Archive for March, 2009

All Earth Squared’s designs originate in Scotland, and are then made up in Vietnam. Earth Squared has been working closely with a fair trade company based in Northern Vietnam for the past 6 years. They work together to ensure fair trade criteria are embedded into everyday working life, and the company is a member of BAFTS.


All employees are over 18 years old; are paid 4 times the national minimum wage and working conditions all abide by fair trade criteria. Due to the success of the workshops, good training opportunities and the company’s reputation, there is a waiting list of people wanting to work with the group.


All of the women working are trained on the job at the workshop in Hanoi. Each person is encouraged to progress and learn new skills so that they can be promoted. The working conditions at the workshops are clean and safe and the staff have regular breaks and days off work. There is flexibility for mothers who breastfeed as well as a system in place for women who are unable to come to work due to a child being ill and off school for example.


The company give disadvantaged women the opportunity and support to improve their lives through secure work, training and a healthy working life giving them financial security and self confidence.

Each purchase helps us all to create more work opportunities for other disadvantaged women and change their lives and those of their families.


The products include various ranges of bags, scarves, purses and jewellery rolls, our perennial bestsellers. Each piece is made with care, producing pretty and affordable gifts and accessories for all occasions. Check out our recently added spring scarves and beach bags, and silk velvet jewellery rolls.


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It’s so easy – just click this link: http://surveys.verticalresponse.com/a/show/350910/4c071f0379/0, fill in the survey (less than 20 questions!) and you will be entered into the prize draw to win this gorgeous tealight set – perfect to light up your home after your spring clean!

homedetailThe draw will take place on April 7th. International entries welcome. 🙂

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There were over eight hundred entries for the competition we ran on Daisy Green, but of course only one winner, and that was BonnieYork, from Chelmsford in Essex. Enjoy the bag Bonnie!

We have just had some new jewellery rolls in from the same supplier, Earth Squared. They are made of silk velvet, and are gorgeously strokable. And at only ÂŁ11.99, they make a fabulous gift! browngreenjr

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Well my article wasn’t the overall winner, but I was very pleased to make it to the shorlist of thirteen. The winner was Corinna Gordon – Barnes with her inspiring and heartfelt article The World Needs Your Passion. Corinna put into words something that has been vaguely swimming around my head for a while now, but which I hadn’t yet articulated. I really recommend taking a couple of minutes to read her article; I guarantee you’ll feel more hopeful than a few minutes before!

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Lanka Kade make Fair Trade wooden toys. All the toys are designed in house in the UK, and made on a Fair Trade basis in Sri Lanka.  elephantaz

Lanka Kade translates as ‘the Sri Lankan shop’ and was set up in 1994 by husband and wife team Upul and Diane, with the aim of providing an outlet for items produced by small craft enterprises in Sri Lanka. As time went on Lanka Kade developed a product range of educational toys and gifts for young children utilising Diane’s teaching and playwork background.tortoise1to5

Their joint experiences of living and working in Sri Lanka made them determined to operate Lanka Kade with a fair trade approach.

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.


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. 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 businesses.


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.

smallnoahsarkMany of Lanka Kade’s products are made from rubberwood sourced from exhausted rubber plantations that are replanted every 10 – 15 years. They use recycled products when available – the majority of their outer packing cartons are already once used and the packing materials are either shredded paper or materials supplied by local retail outlets from their own deliveries. Lanka Kade products and packaging are all PVC free and they strive to avoid the use of excessive packaging.

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Ooffoo Laureate

Some time ago, I saw something about writing a piece for something called the ‘Ooffoo Laureate’. Ooffoo is a community based site connected with the Natural Collection where you can air your views and learn more about being green. (Apparently OOFFOO is the html code for green – cunning eh!) The people who run it say Ooffoo exists to be “a thriving and positive space that encourages new and innovative ideas, sustainable thinking, a peaceful approach to living.” Isn’t that lovely!

So anyway, they were running a competition, and as you may remember, I entered a piece on supporting small British craft businesses. Then today I got this email:

Dear Tara
We wanted to write and personally thank you from the bottom of our
hearts for having the courage and passion to enter the Ooffoo Laureate
competition. I am pleased to announce that you successfully made it on
to the shortlist. Well done! That in itself was no mean feat as you
faced very tough competition to get shortlisted. The winner and two
runners-up will be revealed at 10am on Friday 20th March 2009 via the
ooffoo.com homepage. And regardless of who wins we hope you will join us
in applauding all your fellow shortlist members and their shortlisted
Once again, many thanks for joining in…all change starts with a single
spark. You should be very proud…
Kindest regards
Al Tepper

How nice is that?! I read several of the other entries and thought they were way out of my league. I was very touched that mine was considered worthy of shortlisting.

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Jane Maddern runs her soap making business from her home in Somerset, and has been doing so for over twelve years. She uses mostly full-cream milk from a local small herd of dairy goats, which produces a super-mild heavenly soap with a rich creamy lather that won’t dry out your skin. They are enriched with extras such as shea butter, macadamia nut oil and sweet almond oil too.gardener

Jane offers a wide range of soaps, handcreams and balms. Here at Boutiko we stock only those which have been fragranced with essential oils, in order to maintain our ethos of selling the most natural beauty products possible. The oils are often sourced locally, such as the lavender, and every soap is carefully wrapped by hand using gorgeous fabrics. We haven’t seen this anywhere else and think it really adds the perfect final touch.

lavrosehandcreamThe hand creams are paraben free and made from a light, non-greasy luxurious base, with added aloe vera, borage and comfrey extract to soften and condition your hands. They are finished off with fabric to match the soaps.


Jane has recently introduced a fabric recycling scheme, whereby the fabric pieces from the soaps and creams can be returned to her, and they will be made up into quilts and sold for charity.

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