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handmade

A New Ethical Business Experience

What a difference a year makes in the life of an ethical business! The last post is from precisely a year ago when we had just added our new line of handmade Christmas cards and the festive season was just about to begin. Well, this is exactly where we're at - at least season-wise - but lots of things have changed!  

A new identity

We changed our name from Ethicological to Ethiqana earlier this year. We'd arrived at the original name after a lot of deliberations and combinations but it turns out it wasn't very easy on the tongue nor was it easy to remember. Cue, another back to the drawing board exercise. Lots of head scratching, hours of research into memorability and many many searches for available domain names later, we decided on Ethiqana. It's short and sweet and we think it conveys our sense of ethics and ethical business.  

A new platform

Speaking of ethical business, we'd always been a bit uneasy selling only on Amazon. But as a startup with limited funds, we had no other choice but to bite the bullet and gain access to a market place of millions of customers. It did work to a certain extent and we'd like to thank each and every customer whom we could serve on Amazon. However, we made a decision early on in the year that rather than finding another platform, we're going to bring e-commerce to our very own website. The time frame? Summer of 2018! I love deadlines, don't you? Needless to say, it didn't happen and we finally launched our new website with our e-shop last week - 23rd November 2018. Nothing to do with the cult of Black Friday, before you ask. It was a date which we'd picked and decided to stick to it.  

New product lines

Well this was the most interesting and also perhaps the most challenging part. Finding suppliers whom you can trust is a big thing! But we have been very fortunate in finding people and organisations who are on the same wavelength as us, care about reviving old art forms and are passionate about sustainability and empowering artisans. Creating new designs and selecting from existing ones was a very satisfying process and we're sure that our friends and fans would love them too. Have a look and see if something takes your fancy.  

What's next?

Well, in the most immediate sense, we're off to our Christmas Market stall in Milton Keynes from tomorrow where we're hoping to wow more people with our collections. But yes, there are plans hatching already about our next steps in the new year - all along the lines of how to bring to our friends and fans all that is ethical, real and sustainable, all that is Ethiqana!

Joy to the world!

I'm sitting in a coffee shop, done with my meetings for the day, waiting for my car to have enough charge to drive back home, and inevitably, watching the world go by its business which, this time of the year, is nothing but Christmas - that beautiful time of the year when your spirits are lifted even though the days are short and dark and nearly all of us have taken to wearing some sort of woollies. This is also a time of rampant consumerism, all in the name of "celebrating" that one day. And then of course, there's that American import called Black Friday!

Don't get me wrong, we're all here to make money. Yes, even ethical businesses! We'd love to get more customers and goods flying off the shelves so we can continue empowering the communities of artists and artisans.  Wouldn't mind one bit to get a bit from that cake! We'd love for more consumers to shop ethically this Christmas.

That's why we decided to partner with a brilliant project called Cards from Africa. The cards are handmade. The paper they're made from is handmade - made from recycled office waste. To top it all, and most importantly too, it's the people who make these cards so magical. They are young adults from Rwanda, orphaned by war or famine. They didn't give up hope. They could've easily fallen into a life of crime or begging but they decided to make a living respectably. It's their creativity that shines through these cards and their hard work. Who knows what wonders they might bring to the world once they've been given a good start? Ethiqana is proud to be a vehicle to bring this to them. With our customers' help of course! And it's not just Christmas cards they make; We have cards for all occasions - birthdays, anniversaries, new babies, new homes, graduations! So, we hope to continue making a difference in these brilliant artists' lives long after the turkeys have been eaten, the wrapping paper is put in the recycle bin and the decorations have been taken down.
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