Good Taste Sheffield Celebrate Their Fifth Birthday!
We love getting out and about, visiting the individuals behind the wonderful fair trade businesses we work with. Last month, Traidcraft’s Jude travelled to Sheffield to visit fair trade shop, Good Taste and chat to their manager, Jenny Coleman, about all things fair trade. Here’s how she got on.
Q&A with Jenny Coleman of Good Taste Sheffield
Did you first get into fair trade five years ago when Good Taste Sheffield opened, or does your relationship with fair trade go further back than that?
I had been selling fair trade goods for about 15 years before we opened the shop, mainly for Tearcraft but also for Traidcraft, and had been on a couple of Tearcraft tours to meet producers in Peru and India. My children have many happy memories of unpacking exciting boxes of beautiful craft items and setting up stalls and events both in our home and in churches.
Apart from Fairtrade Fortnight, which events do you celebrate throughout the year?
We celebrate Christmas, Easter, Mother's Day etc., but our daughter Lucy, who writes all our social media posts, also highlights many special national and international days such as International Women's Day.
When selecting products to stock your shop, which credentials do you consider?
We belong to BAFTS (the British Association of Fair Trade Shops and Suppliers) which guarantees to our customers that we are genuine in our commitment to the 10 principles of fair trade, and many of our suppliers we choose are also members. We buy relatively small amounts from many different companies, as our customers have different tastes and we try to have something for (almost) everyone. We have established friendly relationships with our suppliers over the years and really want to support them all!
Are there any fair trade products which you personally couldn't be without?
Coffee is one of my main requirements to get through the day! I also like a bit of chocolate after dinner in the evening. We get through huge quantities of the brown Kilombero rice in our house too, and through the work of the shop have now sold nearly 2,500 bags of this delicious rice, enabling rice farmers in Malawi to support their children's education.
What has been your best-selling product over the five years?
The Thought bamboo socks are my best-selling product generally, but we also find that recycled and upcycled products sell very well. Our customers like anything made from bicycle chains or similar and the small key bowl was one of our most successful products.
Do you find there are any obstacles or challenges within your industry?
One of our main challenges is cash flow through the year. Our sales during November and December are amazing and customers often remark how well appreciated the gifts they buy from us are by the recipients. Occasionally I tell customers that fair trade is not just for Christmas, and that we need a reasonable level of support throughout the year, or we may not be here next Christmas!
What does fair trade mean to you personally?
I love the connection with the producers that I get from selling these beautiful products. I tried working in a developing country when I first qualified as a nurse and discovered that it wasn't really for me. I have found on my visits to producers that we have the same values, dreams and hopes for our children and our families and am pleased to be able to help them achieve those. This is my way of changing the world for people who deserve a better chance in life.