The One World Shop in Edinburgh sells and promotes fair and ethically traded products from across the globe.
The social enterprise received three Charity Bank loans to expand their business. Rachel Farey, who has been Business Manager at One World Shop for over 20 years, reveals here how the enterprise has been at the forefront of the Fair Trade movement with Charity Bank’s support.
“One World Shop was started by local man George Shand in 1983. Passionate about campaigning for fairer trade, he began selling Traidcraft products at a small stall in St John’s Church at the west end of Edinburgh. Two years later, One World Shop became a limited company with charitable status and moved into a permanent site in the church, from which they still operate today.
“George was part of a growing awareness of the injustices in global trade. One World Shop wanted to make a difference and although small, it has played a leading role in the Fair Trade movement. We were involved in the creation of the British Association for Fair Trade Shops and Suppliers (BAFTS) and helped both Edinburgh and Glasgow to become Fairtrade Cities. We were also joint instigators of the Scottish Fair Trade Forum which enabled Scotland to become a Fair Trade Nation. In 2008, we received the Edinburgh Fairtrade City Long Standing Achievement Award.
“Through the products we sell in our shop, we help support some of the poorest communities across the world; they have few resources but produce high quality crafts, often using recycled materials. We also help promote awareness of global trade through educational tours at the shop and outreach work in schools and churches.
“In 2002, we decided to expand into Glasgow and wanted to use the opportunity to really place our work in the public eye. We found a great shop space on the high street and took out a Charity Bank loan to help fit out the shop to a professional standard and it really flourished.
“Charity Bank were helpful from the word ‘go’. I’ve never had better engagement with a bank in my entire life. Throughout the whole process, they really wanted us to focus on what it was we were trying to achieve rather than stress about money. They were simply wonderful.
“Although the Glasgow store has since closed due to an exceptionally high rent increase, Charity Bank has continued to support our growth and the development of our presence in Edinburgh, where we recently opened a newly renovated shop space.
“It’s so important to social enterprises like ours that lenders like Charity Bank exist. We simply wouldn’t have been able to expand in such a way without Charity Bank’s support. I would say to anyone who wants to live more ethically that it’s worth looking at your money carefully. Ask what it is being used for, where it is being invested, is it in something you value? If not, why not invest it somewhere that is transparent, clean and supportive of local communities instead?”