I am very pleased that both individuals and companies can now purchase fair trade, eco-friendly hampers from The Hamper Hut – what a great idea! This is no surprise considering the owner of The Hamper Hut, Carinda, achieved being printed in the latest edition of Anthill as one of the impressive entrepreneurial minds that entered Anthill’s 30underThirty. Soul Economy had the opportunity to speak to this impressive soulful entrepreneur.
1. What inspired you to start The Hamper Hut? What were you doing before this?
Around five years ago I came up with the idea of starting my own gift package business and after some travel through India, Nepal, Africa and a working holiday in the UK I wanted to make it fair trade supportive. During my travels I saw poverty as well as local artisan talent and whilst in the UK I witnessed Fair Trade products being embraced, in London there is even a chain of Fair Trade cafes.
Prior to this I have worked in a variety of corporate jobs in Sydney and for Cadbury Schweppes head office whilst in London, which was great for my chocolate addiction.
2. I know that the company has only recently started, but what is your long-term vision for Hamper Hut?
One day I would like to extend our offering Australia-wide & even internationally (currently we only offer to Eastern Australia Metro). I also want to build brand awareness so when people think of hampers they don’t think of Crisco of David Jones and instead they think of the groovy fair trade, eco-friendly gift packages The Hamper Hut has to offer!
3. Tell us a little about your product range. Do you intend to expand the range?
Hamper Hut’s hampers are full of unique & useful fair trade products so not only are they a great gift option they benefit the producers and their communities. We have categorised the hampers according regions, e.g. all the products within the Himalayan treasures hamper have been produced by artisans from the Himalayan region of Nepal & India. The current hamper range includes the following:
- Himalayan treasures hamper
- Indian infusion hamper
- African Assortments hamper
- Andean Accessories hamper
I am also working on section on my site with smaller gift items currently featuring ‘Flip Flop animals’. Made from flip flops (thongs) that litter the shores of the Indian Ocean in Kenya, these hand carved animals stand proud for the environment and fair trade! No two are even remotely alike; they come tucked into a woven back and have a detailed information tag explaining the flip flop process and project tied around its neck.
There are plans to expand the hamper range; I am looking into two potential additions that will include a South East Asia and Middle Eastern themed hamper.
4. It is wonderful that The Hamper Hut provides fair trade products delivered in an eco-friendly hamper. How do you ensure that the products “really” are ethically made?
Our suppliers are members of the Fair Trade Federation (FTF) which is an association of fair trade wholesalers, retailers, and producers that are fully committed to providing fair wages and good employment opportunities to economically disadvantaged artisans and farmers worldwide.
FTF members link low-income producers with consumer markets and educate consumers about the importance of purchasing fairly traded products which support living wages with safe and healthy conditions for workers in the developing world. FTF membership is not a certification, but members are screened for their full commitment to fair trade. By adhering to social criteria and environmental principles, fair trade organisations foster a more equitable and sustainable system of production and trade that benefits people and their communities.
5. What have been your greatest challenges in setting up The Hamper Hut?
The greatest challenge… hmmm there were quite a few of those, but I guess sorting out the website (and funding it) was the up there is one of biggest challenges!
6. What have been your successes to date?
Getting my name printed in the latest edition of Anthill as one of the impressive entrepreneurial minds that entered Anthill’s 30underThirty was a nice little achievement.
7. Do you see an increasing interest in the corporate market for ethical products such as yours?
Yes interest is on the increase & I think this comes as companies are under pressure to be more socially responsible which means great things for fair trade and the environment!
We offer a custom make service to corporate customers in which they advise us what products they have in mind for their hampers, we then source them through our fair trade suppliers and create them as required. You will be surprised at how many products have a fair trade alternative! I will continue to target the corporate market as they can make a huge difference by supporting fair trade not only by purchasing my hampers for their gift requirements but by converting to fair trade certified products… I would love to see every office convert from Nescafe blend 43 to fair trade supportive blend; what a difference that could make!
8. What advice would you give to others keen on starting their own responsible businesses?
Find a niche you enjoy and then get ready for continuous research and planning!
Now we here at Soul Economy like to get to know our soulful entrepreneurs a little better, so on a more personal note we have some questions:
1. What is your favourite restaurant?
Shelley’s by the beach in Ballina (on NSW far north coast), watching the waves whilst enjoying some of their awesome pancakes.
2. What do you do to relax?
I kick back in the park for fresh air and sunshine (or on the couch with a good DVD) and indulging in a slice of cheesecake sharing it with my partner Ben.
3. What are you passionate about?
Travel, cooking to good music and fair trade!
4. Do you have a favourite book and why?
I love travel writing (because I love travel), Michael Palin’s has a series of great reads (Himalaya, Sahara etc) and Holy Cow- An Indian Adventure by Sarah McDonald is also one of my favs.
5. What single issue would you change to make the world a better place?
The Hamper Hut
PO Box 363
Gladesville NSW 1675 Australia
P: +61 (0)434 460 650