News | Eighteen Rabbit Fair Trade


Two perspectives on fair trade

by Andrew Williams | February 17, 2014 | 0 Comments

Fair trade should be simple. We as consumers buy things knowing that the people who have produced them have been paid fairly. But as with many supposedly straightforward ideas, it gets more complicated when you drill down into the details.


Our friend and neighbour Oliver Balch linked to this excellent piece in the Stanford Social Innovation Review which looks at a subtle yet fundamental point of difference between some of the big players. It should be said right from the beginning that both sides of the debate have their hearts in the right place. Nevertheless, it seems to have turned into something of minor schism between those who believe fair trade should be producer led or consumer led. While this may seem like a fairly esoteric distinction, these wrangles can end up distracting us from the main issue.


In the first camp, perhaps best personified by the Fairtrade Foundation in the UK, we have those who are focussed on the producers. Prices will be set to work around their margins and their needs, replenishment times will fit to their schedules, and so forth. In the other camp we have groups such as Fair Trade USA who see the fair trade revolution as being a consumer led campaign. The more consumers can be persuaded to purchase fair trade products, the better life will be for the producers, but the focus has to be on the customer - get the packaging right, make it attractive to them, get the price points right, and the products start to become mainstream.


Do we have to pick a side? No, of course not. But it may interest our customers to know where we come down on the balance sheet. For us, the focus has, and always will be, on the people who make our products. That doesn't mean we don't want more customers, or aren't interested in growing the market for fair trade products. For us, however, the imperative behind our brand is to make the world a better place. We do that (in our own small way) by choosing producers whose work we love, and who we think will inspire our customers. If we start to get sidetracked by market forces and a "race to the bottom" in pricing we'll have failed our suppliers as well as the people who buy from us.     


Ultimately, it comes down to a choice between cooperation and system change vs globalisation and market forces. For us, our fair trade mission will be best served by "new laws and new governments and new policies... to change the structures of power," as Harriet Lamb of Fairtrade puts it. If we as a business can become "change agents" - influencing the debate, putting pressure on those in power for change, and informing our customers about how they can help - then perhaps we can really make a difference. 

Tagged: 2014, fair trade, fairtrade, harriert lamb, oliver balch

New stock coming soon

by Andrew Williams | February 09, 2014 | 0 Comments

We had a very productive trip to the "Spring Fair" show in Birmingham this week - thousands of suppliers and it was really heartening to see so many fair trade products for sale. We will have lots of exciting new stock soon, so keep checking back to find out more! Among our forthcoming new lines are...


 - An incredible selection of summery womenswear which will be perfect for holidays and festivals.

 - Some gorgeous scarves - great from Spring onwards and practical all year round. 

 - Stylish jewellery lines sourced from a new fair trade supplier in Africa. 

 - More of our ever popular bamboo range. 

 - Incredible jewellery and bags from a fair trade project in the Philippines. 


We'll have all of the details on these great new lines soon! Don't forget we offer free UK shipping on all orders over £40. 

Tagged: 2014, apparel, fair trade, fairtrade, spring, spring fair

Fair trade trade fair

by Andrew Williams | February 03, 2014 | 0 Comments

It's a bit of a tongue-twister, but we're taking a short break from fair trade tomorrow to go to a trade fair - Spring Fair at the NEC in Birmingham. The start of the year is a great opportunity to look back at what has tickled our customers' fancy over the past twelve months, and think about which styles and designs may be hot for 2014. 

We're hoping to see some new suppliers who may have interesting new products for the shop, and to catch up with some of our existing partners. Wherever possible we will source products directly from the artists or cooperatives which produce them, but our UK-based suppliers play a hugely important role in making fair trade products accessible to a home-grown audience.

We hope to have the results of our latest expedition online soon - keep checking back for some fantastic new lines in 2014. 

Tagged: 2014, eighteen rabbit, spring, spring fair

Fair trade in 2014

by Andrew Williams | January 26, 2014 | 0 Comments

We're back in the shop after an incredible trip to Cuba. A really remarkable place, and without adding to the cliches, a "land of contradictions." The country seemed to be teetering on a see-saw balanced between left and right. Friends we've spoken to who have visited previously tell us it has changed a huge amount over the past decade, and I've no doubt the next ten years will see that change continue. At its heart though the story of the revolutionary struggle was quite remarkable to see played out in reality. 

Now that we're getting back into the swing of things we have big plans for 2014. We want to increase the diverse range of products we're stocking to reach as many potential customers as possible. We hope to grow our online audience so that customers outside of Hay can still join in the fun - if there is anyone you can recommend us to we would really appreciate it!

We are also planning an exciting event for the spring - Hay Green Fair, a celebration of all that's great about green Britain. We'll have inspiring speakers, great stalls, activities and fun for all the family. More news on that soon. 

Thanks for choosing to shop fair trade in 2014 - you are making a real difference. 

Tagged: 2014, eighteen rabbit, fair trade, fairtrade, hay green fair, hay on wye, spring