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.


Anonymous said...

I do think there's a gap in the Hobart / Tas market for sustainable home building/renovation supplies / traffic directing. Building and renovating (like babying) are (largely promoted as) incredibly retail-dependent, and those trying to find good options can get lost in the morass between intentions and Tasmanian availability. Personally I don't do retail therapy (other than secondhand) as I consider it environmentally unsustainable - but when renovating we really needed something more specific than general advice (a la Sustainability Tas / green building reading). We needed product names and Tasmanian availability - there's lots of great ideas not presently available in Tas, and shipping costs / min order sizes made enviro-friendly options not poss for small scale (non-commercial) builds. I think Ecohaven has a great opportunity to really assist the environment by becoming a Tas conduit for green building supplies / suppliers - paints, oils/varnishes, wallpapers, 'green' linos / tiles, insulation, plasterboard alternatives, PVC piping/green plumbing alternatives, 'green' tradies directory? Obviously shop size limits what you can display, but becoming a distributor for such and having a warehouse somewhere??? Plumbing in particular was an enviro nightmare... !!! Best of luck with all your endeavours.

Sarah said...

Just thought I'd let you know that I popped in and bought a lovely Smitten tunic today. A bit on the expensive side, but I love it :)

Kirstan said...

Thanks Sarah - it does look great on you!

Thanks also to "Anonymous" for your comments. I completely agree that there is a huge gap in the Tasmanian market at the moment for green building / renovating products.
ecoHaven had a brief foray into the world of eco paints in the first half of this year, stocking the fabulous Livos paint and oil range. Unfortunately stocking these products didn't work out for us for a variety of reasons, namely price (very expensive wholesale price, leaving not much room for a retail margin), very costly to ship and a lack of knowledge. We found that it is a complex range which required not only detailed product knowledge, but also knowledge of surface preparation and the like. Unfortunately neither myself or my staff are adepet in the area and we felt too out of our depth to be able to provide the necessary customer assistance. After assessing it over a 6 month period, we made a conscious decision not to stock hardware products for the short term, based on the above.
Hardware / paint / building supplies is potentially an area we will consider again in the future, unless of course someone in Hobart (or indeed anywhere else in Tas) beats us to it, which would also be fantastic.

I do love your idea of a green tradies directory. We started to build up a few contacts while we were stocking the Livos range. We will hang on to these and develop contacts further as we become aware of them. As such, you are always welcome to give us a call or an email if you would like the contact details for any green tradies.