Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Fair Trade and FAIRTASTE

From Puifung of FAIRTASTE...

May 10th, Fair Trade Fair, fairly joyful!
Two weeks ago, on the World Fair Trade Day (May 10), there was a significant development in the Fair Trade movement in HK. Fair Trade HK, a newly formed association aiming to increase the visibility of Fair Trade, organized the second Fair Trade Fair with Oxfam HK at Star Ferry which I believe some of you visited. We have been much more sophisticated in organizing for the day. At least 2,500 people signed up to join the Fair Trade Break and did something related to Fair Trade. There were many creative ways to support, e.g. played a fair game with a Fair Trade football, wrote a slogan to support fair trade in addition to having a bite of the FairBreak chocolate wafer. You can find out more at: http://www.fairtradehk.org/english/fta.html

Furthermore, the day also announced the launch of the Fair Trade Workplace Society (FTWS). The idea was to invite some renowned companies/organizations to join the society, so that they can take the lead to promote Fair Trade in various sectors. 11 corporate and organizations joined as founding members and pledged to start using Fair Trade products in their office pantry. They are: ABN AMRO, Asia Financial, Asia Insurance, The HK & China Gas Co. Ltd., The HK Council of Social Services, The HK Institute of Education, Hysan Development, NWS Holdings, Oxfam Hong Kong, The Royal Bank of Scotland and TBWA\ Hong Kong. There is one more good news after we launched the FTWS, which is the participation of Marks and Spencer. They would like to be a member of the Society. To me, it was a breakthrough because we are cutting into new groups of people and getting their support to Fair Trade.

More warmth as summer comes!
I have been very involved in developing the idea and bring it to life. Much time was spent. Since Feb this year, a committee was formed to work on the idea. At times, there were uncertainty about the idea, at times, there were anxiety about the support we may or may not be able to gain. So, when it actually launched with a good number of corporate/organizations joining, I felt like we have gone through a difficult test… and I was so glad. The Fair Trade market will be expanded with these groups pledging to support. Hopefully, we can encourage more people selling Fair Trade products. And hopefully, FAIRTASTE will get more business as well, although it’s not realized yet...

In the last communication, we have expressed our difficulty in some logistic support, the heavy delivery cost and the workload related to it. In the last two months, angels appeared, and helped to take up this job. Very thankful to Dennis and Agnes of Fair Trade Junction, they are now helping to arrange the delivery of the orders. It’s a big help from them, we can save a lot of time and effort and concentrate on our marketing work. We feel so warm.

Another good thing happening is the very generous support of the Market Pro Associates (宏科廣告策劃). They are an internet marketing company and they have kindly helped us to develop an on-line shopping system for free. We are now developing the on-line shopping cart and any purchase of HK$380 or above in major commercial and residential areas can get free delivery. Thanks also goes to Chan Bo Shun, a friend, a documentary film maker, yet, helping us to develop this on-line system while we were crazy with the Fair Trade Fair work. When the platform is successfully done, we can certainly serve you better. You can also encourage your friends or colleagues to buy the Fair Trade goodies together, to spread the words, to spread the warmth, and to spread the urge for justice. Please wait for our good news.

These two great help are really unexpected and we are very thankful that we got these supports. A big push for FAIRTASTE and a big help to expand the Fair Trade market in Hong Kong.

With all these good news, we are bounded to have some bad news for you, may be not bad, but uncertainty. Our supplier in UK increased the price of their products. So, our import costs are higher. In addition, we also find that some of the markup was really too low and we need to adjust them. We need to pay our colleague, Alice whom many of you know as well. So, we are planning to revise the price list. We will be getting advices from some outlets and see what they think. I hope it won't be too unacceptable for them and the customers.

Coming up, coming up!
What's more… well, a few volunteers are boiling a new idea with us. We wish to form a marketing team (with retired or semi-retired but energetic people) to help selling FAIRTASTE products to shops and companies/organizations. It would be interesting and helpful if it works out. Will you be interested to help?

We are exploring to import Fair Trade wines into Hong Kong. Rachel, a volunteer, is visiting UK now and will help us to bring some back for tasting. If you happen to visit UK soon, you can also help to bring some back for us. And of course, we will certainly invite you for tasting then. It would be fun! We hope this Fair Trade wine idea can help us to develop a new product line. It will also be perfect for an item in hamper, so hopefully we can be ready for the mid-autumn festival hamper!

By the way, FAIRTASTE products are on shelf in Macau, they are now being sold by the Pin To Bookstore. The sales are going very well, they have re-ordered a few times, well-done Jane! and… a Taiwan women group visited us, who knows… may be FAIRTASTE will be sold in Taiwan as well… let’s keep dreaming.

Sorry, I can really go on and on (yes, because I'm an On-and-on member ;>). Hope you don't mind and enjoyed this long-winded update. I will try to be shorter next time. If you really feel annoyed, please reply us and tell us to delete your name from our email list.

All the best.

Puifung LEUNG
Tel: +852 6625 2996 or +852 9529 0939
email: puifung@gmail.com

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