Posted on

BAFTS and our Fair Trade Goals

Hello!

We are so proud to announce that we are now members of BAFTS, the British Association for Fair Trade Shops and Suppliers. You can read all about BAFTS and the work that they do to promote and support fair trade business on their website, here.

After a thorough application process, where we examined our practices and how we adhere to the Ten Principles of Fair Trade, we were then assessed by the BAFTS board, and accepted as new members. You can read all about how we interpret and adhere to the Ten Principles of Fair Trade here.

Another part of the application required us to set goals for how we can improve our Fair trade credentials. This was a real opportunity for us to put our thinking caps on and determine small changes that we could make that can make a big difference! We came up with three goals that we are intending to achieve within the the next 12-18 months. Each of the goals are SMART and as part of our commitment we have listed them below publicly.

We are also attending the BAFTS AGM and Annual conference this weekend. We are excited by the programme which features a range of speakers and workshops on a wide variety of fair-trade relevant subjects. We will be taking lots of notes and will write a post all about the conference and the things that we have learnt next week… so watch this space!

 

With love and good Karma x

 

Karma Gear Fair Trade Goals for 2018

Goal 1.

Reduce the environmental impact of our tags

Specifically:

Reduce the size of our paper tags, and switch to recycled paper. Cease the use of plastic kimble tags to attach paper tags and switch to hemp/cotton/recycled twine.

Measure of Success

Achieved when all products have new tags and no plastic is used for labelling/tagging purposes.

Achievable?

This goal is part of our commitment to the environment and reducing our impact. We will need to research, and design a new tag and locate a twine supplier. This can be done by us and working with our current label supplier and shipping agent to locate a local twine supplier.

Relevance

This goal is relevant to Principle 10 – Protecting the environment.

All our products have a tag or label, so this will have a considerable impact and is relevant to Karma Gear, and in line with our values.

Timeline

Tags designed, and twine supplier located before next big order is placed in January 2019. All products to have the new tags and twine as soon as existing stock is used, so as not to waste any tags.

So Far… we have designed our new tags (as part of a major rebrand… details and sneak peeks will be revealed soon!) and have been in touch with our agent in Nepal and existing label printer to discuss options.

 

Goal 2.

Participate in Fair Trade event

Specifically:

Get in touch with local and national fair trade organisations to find out how we can participate, and do so.

Measure of Success

Participate in Fair trade fortnight and/or other fair trade events.

Achievable?

Part of our commitment to the promotion of fair trade. Connect us with like-minded businesses and create a strong network from which all can benefit.

We should be able to get in touch with people in our local area, if there are no groups we could look into setting one up.

Relevance

This goal is relevant to Principle 9 – Promoting Fair Trade.

Timeline

To participate in an event within the next 12 months.

So Far… We are attending the BAFTS AGM and Annual Conference in London and are looking forward to networking and finding out about fair trade events in our area that are relevant to us.

 

Goal 3.

Create Checklist for Suppliers

Specifically:

A checklist for us to use as a benchmark whilst inspecting existing and potential new suppliers. It will be used to record adherence to fair trade principles including, but not limited to: good working conditions, fair pay, health and safety practices etc

Measure of Success

Use checklist and keep records of conditions etc and improvements made. Improvements can be easily identified and measured. Records kept of suppliers working practices and track changes over time.

Achievable?

Using Fair trade principles, alongside UK and Nepali law, as well as international standards, we should be able to compile a list that will be useful for us.

Relevance

This goal will help us to further improve compliance with all Fair trade principles by highlighting what we and our suppliers do well and where improvement can be made.

Areas for improvement can be easily identified. Assists us to support suppliers to improve. Help us to identify/choose suppliers that are/can be helped to be compliant.

Timeline

Create checklist to use by the time we visit Nepal in late 2018/early 2019 and use it on our visits to suppliers

So Far… We have started to compile a list of things that we think should be added to the list. We have also begun working with our suppliers so that they can also get involved with fair trade organisations in Nepal to further strengthen fair trade practice.

 

 

Posted on

Christmas Posting Dates

It is that time of year again!

Here is our guide to the last order dates for Christmas delivery. These are based on Post Office/courier recommendations and we cannot guarantee arrival, as we are at the mercy of Royal Mail!

Our express services are usually sent via Royal Mail Guaranteed by 1pm Special Delivery.

Your order will be dispatched either the same or the next working day, depending on the time, size and contents of your order. Please contact us at any time for an update on your order – we can usually provide dispatch and/or tracking information.

Unfortunately due to Christmas falling on a Monday this year the last recommended dates are earlier than usual as we do not have any means for Sunday deliveries, we are really sorry about this!

Recommended Last Order Dates for Christmas Delivery

UK Standard, Light & Bulky: Wednesday 20th December

UK Express: Before 9am Thursday 21st December

UK Express Delivery inc. Saturdays: BEFORE 12pm Friday 22nd December

 

International

Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Ireland: Friday 15th December

Austria, Denmark, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland: Thursday 14th December

Canada, Finland, Sweden, USA: Wednesday 13th December

Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Poland: Tuesday 12th December

Greece, Turkey, Australia, New Zealand: Friday 8th December

Carribean, Central & South America: Wednesday 6th December

Cyprus, Malta, Asia, Far East, Eastern Europe (except Poland, Slovakia and Czech Republic): Tuesday 5th December

Africa, Middle East: Friday 1st December

 

Please remember that these dates are a guide only, and there are often factors outside of our control with regards to delivery. We will do our best to dispatch as soon as possible and get your order to you asap!

Thanks so much for shopping with us

We Wish you a Very Merry Christmas and a Joyous Happy New Year.

With love and good Karma xxx

Posted on

Glastonbury!!!

Hello!

So it’s been nearly a month since our last blog post, whoops! But what a month it has been. We had thunder and rainbows at Southwell Folk, followed by an absolutely sweltering yet gorgeous weekend at Leamington Peace festival, and then we sauntered on down to Worthy Farm for our first ever appearance at GLASTONBURY FESTIVAL!

The stall looking luscious in the sunshine at Leamington Peace Festival
Thunder and Rainbows at Southwell Folk Festival

Glastonbury is the absolute King of festivals, and we were so honoured to be a part of it. We arrived on Monday in the relentless sunshine of last week’s heatwave. After setting up (very slowly) we had a chance on Tuesday to chill out and explore the site. The stone circle was a lovely place to hang out, the cool shade of the stones and the soft rhythmic chatter amongst the crew assembled there to relax was the perfect calm before the storm! The wooden phoenix spread its wings over the site and we felt so lucky to be a part of such an amazing ensemble of artists, makers, musicians, performers and, let’s not forget, all the other amazing people who make Glastonbury (and every festival) happen – the administrative staff, the health & safety people, stewards, litter pickers, bar staff, cleaners… the list goes on!

After the heat of the first half of the week things cooled down on Thursday, and the music on the main stages kicked off on the Friday. There were so many amazing acts to see, and inbetween working on the stall we did manage to catch a few! Highlights included Badbadnotgood, Lisa Hannigan, The Lemon Twigs, Marika Hackman and Thundercat. We also managed to see a bit of headliners Radiohead and the Foo Fighters (we didn’t bother with Ed Sheeran, sorry, but went to see Ani DiFranco instead) The standout performance of the whole weekend, however, was definitely Kate Tempest. An amazing poet and wordsmith, she is mind blowing and her set was so emotional, that by the end the entire crowd was crying. Absolutely incredible. You can catch her set here, along with lots of other sets on the BBC iPlayer for a few more weeks.

All in all an amazing week and we are so happy that we could be there! We really hope we’ll be back at Glastonbury for 2019, but for now we have the rest of an action packed season to go, with lots more amazing music, cracking festivals and beautiful British summer weather.

With Love & Good Karma x

Posted on

2 Weeks, 4 Festivals!

Hello!

Wow have we been busy here at Karma Gear!

So two weekends ago we set up at Glastonbudget Festival in sunny Leicestershire, and left our lovely helpers in charge as we sped off to the Cotswolds for Lechlade festival to set up yet another stall! We were trying a new set up for Glastonbudget, which took a bit longer than usual (even though it was meant to be easier!) and we didn’t have our banner up either, which considering the windy weather over the weekend was probably a good thing!

 

New Set up!
Felt Display

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think the stall looked pretty good, though, and the felt table looked lovely and bright in the sunshine! Glastonbudget was good clean silly fun as usual, and we had some lovely customers – although I think we were a little out of the way so didn’t see as many people as we would have liked 😉

Di wearing our new PG1707 Hooded Asymmetrical Pixie Dress in Green, coming to the website soon!
Tom from Lost Transmitters performs on stage at Glastonbudget and proves that our Cotton Festival Trousers can stand up to all your dance moves!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lots of covers bands, original bands, and rides and other entertainment too, Glastonbudget is a great friendly festival with an easy to navigate site and party loving crowd. Lechlade festival was a great little event too, Lechlade itself is so picturesque! I think we had all the weathers, boiling hot on Friday, Thunderstorms on Saturday morning (cue me getting absolutely soaked on an early morning trip to the loo!) Lots of high winds, drizzle, even fog! (though thankfully, no ice or snow!) We also had some unexpected guests on our roof

 

Duck on the roof!

There was some stunning talent at Lechlade, we caught a very young band belting out some incredible covers, check out Insta feed for a peek of their amazing performance. The festival is in a beautiful park right by the river. You can walk into the town in the morning for a delicious brekkie and then get onsite from late morning for music from several stages, a great beer tent with its own stage, comedy tent and lots of workshops for kids too – including yoga, arts & craft, meditation and lots of other treats! Totally family friendly with rides and activities for younger and older kids. They’ve had good lineups this year and in the past, so future events are sure to be great too.

On Bank holiday Monday we were up at the crack of dawn to leg it to Chippenham for the Street Fayre (so, yes, that is three festivals in one weekend!!!) and I think we did a pretty good job with our street market stall

The stall at Chippenham Street Fayre!

Chippenham is a great friendly little town, and the folk festival is organised by a lovely bunch of people who want to keep this great little event going for the local and the folk community. Morris dancers performed throughout the day, but unfortunately this year there was some torrential downpours and so lots of the dancing was called off early. But no matter – we can’t control the weather – and we had a lovely time chatting to the people who had come especially and to local people as they sheltered in our massive stall from the deluge.

And then to this weekend, when we were at Cheltenham Racecourse for 2017’s Wychwood Festival. And what a corker it was too! This festival is a super chilled family friendly affair, and the crowd keep coming back every year – because they know their guaranteed to have a good time! Some fantastic bands on, highlights for us were CC Smugglers (check out their facebook here https://www.facebook.com/ccsmugglers/ ) with their awesome bluesy, folksy, swinging tunes that are guaranteed to cheer up even the grumpiest of festival goer – they’re at lots of festies over the season, we recommend catching them if you can! East Pointers were really good too, really got me grooving in the summer sunshine and we even bought their record to listen to in the van on our travels. The Dhol Foundation were absolutely killing it with their amazing Folk/Indian fusion – they had a harpist along with the Indian drummer, so cool! – and their show was complete with Bangra Dancers and a field full of middle class, middle aged Brits trying to dance Indian style, priceless!

Dhol Foundation at Wychwood 2017
CC Smugglers at Wychwood 2017
CC Smugglers at Wychwood 2017
Smoove & Turrell at Wychwood 2017
A wet and rainy mainstage at Wychwood

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So all in all and busy couple of weeks, but 4 festivals down and we’re well into the 2017 season now! This weekend it’s Gate to Southwell Folk Festival. We’ve not been before, but we’ve heard good things so we’re looking forward to it.

See you in a field somewhere, Love and Good Karma xxx

Posted on

Upton Folk Festival

Upton Folk Festival – A Traditional May Day Bank Holiday Weekend

Hello!

Last weekend we had the pleasure of attending Upton Folk Festival. This charming little event has traditional folk dancing (yes, Morris!) as well as some not so traditionally English dances such as belly dancing, on the street with regular performances throughout the weekend all over town, with dancers from far and wide. There is also live folk music in the multitude of cosy independent pubs in the town. The parade through the town is a highlight and the event is very community spirited, and free to attend.

Upton upon Severn is a lovely town, rich in history and culture it sit beside the river with beautiful country views and walks nearby. A great place for a day trip or weekend getaway the town is also home to many events throughout the summer, including the Folk Festival, Jazz Festival and in July the wonderful Blues Festival (which we shall be attending!). These mostly free community events have allowed the town to prosper and support the wonderful local independent businesses, so get yourself to one – you’re in for a real treat!

 

The Campsite for the event is on the sports field and we caught these gorgeous shots of the sunset shining on the church against a stormy sky, stunning!

 

The new stock is on its way so there’ll be new exciting things on the website very soon, and we’ll be at Glastonbudget and Lechlade Festival at the end of the month for what’s set to be yet another great bank holiday weekend!

Hope to see you in a field somewhere soon!

Love & Good Karma xx

Posted on

Our Process! – Step 1 Research

Hello!

Our lovely customers often ask how we go about designing our products, so we decided to do a series of blog posts showing you how we approach designing, and how our ideas become the finished products. We are going to show you the process right from start to finish, encompassing design, sample making, production, photography, and, finally, sales!

Step 1 – Research

Before we start with anything else, we do a bit of research! This covers several different areas, and happens in a number of ways. Firstly, we look at our own designs that have sold well in the previous season. We take on board any suggestions from customers and make notes on our products, asking questions like:

notes on possible changes updates to previous styles
  • What did customers like?
  • What did customers dislike?
  • How was the fit?
  • Would other colours work better?
  • What changes could we make to improve the fit / style / overall look?

Secondly, we look at what is on trend right now, and what is predicted to be fashionable in the coming seasons. We take note of what is happening in the fashion world, with a particular focus on colours and shapes. We do look at mainstream designers and the high street, but we obviously are an alternative hippy folk festival fashion brand, so we do stick to our distinctive style only incorporating current fashion elements where it works. By keeping an eye we can create items that will fit in with other items in your wardrobe, although of course we often design items that have very little influence from the mainstream. Often our customers want a type of garment that is fashionable, eg pinafore dress, but want it in a ethical, handmade, hippy style – and that’s what we do!

Finally, we look at what our suppliers have been working on and the fabrics and techniques that are available to us. Of course there are some very old and traditional techniques that we use, but new ones pop up too! Sometimes our suppliers have been working on a new technique, or have an abundance of a certain type of material. In this case, we take samples and look at how we can use them in our designs, or create entirely new designs specifically to use these new materials.

For example, one supplier had  lots of patchwork fabric available. Business had been quiet and our suppliers did not have much work, so instead of leaving their employees with no work or income, the tailors were set about making patchwork from fabric off-cuts and waste fabric that would otherwise have been thrown away. We then designed a range of simple garments using the patchwork, which are eco friendly (as they are made from recycled fabric!) and Socially responsible too (providing continuous employment!)

 

This innovation has created some of our best selling products like our Gheri Pullover Jacket and Zipped Jacket and our Patchwork Harems, Shirts and Trousers.

So research is a really important first step for us. We need to make sure that we design items that our customers will want to buy, but also utilise materials and processes that are available to our suppliers. We learn from the fashion industry and take inspiration from other designers, and also take note of feedback from our customers to update previous lines and create new ones.

Once we’ve done the research we move onto the next step, all of which will be revealed in our next Our Process blog post!

Until then, Love & Good Karma xx

Posted on

Elemental 2017 – What a Banging Start!

Elemental festival flags stall hat

Hello!

Well wasn’t that a cracker of a weekend? We couldn’t have wished for more for our first full event of the season. Elemental Festival at Crouch Valley showground was back this year with a bang after a year’s hiatus and the weather was on top form. The sun shone for set up and all through Friday, Saturday and Sunday setting the tone for the bright and cheerful atmosphere for the festival.

The highlight of any VW show is, of course, the Show n’ Shine and there were some great looking vehicles. I was a fan of a hot pink open top Beetle, whereas Jim liked the look of a funky pick up truck.

We had some great trader neighbours too, and I made friends with one particularly dapper looking furry one!

Luigi does like a fuss!

Elemental had a lovely family friendly atmosphere, and the kid’s entertainment from Hoi Polloi was top notch as usual. The Something Else beer tent (which also sells coffee and yummy cakes!) was a hub of activity throughout the weekend – and it’s Solar Powered too, just like us! All the usual VW stuff was on offer too, including the Auto Jumble and VW specific trade stalls. Into the evening music from a variety of bands and some DJs too kept everyone going late.

The hot weather meant our bestsellers for the weekend were hats and our cool & comfortable Summer Cotton Shorts – classic men’s festival fashion, that are great for women too. We had a great weekend, with absolutely gorgeous weather and beautiful Sunsets – here’s hoping that the rest of the season is just as lovely!

Love & Good Karma xx

Posted on

2017 Festival Season – Ready… Set… Go!

So, it’s April already and can you believe it but our first festival of the season is THIS WEEKEND!! The winter always seems so long and we can’t wait to get back out there into the fields and the beautiful British countryside for some amazing festivals this summer!

So this week we head down to Crouch Valley Showground in Sunny (hopefully!) Essex for Elemental VW Show. After a break last year, Elemental is back with a bang! It’s set to be a great weekend, with the usual Show n’ Shine, Autojumble, amazing Kid’s Area and live music. They usually have a great bar with some tasty ales on offer, and the crowd are a fun and friendly bunch. It’s a great day out on the Saturday if you can’t make it for the camping, but we do recommend you stay for the whole weekend – its a great laugh, and what’s even better is that all proceeds from Elemental go to Essex Air Ambulance and this year, with help from Burt’s Boyz, also Marie Curie Cancer Care.

We’ll be there with some beginning of the season bargains, our usual funky festival clothing, hippie clothing and ethical children’s wear along with some warm Nepalese jackets, hats and other knitted bits to keep you warm in the chilly evenings! We’ll also offer hairbraiding and hair feathers, get in early because it’s bound to get busy! Our new lines of hemp and handwoven cotton bags will also be available along with our fun felt home decor, Tibetan prayer flags, and other fun accessories!

Click on the banner to visit Elemental’s website!

We’re also pleased to announce that we will be trading this year at Lechlade Music Festival! It’s been voted the best festival in the Cotswolds, and its got a tonne going for it! With a great line up featuring headliners The Hoosiers, we’re excited to be attending this one! It’s on the Spring bank holiday, so would be a great getaway for the long weekend, plus kids go free! They have some offers on tickets at the moment and you can get in touch with them through all these channels

www.lechladefestival.co.uk

https://www.facebook.com/lechladefestival

https://twitter.com/lechladefest

https://www.instagram.com/lechladefestival/

or click on the banner to visit their website!

We’re busy booking more festivals and we’ll let you know as more are confirmed (we might have a really exciting announcement on the way… watch this space!) give us a like on facebook to keep posted. We’re looking forward to a super season, and hope to see you in a field somewhere soon!

Love & Good Karma xx

Posted on

More Festivals! (and hopefully less rain…!)

So the last month or so has seen us trade at several amazing festivals! From tribute fun at Glastonbudget, to traditional Folk in Chippenham and scorching beautiful sunshine (and some delicious refreshing drinks!) at Wychwood. Last weekend was a bit of a washout, and we’ve seen more and more water tipping from the skies this week, but fingers crossed sunnier times are on their way – and fast! We’ve got some crackers lined up, so here’s a little more about the events we’ve got on in the next few weeks. Click on the event name to go through to their website for more info, tickets, etc!

 

Leamington Peace Festival 18th & 19th June, Royal Leamington Spa FREE EVENT!

lem peace

This amazing free event is one of the UK’s longest running Community-led peace festivals. It has a unique atmosphere, promoting peace, environmental harmony and living in co-operation with others. It does this by giving a platform to local and world charities to discuss issues to raise awareness; promotes fair and ethical trade practice and supports local crafters, artists and makers; and creates a harmonious festival environment where local musicians, choirs and entertainers can perform to people from a wide range of backgrounds. Plus there’s amazing locally made vegetarian food – Don’t miss the incredible curry and sundries from the local Hindu community group – it’s sooooooo good!!

 

Togfest 25th – 26th June, Milton Keynes

togfest

This local festival supports local artists and is fun, family friendly and not-for-profit! We’re looking forward to our first time here and to discovering some new bands.

 

Northampton Town Festival 2nd – 3rd July, Northampton Racecourse FREE EVENT!

Another amazing community led free event, this is our local festival! We are based in Northants and are proud to be representing at the Town festival. There is so much going on it’s impossible to list it all here, but it includes amazing local food and drink, varied entertainment, hot air balloons, dog shows, fireworks and loads loads more! Come on down and join the party, because it’s going to be a wonderful showcase of what our great county has to offer. See you there!

 

Dubs at the Hall 1st – 3rd July, Holt

A first-class VW show, Dubs at the Hall is set in the gorgeous grounds of Holt Hall and has fab tribute acts on all weekend. Show and shine and all that jazz is on too, but there’s more to this family friendly festival than just the car/camper stuff. Totally laid back and full of friendly faces, with loads of stuff for the kids to do too. This is a lovely event run by some great people who love the VDubs scene.

 

Tannerfest 9th July SOLD OUT

tannerfest

Ok, so sorry to tempt you with this one when it’s sold out, but this tiny little local event is practically in our back garden and we love it! We’ll be there selling our wares and are looking forward to seeing the usual crowd. Tannerfest are supporting the amazing Children’s charity Rainbows so please if you have any spare pennies then please help them, cheers!

That’ll do for now, so check back for more info on more events that we’re doing! Let’s hope for good weather, enjoy the long summer days, love & peace to all. Namaste!