Fairly Traded Gifts at Jacaranda Blue
Jacarandablue is an online shop that aims to offer ethically sourced products without compromising on style or variety. Owner, Louise Longworth, describes how the idea came about while she was on holiday in South Africa.
I found myself both impressed and dismayed by the trade that had sprung up on street corners and at traffic lights. Street vendors selling all manner of crafts and gadgets are a common sight, often standing all day in the hot sun to make some money.
There is still a great deal of poverty in South Africa but, rather than resort to the indignity of begging, these resourceful people had created a small living for themselves. What impressed me the most was the entrepreneurial nature and ingenuity of the craftspeople. Using traditional skills, they managed to create all manner of amazing art and crafts that anyone would be proud to have in their home.
However what I found objectionable was the way in which more affluent members of society and holiday makers would take advantage of the street vendors by making ridiculously low offers for the craftwork. Often the vendors would sell at low prices simply because they were desperate for money and what the buyer doesn’t realise is that what may be a small saving to them could be a significant amount of money to the seller in terms of feeding their family.
On returning to the UK, I was determined to start a business based on fair trade principles in order to share these products with others who would appreciate them and at the same time help some of the poorer communities in South Africa. I initially worked with a talented wire and bead craftsman that I had met on that holiday and two IFAT* registered organisations in South Africa to develop a range of gifts and homeware to sell online. Jacaranda Blue now sources additional products from several different countries around the world, always making sure that fair trade principles are adhered to.
When sourcing new products, quality and style are important and I’m always keen to point out that they don’t sell the types of products usually associated with cheap holiday souvenirs. Both the companies and the individuals we’ve dealt with are very aware that in order to create a sustainable business, they need to create quality products that are contemporary and have global appeal. They’re constantly applying their traditional skills to creating new and exciting designs. We are proud of the products we sell, not just because of how they’ve been sourced, but because they are also very desirable in their own right.
Jacaranda Blue’s range of fairly traded gifts now includes decorative items, organic bath and beauty products, handcrafted jewellery, recycled products and much more. They can all be bought online at Jacaranda Blue
*IFAT is the global network of Fair Trade Organisations