Monday, 24 May 2010

Baby shopping!
Barely a day goes by now without one of my friends popping a baby out (I mean seriously, how unethical is that?). This month I find myself needing to buy a 1st birthday present, a baby shower present (don’t rant about another American trend coming over here, taking all our British trends jobs - they’re good fun!!) a new born present and a 3rd birthday present. Which is lovely and very exciting!
For the new born and the 1st birthday am planning to get them something to wear. For the 3 year old a toy and for the baby shower I can’t say as it's a surprise and I am hoping that my friend will read the blog (cause what else are your friends for if not to be forced to spend their time at work religiously reading your blog).
Now when my friends saw the reference to baby clothes on my last entry the general feedback was ‘please no hemp’. And my friends are all quite hippy yummy mummy types. Seems no matter how many cotton bags you own and how much plastic you recycle, when it comes to clothes, some stereotypes run deep.
In light of the whole bikini thing I have decided to venture off high street so went to Spitalfields Market (non Londoners see here It's so lovely and rather excitedly you can barely move for organic soil approved baby wear. No seriously, there were loads of baby stalls.

And some of it was really nice (yes, despite being organic!) This stall in particular I really liked - some really cute stuff. I love this pacman baby grow. Organic however is all well and good but is it fair trade? Well this long detailed pages seems to suggest so: MimiMyne info (however it's interesting that people seem to want to scream about eco credentials in the market but even if they are fair trade they don’t make such a big deal about this? Reflective of what we care about in society, perhaps?)
One place that does however scream about its fair trade-ness is this site And it has some fab baby presents too. But what I really like about this site is for each thing you buy it also has a detailed summary of the country that the product came from as well as the actual supplier.

For example if I were to buy these Noah Arc Bookends then I would know that they were made in Sri Lanka, by a company called Lanka Kade ("The Sri Lankan shop"). Great. But I also know that this company has been operating for 10 years. The products are made by seven family based enterprises in Sri Lanka. Lanka Kade ensures that there is continual employment for each of these suppliers, their families and employees throughout the year. I also know that Lanka Kade works with these enterprises to ensure that working conditions and wages are good, that the products are of the highest quality and that no children are involved in any stage of production. How is that for not being vague! And every product on the website has this.
So all good – lots of choice and ideas for what to buy. However it is often much more expensive than high street shopping (by which I mean everything I researched, not these 2 examples in particular). Which makes sense but is kind of hard to swallow. And also leaves you with the dilemma of how do you let your friend know that whilst you may have just bought one small baby size t-shirt, it did actually cost the equivalent of the giant multi pack with matching hat, socks and vest that someone else bought. Is it ethical to leave the price on ‘by mistake’? Do you hope they will realise when they see the labels screaming about the eco credentials? Or do you just assume they will read the blog, put 2 and 2 together and realise that not only are you not being tight but you are saving the planet they are insisting on over populating? So there is no confusion, I will go for all 3 and probably round it off by telling them the price too!

1 comment:

  1. Hi, it's great to read a blog from someone who visited my stall! I'm glad you liked the products and I'll be back on the stall on Sunday 13th June! At the moment, I don't have many Fair Trade products. The garments I sell on my website which are specifically Fair trade as well as certified organic are designed by Animal Tails (

    This is partly because I have been sourcing most of my suppliers from within the UK, as I'd rather be able to deal directly with designers and have as much knowledge as possible about the supply chain before I sell a product. I am however in contact with various Fair Trade companies and hope to add some new Fair Trade products in 2010.

    Another issue for me is that knowing a product is certified organic means I know it is produced using non-toxic processes, whereas with a Fair Trade only garment this is not always true (although Fair Trade cotton does have a less rigorous environmental standard of its own). It's a complex issue!

    I will be writing about this on my blog, as these issues are complex for consumers trying to shop ethically. My view is that the best method is to offer people a choice and explain the reasons why those products are ethical: becaue they are organic, or made in the UK, or made of recycled materials, so that people can make a decision about what to buy based on the information they are given.

    I hope this is helpful, do let me know if you'd like any more information!