News | Eighteen Rabbit Fair Trade


Any requests from Mexico? New lines or old favourites!

by Andrew Williams | December 10, 2016 | 0 Comments

Excitement levels are running at record levels here in Rabbit Towers as we look beyond Christmas to our upcoming trip to Mexico in the new year. It's a beautiful country which we know reasonably well having visited in the past - in fact, this will be our sixth trip in twelve years! We're flying in and out of Mexico City, and driving from the capital over to the west coast via Guadalajara.

We know that many of our customers love our selection of products from Mexico - from small, ornate tin mirrors up to beautiful, handwoven rugs. Perhaps there's an item you've seen in the shop but didn't get a chance to buy, or perhaps you have a favourite Mexican item we haven't stocked up until now? Well, here is your chance! Within reason, we'll be aiming to bring back a good selection of new stock from our trip, so if you have requests, let us know about them. No promises, but we'll do our best!

We're particularly excited about sourcing some Huichol art from Nayarit, visiting our friends at Fabrica Social in Mexico City, and visiting the craft hotspot of Tonala on the outskirts of Guadalajara. And don't worry if you're planning to be in Hay in January - the shop will still be open thanks to the wonderful Dora! Check the website for exact opening hours nearer the time.  

Tagged: 2017, eighteen rabbit, Fairtrade, hay on wye, mexico

Happy World Vegan Day! From a curious carnivore...

by Andrew Williams | November 01, 2016 | 0 Comments

I was asked an interesting question at West Midlands VegFest on Sunday. Are you a vegan? While you might think that would be a question you'd know the answer to instantly, I hesitated for a moment before saying no. 

I do eat a predominantly plant-based diet. So that's vegetables, fruit, beans, rice, but no meat, fish, eggs or dairy. There are a few reasons for this. Firstly, the food is delicious, and it makes me more careful about what I'm eating. So rather than transferring something from the freezer to the oven, I'm following recipes and making things from scratch - like these delicious deep fried "chicken" wings!

Secondly, eating a plant based diet has a hugely positive effect on the environment. In fact, factory agriculture accounts for roughly the same amount of carbon emissions as the whole of the global transport sector combined. 

And of course there is animal welfare. With plans currently on the table for another factory chicken farm in Clyro, I couldn't in all good conscience enjoy my KFC.  

At Eighteen Rabbit we sell a cool selection of different vegan items - from wallets to chocolate to skincare. 

But - I'm not a vegan. Every now and then I'll get a pizza from Dominos, cheese and all. When we're in Mexico I'll be enjoying some delicious chorizo. When I'm at relatives' houses I'll eat whatever my host has prepared for me. It may seem like a hopeless contradiction. But actually my "sustainable journey" which started at Seventeen Events and continues at Eighteen Rabbit, has taught me that perfection is rarely possible. What matters is doing your best, as often as you can, and not giving up altogether when you choose a less than optimal path.  

So I couldn't genuinely call myself a vegan - though I may well one day. For now, I am a proud member of the Vegan Society and enjoying doing whatever I can to promote a plant based lifestyle.  

There's an old joke: 

Q: How do you know if someone's a vegan? 

A: Don't worry, they'll tell you!

So apologies if I've fallen into that trap. But I do have a sense of humour about it! Happy World Vegan Day anyway :) 

Tagged: eighteen rabbit, Fairtrade, food, hay on wye, mexico, vegan

A spooky fair trade Halloween - from Mexico!

by Andrew Williams | October 24, 2016 | 0 Comments

We love Mexico - as anyone who has been in the shop will testify! It's an incredibly friendly country with amazing food, jaw-dropping scenery and just slightly better weather than here in the UK. Of course, it has its problems - corruption, issues with drugs, and levels of poverty we're not used to here in the UK. But it's a place we have visited again and again and never grown tired of. November sees one of our favourite Mexican festivals - the Day of the Dead. 

Day of the Dead takes place on the 1st and 2nd November, and all over Mexico families will go to clean up graveyards, tidy up memorials to their ancestors, and generally celebrate the lives of their forefathers. It's a hugely upbeat festival - without any of the morbidity or sadness we associate with death or funerals. It's also very moving to see people who feel connected to the past - not shutting off their feelings or emotions. We think it's a healthy thing! 

Every year we get a selection of skulls from Mexico, and I have to say this year's batch are the best yet. Our contact Alberto runs a project called Mexican Fine Arts, and he hand-picks the items from artisans across the country. This year he was in Cuernavaca, a city we lived in for a while on 2005, and where Malcolm Lowry set his masterpiece "Under the Volcano." The skulls capture the colour, passion and humour of Mexico perfectly.

We've taken the difficult decision not to sell the skulls online this year - they are difficult to post, and to be honest sell so quickly in the shop that by the time we've done the photography they'd be gone! But if you simply must have one - drop us a line and we can discuss :)    

We also have a fantastic "Day of the Dead" party coming up in Hay - Friday 4th November at Hay Castle!


Tagged: day of the dead, eighteen rabbit, Fairtrade, halloween, hay on wye, mexico

Fair trade treats from south of the border

by Andrew Williams | February 14, 2015 | 0 Comments

Well, we have now just about recovered from our epic trip to Mexico. I cannot hand-on-heart claim that it was all work, but we did meet some incredible new suppliers as well as catching up with some of our existing far trade cooperatives. While we were in the USA we also took the opportunity to meet up with Mata Traders, who produce some of the amazing dresses we stock. They were exhibiting at the Atlanta Gift Show, and while we were there we also met another great new supplier called Refugee Beads - look out for their lovely jewellery coming soon!


Mexico was the main event however. We now have new (but limited) stock of some truly beautiful new pieces:

  • Tin mirrors, beaten by hand - all slightly different. These now come in a lovely presentation pack, and are still just £5. 
  • Wooden "alebrije" figures, hand carved and painted. These are already going quickly!
  • Tortilla warmers! perfect for the chef who has everything, or any aspiring Mexican cook.  
  • An incredible new selection of rugs from Oaxaca, woven on wooden looms using 100% wool and natural plant and mineral dyes. Obviously only one each of these. 


We spent the last three days of our trip in Mexico City, and were lucky enough to meet some more incredible new suppliers. We will be adding new stock from all of our talented producers during the year so stay tuned!

Tagged: alebrije, eighteen rabbit, fair trade, Mexico, rugs, tin, tortilla warmer

Papel Picado - an unusual fair trade gift from Mexico

by Andrew Williams | November 19, 2013 | 0 Comments

One item which we get a lot of comments on in the shop is our range of "Papel Picado" banners. These paper decorations from Mexico look like traditional banners or streamers until you look a little closer and notice that they feature depictions of skulls, skeletons and other spooky stuff! They are a hugely popular decoration around the Mexican Day of the Dead festival or Dia de los Muertos which takes place at the start of November. However they make an interesting and unusual decoration at any time of the year. The 5m long string features 16 multicoloured panes in each pack.  


Tagged: day of the dead, dia de los muertos, fair trade, fairtrade, mexico, papel picado