Tuesday, 9 August 2011

The Lorax

Misses Z and A love books, which makes me very pleased because I love books.  Miss A is a bit of an obsessive little possum and has always had a favourite book, one which I am forced to read to her over and over (and over and over) again.  Sometimes the favourite will last for a week, sometimes longer.  I have at times been kept awake at night with stanzas out of her favourite at the time circulating in my mind quite unrelentlessly. 

There has been The Midnight Gang (by Margaret Wild and Ann James), Sleepy Pendoodle (Malachy Doyle and Julie Vivas) and Puppies and Piggies (Cynthia Ryland and Ivan Bates).  Last week she decided that her favourite was The Lorax by Dr Seuss.

We have quite a Dr Seuss collection kicking about our house and I must confess that I am, largely, indifferent to his books.  The illustrations are slightly too cartoonish and the words over the top for my liking.  However, The Lorax is an exception for me.  I love it.  The lilting language in it makes it a delight to read aloud and the environmental message is beautifully accessible for little people.  However, having said all that, I am surprised that Miss A enjoys it so much.  Afterall, it is a long book and its message probably slightly advanced for a two year old.

Given that I have read it so many times (particularly in the past week!), I am able to read it to Miss A at the moment somewhat on auto pilot and let my thoughts wander.  During this morning's first reading, it struck me how similar the Lorax's predicament is to the current logging in Tasmania and if those so hell bent on old growth logging could manage to take a message from this children's story.

For those who haven't read The Lorax, it tells the story of the Once-ler who cuts down Truffula Trees to make Thneeds.  The Lorax is a sort of hairy man who represents the trees and those who are dependent on them.  Despite his vocal protests and appeals, the Once-ler continues to cut down the trees in order to bigger his business. It's not until all of the Truffula Trees have been chopped down and his business ceased that the Once-ler feels any sense of regret.  Let's just hope that the newly signed Forestry Agreement means that we don't ever have to get to the stage where the last of our trees have been chopped down and that we can appreciate what we have before it is all gone.

I wonder what Miss A's book of choice next week will teach us?

Friday, 29 July 2011

Friday From the (Shop) Front

On Tuesday I was asked a question that made me laugh at the time, but has since made me think quite a bit.

A man who I have met previously had found out that I own ecoHaven and said "Tell me about your shop.  Do you sell organic and free trade (sic) stuff?  And what do you have for the general public?"

As I was attempting to explain that all of our products are for the general public, I was hit with a moment of wondering exactly what our store is about and the direction we are heading in.

When the store was initially opened and then later expanded, the vision was to create a one-stop eco shop where all sustainable living needs could be met.  However, with the huge expansion of eco products available in recent years, this has become impossible.  It's been really exciting for me to watch as so many areas become more and more environmentally friendly.  With a proliferation of paints, hardware, homegoods and the like become eco minded, it has become less possible for us to cover the main eco goods. 

Which leads me back to my question - what is ecoHaven about now, and what will it be about into the future?  I guess it's a question for most businesses and we are sitting in the position at the moment of being spoilt for choice.

From a personal perspective, when I engage in some retail therapy I like to know that I am making an ethical purchase while also nourishing my soul a little with something gorgeous.  As such, my vision for the store is to showcase beautiful, quality sustainable products with a focus on clothing, baby and children's items, skincare and body care and homewares. 

A bit of a long, rambly post from me today, but I would love to hear your thoughts on what you look for when you shop.

Cheers! K.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Friday From the (Shop) Front

I often joke that I have three babies.

Miss Z

Miss A

And ecoHaven.

And in many ways, it’s true.  I love them, invest time and energy in them, they give me great pleasure, frustrate me, give me headaches and all at times keep me awake at night.

I didn’t realise when I took the business on just how much there was to running a store.  You just buy some cool stuff and then sell it to other people who also think it’s cool, right?  Well yes.  But there is also supplier relationships, bookwork, marketing, cashflow forecasts, landlord relationships, product planning, store layout, staffing, the list goes on…It has given me so much respect for all the other small business owners out there, particularly those who have been at it for a while and making it happen. 

But like I said, I also love it.  I love the knowledge that I’ve gained, helping me lead a more sustainable life.  I love our customers, many of whom are so passionate about our products.  I also love how many of them like to stay for a bit of a chat – it feels like we get the chance to establish proper personal relationships.  Having never worked in retail before, it has surprised me how much some customers give personal insights into things – is this normal for most stores?  Do you often strike up in-depth conversations in the places where you shop?

And I love so many of our products – it is really exciting for me to see how ‘organic’ and ‘sustainable’ have moved from being seen as the domain of hippies to being accepted by the mainstream. 

Here are the three main products I’ve personally been enjoying this week:

Mokosh – so rich, so luxurious, so organic, fair trade and Australian

3Fish – absolutely loving my new ‘Audrey’ dress.  Also organic, fair trade and Australian owned

Tightology – funky, spunky legwear.  The little owl on my pair of ‘Nocturnals’ has been keeping me company this week.  Organic cotton and Australian.

Have a great week!

*Product images are supplier's own

Monday, 18 July 2011

5 Years Ago…

Five years ago my life changed forever.  I felt that the world tilted a little on its axis and I knew that things, for me at least, would never be the same.  Because on this day, five years ago, my first beautiful baby girl was born.

I remember staring at her in amazement – I couldn’t believe that she had finally arrived, that she was so gorgeous and so perfect.  It actually took my breath away a little, that overwhelming feeling of love coupled with a crushing feeling of complete responsibility.  Thankfully the overwhelming feelings have largely passed, but here we are, five years on, and not a day has gone by where she still doesn’t amaze me.

Mainly I’m in awe of how she is her – that the little person Miss Z is has been there all along, with just more aspects of it revealed bit by bit.

So wishing my bright, bubbly, assertive, noisy, sweet big girl a very, very happy 5th birthday.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Friday From the (shop) Front

I love getting presents.  Who doesn’t, really?  So it’s always exciting
when the postman or a courier strolls in the door of ecoHaven lugging a
box or two.  It’s like the anticipation of Christmas – what’s inside, will
I love it, where will I put it, who else might love it?  And (daggy
confession time), I normally try to extend the anticipation by locating
the invoice first, having a read, checking our purchase order form before
I grab a pair of scissors and tear into it.  And invariably I do love it
(I ordered it afterall, so you would hope so!).

This week has been a big week of new arrivals.  We received a new baby and
kids’ label on Monday – Baobab, featuring cute little numbers in super
soft organic cotton.  Miss Z was my fashion consultant in choosing most of
the pieces, so they are guaranteed to appeal to all five year olds! 
Also new to ecoHaven this week are some funky new threads from the girls
at Sinerji, featuring equitably made, naturally dyed organic cotton gear
for men and women.
Cute myrtle jewellery by That Vintage hit our shelves only yesterday and
I’m already sporting a piece.
How much do you love opening presents?
*All images are suppliers own 

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Take One!

I’ve been procrastinating about writing my first blog post for a while.  I kind of feel like I should have something big or important to say.  Which I don’t - just lots of little things.  Mainly about the ups and downs of parenting two bright, assertive little women, running a shop while only working one day a week, trying to live a more sustainable life, the pitfalls of being married to an accountant, along with whatever other thoughts or ideas wander into my head at the time.

I’ve been a reader of blogs for quite a while now.  I love that people are willing to share ideas and thoughts with unknown readers across the web, but I’ve also wondered how blog authors find the time.  Particularly those with young children.  I guess I’m about to find out for myself.  Any hot tips would be appreciated!