It’s Fair Trade Fortnight! I’ve been a keen advocate of ethically made products for many years and it is this belief that led to me founding an eco-bag printing business in 2007. I created an eco-ethical business in which I worked with fair trade accredited suppliers in India. They made natural, canvas tote bags for me, which I imported into the UK and then my eco-print factory printed them on a short lead time from our base in the heart of industrial Sheffield.
I foresaw that there would be a demand for sustainable and ethical solutions to business and life and Bag It Don’t Bin It (aka BIDBI) solved a problem in that it provided an attractive and affordable alternative to plastic bags. I went to India periodically and visited factories to ensure that the work conditions were humane and workers’ rights were protected. I only collaborated with ethically accredited factories and I was always amazed by the high standards of workmanship and respect for human rights in such work place in India.
With criticism levelled at the humble, cotton tote bag as often getting left behind at home, I realised that turning it into a must have “IT” bag was the way forward. I therefore created a cool and contemporary, canvas tote bag range aka Talented.
Again, we worked with fair trade certified factories in the production of our canvas tote bag collection and as Talented evolved into focussing just on tote bags and sustainable souvenirs printed with my artwork, the brand evolved into a platform for my own work.
I sold BIDBI 2 years ago so that I could focus on my art and let Talented go a year later, when the sales and manufacturing operations was taken over by a key supplier in Britain: Judge Sampson.
I believe provenance is intrinsic to the spirit of a product, and by extension, us. Whether it’s Christmas, someone’s birthday or Mother’s Day or a present to yourself, be sure that your gift giving is genuinely good at heart by buying something that’s ethically made for your loved ones … and you!