flocks of birds flying south, or herds of cattle at milking time – so why should humans be any different? There is safety in numbers and there is also the potential to change things.

The ten people who changed the direction of the 190 others were 5% of that group. If 5% of us made a commitment to changing our behaviour towards our environment and our fellow man, think what could be achieved!

Which reminds me, I must take the recycling bin out.

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This is TOO exciting! We are really pleased to be stocking Lanka Kade’s beautiful hand made, fair trade toys at Boutiko.Elephant A to Z Jigsaw Puzzle

‘All their products are handmade by seven family based enterprises with whom Lanka Kade has long term working commitments. New products are designed in the UK for each supplier to utilise their individual knowledge and skills. Their aim is to provide continual employment throughout the year for each supplier, their families and their employees. A representative is employed full time in Sri Lanka to coordinate shipments, liaise with the UK on behalf of their suppliers and to arrange prompt payment for all goods supplied to Lanka Kade.

Each business is independent and supplies direct to Lanka Kade. Lanka Kade does not use middlemen, nor does it pay commissions thus enabling the suppliers to receive a fair and full price for their products. Regular contact is maintained with all their suppliers by phone, fax, email and onsite visits throughout the year both direct from UK and weekly by their Sri Lankan co-ordinator. They work closely together to maintain, improve, and update each supplier’s working practice and understanding of fair trade. Lanka Kade is currently assisting three of their suppliers with long term interest free loans used for the development of their business.

In return, their suppliers are expected to maintain a safe and pleasant working environment, equal opportunities, good rates of pay, prompt payment for both employees and in country suppliers, and a quality product at a fair price.

Children are not involved at any stage of the production of items for Lanka Kade. Lanka Kade (UK) Ltd have been approved by BAFTS (British Association of Fair Trade Shops) since 2001 as a fair trade supplier.’

Minibeasts Skipping Rope

It is such a joy to find such beautifully made products that fit in with the ethical criteria so well. The toys are tactile, brightly coloured, and in the case of our number and letter puzzles, and the fabulous Noah’s Ark, educational too.

Noah’s Ark

Find these and more on our website at http://www.boutiko.co.uk. These are going to make superb Christmas presents!

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We’ll all be watching the pennies this Christmas, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still treat our loved ones to some gorgeous gifts to mark the occasion. Here at Boutiko we have compiled a list of ‘Ten Under Ten’ – ten gifts under £10, which won’t break the bank but will still show you care. And even better, they will also give back to the people who produced them – it’s a giving extravaganza!
1. Perfect for keeping those pennies in! Silk Daisy Coin Purse (Also available in brown and blue.) £6.99
2. One of our bestsellers (left, this Somerset Lavender handmade goats milk soap is prettily packaged in fabric and smells divine. (Also available in Rosewood and Patchouli, Gardeners, and Lavender and Rose Geranium) £4.00
3. One for kids or crafty grown ups! Felt Flowers craft kit (other kits available) £6.50 (below right)

4. A little something for the Christmas tree. Beaded Tree Decoration £3.50 (below)




5. Handmade in the UK and perfect for spotting your suitcase in a sea of black at the carousel. Recycled Leather Luggage Label £3.95

6. Just on the £10 mark, Oneless Plastic Bag is an ingenious handmade shopper made from vintage saris which tucks into its own pocket to be kept in your handbag. £10

7. Rosewood and Patchouli Handcream (below left – also available in Somerset Lavender, and Lavender and Rose Geranium) – paraben free and handmade in Somerset and topped with pretty fabric to match the soap. (If you put them together it makes a lovely set for £10!) £6.00
8. Mustn’t forget the card! Recycled Christmas Card (Also available: Robin) £2.00
9. Cotton Spots Make Up Bag – the perfect size for all your bits and bobs. £7.99

10. And if you really are struggling, how about a gift voucher? They come in £5, £10 and £20 denominations.









And just to make your life even easier, don’t forget we offer next day delivery and free gift wrapping!
PS. Apologies for the somewhat inconsistent layout – it just ain’t playing ball today!

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I love it when I haven’t seen anything really new and exciting for a while and then suddenly I stumble across something so excellent I have to share. Here is just such a thing.

Most people have probably heard of Banksy by now, and he of course has spawned many wannabes. I like Banksy’s work, how you can find it unexpectedly as you turn the corner in a side street, but he’s been quite well publicised by now, even if we’re still not sure what he looks like. (Or are we?…)

However, graffiti made of moss is entirely new to me. Anna Garforth is the creator of these striking marks on London’s wallscape, inspired both by Andy Goldsworthy (one of my favourite artists) and so called ‘guerilla gardening collectives’, whose aim is to beautify neglected public areas. Garforth attaches the moss to the wall using biodegradable ingredients, and she is gradually doing one sentence of a verse of a poem written by her friend, the poet Eleanor Stevens.

I just love the use of natural elements to create such a beautiful, tactile work of art. Wish I’d thought of it.

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The new season always means new ranges added to our already fabulous lines of gifts at Boutiko. This month we are really excited about the new recycled clocks and Burt’s Bees skincare we’ve just received, and there will be plenty more to follow.

A Short Walk is a company which produces clocks and thermometers from recycled coffee cups, producing pieces that look very much like slate and are surprisingly weighty considering where they come from.

They come in two styles, classic, with numbers 1-12, and Traditional, as above. There is also a clock/thermometer combination, which can be kept outside and, due to the distinctive face, easily read from the bottom of the garden! These are already proving popular, so why not get yours now as a fantastic and unusual Christmas present that’s sure to be a talking point?

Also this month, we are delighted to introduce Burt’s Bees to our skincare range. Burt’s Bees have been around for quite a while now, and you are probably familiar with the name if not the products themselves. The company strive to get as many natural ingredients into their products as possible, making them ideal for sensitive skins and babies too.

This Dopp Kit is especially produced for men and we think it would make a great Christmas present, especially with the canvas wash bag which will be useful for trips abroad and weekends away. The products have a subtle, naturally fresh scent due to the essential oils used, and includes ingredients such as calendula and soothing chamomile.

World Animal Day

On October 4th it’s World Animal Day, which will appeal to anyone with a love and concern for the welfare of animals around the world, especially endangered species. There will be all kinds of events to celebrate our furry/feathered/scaly friends and raise funds for animal welfare.

Pollyanna Pickering, wildlife artist, sums it up perfectly I think: “World Animal Day provides a wonderful opportunity for us all to celebrate the ways in which our lives are enriched by animals – and to support all the hardworking organisations which are striving to end animal suffering worldwide.”
To find out more, visit http://www.worldanimalday.org.uk/index.asp.

Here’s my favourite animal, Coco, even if she is a naughty little minx sometimes.

Have a lovely month!

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