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What makes a product ‘fair’? What makes an organisation ‘ethical’?

What makes a product ‘fair’?  What makes an organisation ‘ethical’?

Good questions don’t you agree? These are questions which I have been asked a lot recently and with good reason given I am helping to organise an ethical Christmas market!

Honestly, this is a very sticky area and there are so many conundrums for the wannabe ethical shopper to think through……Fair trade from the other side of the planet or buy local and support England’s diminishing farming industry? Buy Organic but not Fair Trade or Fair Trade but not Organic?  Wonderfully cheap and cheerful clothes that are made from unsustainable materials/in poor conditions or good quality glad rags made by fairly paid staff, yet super expensive?

The list goes on and on and on and quite honestly it just makes your brain ache, hence a lot of people decide just not to think about it as it makes life a lot easier.  I was one of those for a very long time I will very readily admit.  It takes a great deal of energy and thought to comprehend, particularly as we now live in this globalised world in which everything is so interconnected and thus it is hard to trace back the direct effects of any action.

However, in organising this fayre I am inspired and encouraged to find that there are many others out there who can and are mustering the motivation and courage to explore this and there are even many people out there trying to trade as ethically as they can – hooray!

There is a an incredible amount of stuff to unravel around ‘fair’ business practices and I don’t pretend to have all of the answers by any means. Here at Fair Christmas Fayre we are always learning new things which might change what we buy or how we act and we will share with you our exploration of this.   Our ideas will continue to evolve with yours and we would love to hear your comments.  Over the coming weeks we will be exploring some of the organisations/products that we feel meet our ‘ethical’ criteria which the ‘fair shopper’ should be aware of.fcf14

In any case we want shoppers to have an alternative to just the large shops on the high street and are proud to provide a platform for those organisations who want to trade from a genuine place of integrity, ethics and are operating with respect, love and care for other people and the planet.  We believe that means:

Treat your people well: Goods are made ethically paying workers a fair wage and in safe conditions.  This could be through practices such as Fair trade.

Treat your planet well:  We have finite resources and so it is important to use sustainable materials, or recycled/upcycled materials if possible.  The production of materials is also important, ensuring this has minimal environmental impact such as organic farming

Share the love: We love social enterprises (mixing business and ethics) and organisations that sell goods or services to support charitable/community projects.  There is a lot of value in greater sharing of resources and wealth to ensure those who need support get it, and by this I don’t just mean sharing financial wealth but our wealth includes our other resources such as time, skills, knowledge, ideas and creativity.

This list is by no means comprehensive and is just a start….we look forward to challenging this and seeing it evolve.

Renee Berkhout, Organiser Fair Christmas Fayre 2014

Do you want a stall at the Fair Christmas Fayre in 2014?


Each year we create an amazing Christmas market to provide shoppers with a range of ethical, eco and fair trade products. We want to prove shoppers can buy great products and shop with a conscience.  We pride ourselves on providing an alternative to the goods sold on the high street and this year is going to be bigger and better than ever.

fairtrade christmas fayre

The Fayre is run as a social enterprise which means that some of the proceeds go to the Salvation Army International Development charity whose mission is to resource, empower and support developing communities to defeat poverty and injustice.

Anyone who wants a stall at the Fayre is asked to complete an application form.  To find out more and get hold of an application form, please email  

We are also looking to get a great range of Eco Christmas Cards so if you make or sell these and could send us some to sell at the Fayre – please do get in touch.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Fair Christmas Fayre is back for 2014!

This year we are planning another eco packed fayre with a fab array of Christmas treats to buy for your friends and family. Watch out though as you may leave us with lots of things for yourself too!

If you have great ethical gifts to sell at the fayre we would love to hear from you.  Our email is: and we can give you more information.  We will soon be asking potential stall holders to complete our application form so watch this space……….

The top five Christmas Fairs for ethical traders

Are you an ethical trader, trying to figure out where to sell your products this Christmas? We’ve put together some of the best spots to purvey your wares in the UK?

Fair Christmas Fayre, London
It is not often that Oxford Circus gets crammed with ethical products,
but each year for the last six years, on one magical day, it has. And
this year is no exception! Fair Christmas Fayre is back at number 275
Oxford Street on Saturday 30th November, selling fair trade gifts, Eco
homewares and recycled toys.
Some of our ethical traders have been trading there since it’s
inception but we are always looking for exciting new businesses who
would like the opportunity to sell their products on the busiest
shopping street in the world.
Please email us on

Glasgow Vintage Fair
The Tall Ship in Glasgow will be packed to the sails with vintage and
retro delights on 23rd and 24th of November. If your company
specialises in the antique and funky, upcycled and tweaked than this
could be the fair for you!

Animal Aid’s Vegan Christmas Market
If you have an emphasis on animal friendly, vegan or vegetarian
products than this Fayre has your name all over it! In London on 9th
December, you will be amongst 90 other stall holders selling some
wonderful products.

Edinburgh Ethical Christmas Fair
Edinburgh ethical Christmas Fair is also in its sixth year and
showcases tons and tons of exciting ethical products. If you want to
spend a week in the heart of this beautiful city, at a beautiful time
of year this fair is for you!

St Nicholas Market, Bristol
Everyday throughout the festive season Bristol plays host to an open
air market. If you specialise in hand crafted products you will fit in
perfectly amongst the local makers, bakers and creators. The Bristol
crowds are big champions of independent traders and ethical business
and a warm reception awaits you- although you mustn’t be fazed by a
little blustery snow here and there!

Have you found a perfect ethical fair? Let us know in the comments!


Fair Christmas Fayre at the Horniman – first day highlights!

Our first day of the Horniman Weekend Christmas Fayre is complete- and what a magical day!  I feel so releived that there is another day tomorrow so Not A Single One of You need miss out!Both conservatory and the pavilion are utterly jampacked with the most delightful array of gifts. There is absolutely something for every single person in your life! From luxury homewares, to quirky, affordable handicrafts, from clothing to jewelry to toys.  It was bustling throughout, as people enjoyed the festive treats, the kids activities and two market areas.

I have been running Christmas Fayres for five years but was seriously gobsmacked by the diversity and gorgeousness of these markets! Here is a little glimpse of some of my favourites…

crco tees hardcore soft paw baby blanket alpaca wool bird just tradeshirts arthur henry wooden bird toppeace doves tfd prints slp

Organic kids clothing from Hardcore Softpaw, pure alpaca items from Alpaca Sol, fairtrade birdy necklace from Just Trade, posh organic mens shirts from Arthur and Henry, wooden duck toy from Top Wooden Toys, palestinian peace bird from Trading for Development and local prints from South London Prints.

Phew, all these plus MANY, MANY more things are available all day tomorrow from 10:30 – 5:30pm. Have a read on the Horniman site for more info.

Hope to see you there!

Christmas Ethical Market in London… just imagine it!

STOP! Don’t buy a thing! Don’t waste all that energy locating unique gifts for all your different family members and friends. Don’t fret about popping to this fair trade spot, or that handmade market. And definitely don’t bruise your conscience by spending your cash on gifts from tax evaders!!

You see, there is a place, a lovely spot just in London where you can get every single gift on your list in one fowl swoop, without needing to worry a dash about the impact on the earth. We have found London’s most ethical traders and we have bought them together to make your life simple and to ease the stress of Christmas consumerism on the planet.

There will be luxury fairtrade men’s shirts, organic vegan beauty products, handcrafted homewares and homemade candles in vintage teacups. There will be prints from local photographers, hand knitted garments and a whole stall of perfect, eco wooden kids toys! There will be organic cupcakes and baking, fairtrade refreshments and uplifting festive music. All under one roof. What a delight!

We hope to see you there!

Saturday 1st December 2012 11-6pm

The Regent Hall
275 Oxford Street
Opposite BHS


Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th December 2012
10:30- 5:30pm
Horniman Museum
100 London Road

Five steps to a Handmade Christmas

I bumped into a friend on the street the other day who was in a rush to post something. She explained in a glum voice “I just had to buy a car and a pressie for my niece as that side of my family don’t like my homemade efforts!” They had openly told her that she can keep her beautiful handicrafts to herself; they thought she was a cheapskate for never buying new items.

I was completely gobsmacked!

In my humble opinion nothing says LOVE better than a handcrafted item. The thought and time poured into a little card, a tiny knitted teddy, or a carved kids toy blows the effort of shopping and picking something off a shelf out of the water!

If you are hoping for a homemade Christmas here are 5 steps to get you on your way:

  • Start Now! With just a month to the start of December now is the time to sit down with a pen and paper and sketch out who you would like to make for. Put some music on, get your creative juices flowing and brainstorm the stuff these people love. You don’t have to make any decisions now, but you must get your thoughts brewing!
  • Be inspired! There is a fine line between being inspired by something and nicking an idea completely but it isn’t a line that bothers me much. What a complement, if people mimic your crafts! If you are planning on selling them, that is a different matter, and if you are going to blog about it ALWAYS link back to the original idea. Go to your favourite shops and art galleries and jot down the things that inspire you.
  • Organise your ideas. I can not recommend Pinterest enough as a way of organising your inspiration. You can have a board for each person and “pin” photos of gifts to each board. If you are new to Pinterest, check out this How To. Search under CRAFT and DIY and you will soon be inundated with beautiful ideas.
  • Don’t just stop at gifts. Consider handmaking your Christmas decorations, your cards, your Christmas crackers. You MUST join this brilliant Facebook page – it will show your just how seriously you can take a handmade Christmas!
  • Support handmade business. If you love the thought of filling your home with handmade items and giving all handmade but don’t feel you have the time or a creative bone in your body do consider supporting the wonderful handcrafted industry here in the UK. These incredible, unique items are often overlooked for the ease of the High Street but getting along to a local Christmas Fair can allow you to buy your entire shopping list from handmade stalls.

If you are in London stop by our ethical Christmas Fayres with THOUSANDS of handmade gifts and Christmas decorations. We have one on Oxford Street on 1st December and one at the Horniman Museum on 8th and 9th December.


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