Organic and Fairtrade Aprons – Our Customers Top Twenty Competition

I had a brain wave last night.  One of my favourite things to do (which I don’t do often enough) it to go into our production area and look at some of the embroidery as it is produced off the machines.  We all enjoy watching the machines embroider away and then – voilà- a beautiful embroidery.

The thing is  – so many of our customers, especially the artisans, or those running organisations with passion have such original names, beautiful designs, quirky ideas.

We supply many prestigious organisations and large corporate companies.  Their designs are more functional and homogeneous.  Of course we love to work with them too.  But……these smaller businesses, with their passion and plans really do give us pleasure here at Impact Trading and Cotton Roots.

So I thought I would start with writing a little feature about those companies who have Organic and Fairtrade aprons from us.  Show you their design and tell you a little about what they do and the impact they have in the world.

What better to place to start than a TINY order we did today.  Our usual minimum order is twelve garments embroidered with the customers logo (it can be a mixture of garments).  But today we supplied a Tiny order for The Tiny Bakery which has a Tiny oven.  So for a starter this person behind this company, Veneatta Leyland, had the charisma to get around our small order rule!

The Tiny Bakery, aka Venetta, produces bread in her tiny oven.  What is unusual is that it is beautifully made, she will only supply within a one mile radius of her small home town of Wolverton, and for every loaf she bakes she supplies one free of charge to local organisations in need.  Take a look at her website here The Tiny Bakery.

So Venetta is the first in my newly started top twenty list.

Here is a picture of the part finished aprons.  I hope to post a picture of Venetta wearing  one on Monday.

Soon to added to the top twenty list is My Fair Cup Cake,  Fallen Angel, Balgove Larder, The Yard, Dri Dri Gelato …………the list goes on.  At the end we will have a competition and the winner will get 12 beautiful, natural, Fairtrade, organic aprons embroidered with their own logo.

See our aprons at here on our website  – by the way the models are my sister and her son – they look fabulous too.

Guiseley Methodist Junior Church – Dye Fairtrade T Shirts

Recently we had an enquiry from a group wanting some of our white, Fairtrade certified t shirts.  Of course we were delighted to supply.  The organiser Sarah Osgerby was very committed to the idea of Fairtrade and nothing else would do!

Fairtrade t shirts dyed using fabric sprays.

I was really pleased when I was sent some photographs showing the finished results. I was also impressed.  I think they are outstanding.  They used fabric spray to create tie dye effects on the t-shirts.

The t shirts are going to be used for next the harvest service display.

Fairtrade t-shirts dyed for Harvest Festival

Spare Fairtrade Polo Shirts – Free

We have around 30 white children’s polo shirts, all Fairtrade certified available free of charge. The collars a “shade” whiter than the rest of the garment. You can see it in a certain light but don’t even notice in others. Still they don’t reach our quality standards for school uniform – so if you are a charity, or a not for profit organisation give me a call and we will send them to you.

Fairtrade Certified Hoodies in Stock

It has been quite difficult – but finally we have our new stock on the way.  Just a few more weeks.

Yes in October the result of lots of hard work is paying off.  Our hoodies will not only be Fairtrade certified but they will also be made with certified organic cotton.  We have designed the hoodies so that they will be particularly suitable for students and university student uniongroups in particular.  We have found htem to be one of our top customers and particularly committed to Fairtrade clothing.

We will have available black, navy blue, red and royal blue.  These will match our range of polo shirts and t shirts.  I am excited by the quality.  It is my passion that Fairtrade garments must be very good quality.  I wanted them to better than the average hoodie available, still be a good price and most importantly that we can supply the same garment reliably over and over again.  I think we have achieved this so once again it is exciting times at Cotton Roots.  You can take a look at them here fairtrade, organic hoodies 

New Online Ordering for School Customers

At the end of last year we introduced a new service so that parents can order school uniform for their children online.

I have been very pleased at how popular this is with our school customers.  The have usually taken the option of offering the opportunity for parents to place their orders on line, we then embroider the garments, pack them fro each child and then deliver them to the school.  We deliver once fortnightly to greatly reduce delivery costs – and of course carbon emissions!

Ordering online means that the school staff do not have to send out order forms, collect money, collate all the orders and then place a final order with us.  Instead we set up a simple website for each school which shows only their uniform and then do the rest of the legwork leaving the teachers to teach.

The extra good thing for us is that it gives even more reason for potential new school customers to select us as their supplier.  Along side this as we are just about the only supplier who are committed to holding stock of Fairtrade certified school uniform we are getting more and more schools coming on board.  I am just about to write to the Fairtrade Foundation to update them on how well we are doing.

The Welsh and Scottish Fairtrade groups have been particularly active in letting school know about us – so a heartfelt thanks to them.  It shows too …….we have many more schools who have selected Fairtrade school uniform who are based in Wales or Scotland.

Guinness Book of Record Attempt – Fairtrade Washing Line – Will we get permission?

Well we have a plan.

Quite a big one – or should I say long one?

The Cotton Roots team have applied have applied to the Guinness Book of Records organisation for permission to try and set a record – for the worlds longest washing line filled up with exclusively Fairtrade clothing.  It takes around four to five weeks for us to get a reply and it’s been about two weeks so far.  If we get permission we will start planning and I have some ideas brewing.  As we are based on the beautiful Rose Lane Farm, surrounded by gorgeous open fields it could be the perfect place.

OR……..we could try something more flamboyant like trying to surround ……….?  We are looking for ideas that are especially appropriate.  Please if you have any ideas just add it to the comment section below. It’s a thrilling plan – I am am gleeful – and you may have the final idea for the perfect place.  We hope to work closely with Stony Stratford people – the town has a very active, go get spirit and is also a Fairtrade town. It is very near and we could hopefully involve some of the pupils form local schools we supply.  In addition we also have some well know brands we work with for example Ecover, River Cottage, Dorset cereals, The Holocaust Trust, Christian Aid, Burts Bees the list goes on and on and perhaps we can all get involved together.  It would look absolutely fantastic wouldn’t it?  Their Fairtrade garments on the washing line along with all the others.

Well that’s our plan. We wait for the reply and keep our fingers crossed.

Go on help us with some suggestions!

Frog Rescue on Kilver Beach (or how I was very brave)!

It sounds a bit nerdy but I love hunting for things.  So last weekend when I was told by my B & B host  Lynn at The Old Cider House in Nether Stowey that there were lots of fossils to be found on Kilver beach I was excited.  I know, I know not your average person’s excitement.  It took a little bit of persuading to encourage/bribe Vicky that it was a good idea but a bit of negotiating i.e. she would come for a short walk with Daisie and then read the newspaper in the car off  – we went.

By the way The Old Cider House had scrummy local organic food, wild chickens which might be because they could get in the micro brewery, and a handsome black labrador called Osborne or Ozy for short.  We now follow @ozythelabrador on twitter. He is quite a good writer really!

A windy chilly perfect Autumn day.  I was in bliss.  Fossils, fossils where are you……. Vicky allocated half an hour on my own to search for fossils.  After five minutes what did I find?  A real live frog in the pebbles.  Not hopping but stretching out those long back legs and walking slowly along the beach.

Big dilemma.  Not keen at all to pick it up, want to look for fossils really but thinking the frog had two very probable outcomes – it would get washed away by the tide or a seagull would have frog legs for tea.  I asked for help in picking it up and was told it was a “sea frog” and to leave  it. Mmmmm.  I was not convinced – a sea frog. Not seen that on Nature Watch or in my guide to British Wildlife.  Asked another person who apologised but not willing to pick it up.

Frog looking at me!

By now the frog had gone on about another three meters across the pebbles and took me to a fossil!  Yes the little blighter helped me out and now I felt morally obliged to rescue it.  In the end with my half hour up and lots of hopping from one foot to the other (me not the frog), I managed to pluck up the courage to pick it up in my scarf.  I clambered over rocks, up a bit off a cliff and along the cliff top to a suitable bit of greenery.  It does not sound very brave now I am writing it down but it was quite a long way and the frog, tweeting all the time and  managed to get out twice.

Today though I feel very proud and pleased with myself.  I found a fossil,  rescued a frog, and confirmed that the UK at least does not have sea frogs.

Isn’t it beautiful?  How the heck did it get there?

Challoner Pupils Lead their School to Fairtrade Status

Students from Bishop Challoner Catholic Collegiate School

I am quite new to “tweeting” but lots of young people are red hot.  I was really pleased today when a tweet came along from a group of pupils from  Bishop Challoner Catholic Collegiate school (Wow – what a name) about their efforts for Fairtrade and I saw it!

A local charity called the  Otesha Project had worked together with a group of pupils with a passion to fight for Fairtrade within their school.  Together they  presented a proposal to staff and school governors to make their school a recognised Fairtrade school- and it was accepted.  A fabulous committed effort.

Wonderful news and it just shows how individuals and  groups of determined people (human beings) can really make a difference.  When I visited India I met some of the cotton farmers who grow the Fairtrade certified cotton we use.  They showed me first hand the difference Fairtrade can make.

Just like the ripple in the pond theory.  A small stone dropped in a pond causes ever increasing ripples.  The Challoner pupils have dropped quite a large stone and the ripples will be quite a force.  I really love it when students move things along and actually lead their school or university to change.

Read the full article here with quotes from the pupils and the full story of how they went about it and were successful.

Our effect on the world - the ripples go on and on...........

Northampton Business Awards

At our very first attempt at entering for Business awards we became finalists in two categories – Most Enterprising Business and The Environmental Business Award.

So top five in Northamptonshire in two categories.

Everyone chatted long and hard about what they would wear to the ceremony – It was  to be a black tie event.  chocoate fountain, champagne, three course meal, comedian, ceremony and disco.


The team all turned up dressed to the nines looking fabulous.  Here are some of us in the office and at the ceremony.

In the Office
At the Award Ceremony

Inspirational Women

I meet a lot of wonderful women in my world.  It was good to come across this short video of talented women with a few lines of their wisdom.  Courage seems a bit of a theme.

Running Cotton Roots and Impact Trading  is both exciting and challenging.

Sometimes wonderful, and just lately a little daunting.  Now I know I am not supposed to admit that but I think I will not be alone.

However the team here at Cotton Roots are all moving together with our plans and we are making great progress.  We hit a few little speed but we have rode right over them. Ye ha!  So we adapt and change with the times.  It’s not survival of the fittest but survival of the most adaptable (Darwin I think)!  A dash of courage, a pinch of resilience, a splash of stubbornness and inspiration just saunters on in (when you are shattered and least expect it) – just like that.

So take a LOOK, a MOMENT,  and listen to the video below………

Inspirational Women