Ethical gifts from around the world at the Fair Trade Shop
- Credit: Archant
These are tough times for retail in the High Street, but some shops are benefitting from a growing concern for the ethics of production.
In Ipswich, the Fair Trade Shop is ticking all the ethical boxes, selling a vast range of products from the four corners of the world, intended to better reward the people who make them and its sales are increasing.
There are clothes, foods and beverages, homewares from carpets to lamp holders, wooden toys, silver jewellery and a whole lot more.
There are sourced from India and South America, Africa and Indonesia.
The Ipswich shop is 28 years-old, and coming up for four years in its premises in Upper Brook Street, and it is a not-for-profit business, mainly reliant on a team of volunteers, with a part-time paid manager.
One popular line is incense and scented candles, so when walking in the shop it always has an exotic blend of perfumes.
Organiser Margaret Fish took me round the shop.
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She has been involved sinces the early years, when it was started by an Ipswich church. Then it moved to a shop in Orwell Place before coming to this central location.
"You have got to go into the High Street, although you have rent and rates, to meet the public.
She said: "I think people want to know where their things come from these days. A lot more people are concerned.
"Although you can buy online, you have no idea what things are like.
"The beauty of a shop like this is you can see and feel the texture so much better.
"There are lots of beautiful products."
Everything was sourced from Fair Trade and ethical sources, and the aim was to be reasonably priced, with nothing over £100.
"Some items fly off the shelves.
"Anything at all with elephants on it is popular."
We sipped cups of Breakfast Blend tea, from East Africa, and there is an enormous range of teas, coffees and chocolate.
It might only be summer but my thoughts immediately turned to Christmas and birthday presents for people who care.
There are drums and musical instruments from India and Africa.
And there is lovely silver jewellery from India and Ecuador, handmade wooden toys from Sri Lanka and finger puppets from Peru.
Or perhaps a Himalayan salt lamp? Or an Indian rug?
For more details go to the shop website.
7 Unusual gifts from the Fair Trade Shop
Himalayan colour-changing salt lamp, from £12
Hand-made wooden Noah's Ark with animals, £38
Metal heron garden ornament £32.50
Patchwork leather bag £34
Fair trade incense £1.80 each
Multi-coloured caps £10.80
Wooden giraffes £19.70