Last month, the Scottish Parliament’s Cross Party Group on Fair Trade invited Rainbow Turtle, along with One World Shop in Edinburgh, Dos Mundos in Anstruther, and All Things Fair in Blairgowrie, to discuss “Fair Trade shops on our high streets: challenges and opportunities.” The Convenor of the group, Colin Smyth MSP, was in attendance, as were representatives from other groups interested in Fair Trade. Climate change protesters from Extinction Rebellion had formed a camp very close to the parliament building, causing some issues with security that meant we all faced a long wait to get inside but it was worth it.
Each Fair Trade shop in turn gave a brief history of their shop and then went on to discuss the challenges that they face. It was decided that these could be broken down into more general retail challenges (e.g. a general downturn in high street shopping) and specifically Fair Trade issues (e.g. lack of awareness of Fair Trade). Rainbow Turtle noted that the real value of a Fair Trade shop is in the community that it creates – both within our group of volunteers and with regards to repeat customers who promote the shop by word of mouth.
All Things Fair, Dos Mundos and One World Shop all suggested that high levels of tourism in their area helps their sales a great deal, which is hopefully something we can come to rely on too as Paisley promotes itself as a tourist destination. So next time you have visitors to the town, or if you’re a visitor yourself, come along to Rainbow Turtle for unique and ethical gifts and treats!