A Birkdale man has returned to his home town to launch Southport’s first online Fair Trade business.
Customers who visit the website will be able to select from a wide range of goods including funky handbags, ethnic Jewellery, recycled fashion accessories and a wide range of unique, handmade Fair Trade gifts.
The business has an office and warehouse both based in Southport, Merseyside and The FAIR Trade Store will buy directly from UK-based importers registered with BAFTS Fair Trade Network UK. These importers have a close working relationship with the actual producers in the developing world, usually via a co-operative or trade association.
This personal relationship ensures that Fair Trade benefits are passed on to the actual producers and their communities.
Paul, who spent 20 years as buyer for a number of leading supermarkets, said: “I want this area to be known all over the country as a Fair Trade champion.
“I know from my retail experience about the inequalities of unjust trade and decided to start a business to help address these issues in a positive way.
“It’s important, especially during these challenging times, that we don’t forget the millions who are less fortunate than us”.
The former King George V College pupil added: “Shoppers can make a real difference to those lives by making the right purchasing choice – based on quality, value and compassion.
“These are factors that I feel will appeal to the people of Southport and beyond.
“This is not about aid or charity – it’s about helping people help themselves through ethical trading practices.”
Paul, who joined Sefton Chamber of Commerce recently, is also liaising with a council steering group to ensure Sefton moves towards Fairtrade Borough status.
This will be awarded by the Fairtrade Foundation provided Sefton satisfies certain strict criteria relating to the distribution of Fairtrade products.
Steve Dickson, CEO of Sefton Chamber of Commerce, commented: “Promoting alternative supplies from across the world, where local producers get the proper benefit for their labour and skill, is an important ethos in business.
“I hope very much that local consumers will explore the site and learn more about alternative options in the supply of goods and our support and good wishes go to Paul and his suppliers.”
To check out the site go to The FAIR Trade Store at….. www.thefairtradestore.co.uk
The business will go live on Friday February 27, 2009.