Vendor Spotlight: Just Trade

By now we’re all aware of fair trade. Fair trade gives you the power to change the world every day just from being a little more savvy when picking up your shopping. But for a long time, it also covered simply providing a fair wage to workers.

Now, enterprises like Just Trade are here to say that fair trade is so much more than just a fair wage. Their collaborative business approach means it cultivates long-lasting relationships with its artisans. Combining traditional craft skills with expert knowledge, every piece of Just Trade jewellery is handmade using locally-sourced materials from eight groups based in Peru, Ecuador, India and Vietnam. You can shop their collection at The Big Issue Shop!

This handmade hammered gold plated bangle was made by the women in the Flowering Desert Project in Tamil Nadu, India.

While this handmade cosmetic case made from screen-printed linen comes from a World Fair Trade Organisation registered factory in Vietnam that employs over 100 marginalised workers from Hanoi and the surrounding areas to make textiles.

Coming from economically disadvantaged communities, each of these makers receives not only a fair wage for their work, but training opportunities and fair conditions too.

Vendor Spotlight: Elephant Branded

“The idea of Elephant Branded is like The Big Issue in that it is run like business, not a charity, and shows that business can be a force for good.”

That’s the view of James Munro Boon, co-founder of Elephant Branded – a social enterprise that make bags, laptop cases and wallets out of recyclable materials to make a difference.

For every one sold, a child in Cambodia gets a school bag to help them with their studies.

“The idea of Elephant Branded is like The Big Issue in that it is run like a business, not a charity, and shows that business can be a force for good.”

That’s the view of James Munro Boon, co-founder of Elephant Branded – a social enterprise that make bags, laptop cases and wallets out of recyclable materials to make a difference.

For every one sold, a child in Cambodia gets a school bag to help them with their studies.

“To be honest, that’s the only reason I do it,” he says. “I go out there every three or four months and that has been since uni when I was spending all my student loan on flights out there every five or six months.

“I’ve seen kids growing up and have their own children thanks to the work we do. I love spending time there and I think that the really valuable thing is where we support people to run their own business and build their own lives.”

While Elephant Branded faces a constant battle to find new recyclable materials – with a struggle to find a waste material available in high volume that doesn’t vary in quality and consistency – it is constantly attempting to innovate with new products on the way.

But the original three ranges of products are available in The Big Issue Shop.

“As well as the exposure, I think working with The Big Issue adds a degree of credibility,” says James.

“Just like how it is wrong for me to Cambodia and tell people what to do and how to run their business, The Big Issue gives vendors a chance to work their way out of poverty.

“And I think that people who buy The Big Issue have the same ethos and concerns as we do. I’ve met a family in Cambodia that I would never have had a chance to meet and that’s where I see the synergy with The Big Issue.”

Vendor Spotlight: Damsel & Daughter

Damsel & Daughter

Vendor Spotlight: Damsel & Daughter

Founded by Mai Gornall, DAMSEL & DAUGHTER, sell beautifully crafted leather and vegan leather coin purses which raise funds to improve women’s health in London.  Marrying her love for crafts with social consciousness, Mai Gornall formed Damsel & Daughter to respond to issues surrounding women in poverty. The word ‘damsel’ finds its roots in ‘women of noble birth’ as Gornall believes all women are created nobel.

Damsel & Daughter

Born from wanting to figure out some way of giving women in disadvantaged positions back their dignity, Gornall found a need for regular feminine hygiene packs. This lead to the creation of the leather coin purses which the proceeds would help fund feminine hygiene packs. These coin purses are all up-cycled from leather and faux leather off-cuts sourced on Brick Lane. The silver model is made from vegan leather.

The packs are then are distributed to various shelters across London, such as The Manna Society and the Hackney Migrant Centre.

SHOP DAMSEL & DAUGHTER

Damsel & Daughter

Vendor Spotlight: Good News Shared

Vendor Spotlight: Good News Shared

Good News Shared is shining a light on the uplifting, charitable things that are happening all around us to help people feel more optimistic and to inspire people to make positive contributions to their community.

Studies have found that hearing and sharing good news can have a number of positive effects on us, including increased optimism and reduced stress levels. Good News Shared aims to put this at the forefront, promoting charitable events and positive mental health.

They have since created a guided journal with daily reflection questions to help you notice, remember and appreciate the good things from your day.

Called, The Moments Journal, this book gives you a positivity boost every evening as countless studies have shown focusing on positive moments, kindness and good news can increase your happiness and reduce your stress levels.

Vendor Spotlight: Jerry

Jerry Bottle

Vendor Spotlight: Jerry

Jerry cares about decreasing plastic bottle pollution, getting clean water to everyone and furthermore, keeping you in good health. A million single-use plastic water bottles are bought around the world every minute and Jerry believes we need to change this environmental crisis together. All profits from the sale of Jerry’s beautiful reusable water bottles go to making clean water projects across India and Tanzania, with their sister company – The Waterfall Charity.

As well as this, by looking at the bottom of the reusable steel jerry water bottle, there will be the coordinates of the water project that purchase has funded so you can trace exactly which village your bottle is funding.

Jerry is working on setting up free-refill spots by working with shops and restaurants to let people fill their jerry bottles. They also work with corporate companies, schools and universities to educate and encourage people about sustainable alternatives to single-use plastic bottles.

SHOP JERRY 

Jerry

Vendor Spotlight: Forgiveness Project

The Forgiveness Project

Vendor Spotlight: Forgiveness Project

The Forgiveness Project works in communities, prisons, schools, and with anyone wishing to explore peaceful solutions to conflict and pain.
All profits from the sale of The Forgiveness Project products go back into the project enabling them to support more people.

Founded in 2004 by journalist, Marina Cantacuzino, The Forgiveness Project provides resources and experiences to help people examine and overcome their own unresolved grievances. The testimonies they collect ”bear witness to the resilience of the human spirit and act as a powerful antidote to narratives of hate and dehumanisation, presenting alternatives to cycles of conflict, violence, crime and injustice.”

The Forgiveness Project

This idea informs their work across multiple platforms – in publications and educational resources, through the international F Word exhibition, in public conversations, and their award-winning RESTORE prison programme.

RESTORE is The Forgiveness Project’s award-winning, intensive group-based intervention programme that supports prisoners in their process of change towards a crime-free life. They currently have two publications out, the most recent one – Forgiveness is Really Strange is a beautifully illustrated book that explores the complexity of forgiveness. The Forgiveness Project collates powerful real-life stories from survivors and perpetrators of crime and violence worldwide. They reveal the very real impact of forgiveness on their lives and offers alternatives to resentment, retaliation and revenge.

the Forgiveness Project

Vendor Spotlight: Impossible

Impossible Photo Credit: Peppermint Magazine

Vendor Spotlight: Impossible

Impossible creates products with a transparent supply chain and great design. They aim to give consumers more choice by knowing where the products come from and who they are made by. Every Impossible product has great people and a great story behind it.

One of these products is the Josiah ceramic speaker. This Bluetooth speaker is made from Cornish clay in Stoke-on-Trent and hand finished in London. This speaker is chargeable and portable so perfect for summer evenings out in the garden or long baths in the winter. Josiah is compatible with any smartphone that is Bluetooth enabled and has no buttons as it features a unique touch interface.

This product is presented in recycled and recyclable materials and is available here.

Speaker

Speaker

 

Vendor Spotlight: The Social Mercenary

The Social Mercenary

Vendor Spotlight: The Social Mercenary

Founded by Jack Fellows, The Social Mercenary is dedicated to bringing a distinctly West African flavour to modern street apparel. They take an ethical approach to textile manufacturing and have teamed up with social enterprises in Ghana to create a unique range of clothing, bags and accessories. All of their products are manufactured using local fabrics and our business supports local communities to create an incredible set of unique on-trend products.

It all started in Hong Kong when Jack, working in a job he didn’t enjoy living in a room effectively the size of a coffin he began to think of those precious times back in Ghana and back to those beautiful fabrics that so inspired him and, the amount of attention and praise he got for his new, quirky backpack.

It took time but day after day Jack shared this message with others and at one particular fair, was dragging people in through the door in order to tell people about his mission. “On the days that I didn’t have meetings I took a suitcase full of bags and flyers down to the local universities and just set up and told my story to EVERY single person that walked past”. After time Jack began to sell more and more bags and was even picked up by news journalist Alessandro Meccheri that studied at Hong Kong University.

Jack then managed to make enough money to go back to Ghana, where he met Ethical Apparel Africa. He found with the first set of backpacks that they were all so different and that quality wasn’t consistent throughout. After several meetings with EAA they have redesigned the backpacks for superior quality.

Vendor Spotlight: GLOW

GLOW

Vendor Spotlight: GLOW

Founded by Comet Chukura, who graduated from The London College of Fashion, GLOW enables you to stand with those who are vulnerable, as you stand out at night. Each piece is individually handmade by disadvantaged women, providing them with an opportunity to gain work skills, a supplementary income and be part of a greater community. GLOW aims to empower their makers, paying them a fair wage, utilising their established skill set and enabling them to believe and realise their value.

Glow Agape White Hat

The light reflective accessories range are expertly crocheted using a cutting-edge wool blend that has a 15% glass fibre component woven into it which is light reflective. Meaning in the daytime, the pieces look trendy whilst at night, the glass fibre elements reflect light: car light, road lights etc and come to life, illuminating the wearer as light bounces off of it. The delicate knit texture makes it soft to the skin and luxurious to wear making it a unique gift that looks good and feels good.

Vendor Spotlight: The Do Book Company

Vendor Spotlight: The Do Book Company

The Do Book Company is an independent publishing house based in Shoreditch, London. Their books are written by speakers from the ‘Do Lectures’ whose ideas have inspired others to go and ‘Do’. The Do Book Company aims to recreate that same positive change in book form – whether that’s the mastery of a new skill or craft, a simple mind-shift, or a shot of inspiration to help you get started. Plus, 5% of the proceeds of each sale will go back into the ‘Do Lectures’ to help it achieve its aim of making positive change.

Each book is fairly short, about 100 pages, as it focuses on the ‘doing’ rather than the background theory. Concise, practical guides that make it easier to ‘Do’ stuff. With a wide variety of topics and skills, there’s bound to be a book for you. The Do Book Company also has various filmed talks which can be found on their website here.