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Behind the brands


Trade Fairs, especially some of the really big ones, can be quite daunting experiences. The Autumn Fair at the Birmingham NEC was no exception. We’d just set up our new company so this was going to be our first trade fair as a fully fledged buyer. It soon became apparent that the type of ethical bag you or I would be proud to wear was obviously in short supply. If I had been buying greetings cards I would have been in my element. But I wasn’t. I was beginning to wonder whether this was going to be a big waste of my time when suddenly the vibrant colours of the Namaste stand caught my eye. And then I glimpsed their brand new range of fair trade suede bags - it was love at first sight. The trip had been worthwhile after all.

Namaste, the company, was inspired by a journey through India in 1995 on reconditioned ex-Indian Army Enfield Bullet motorbikes. In search of some adventure, founder Sam Brummitt, his sister and her partner flew off to Kathmandu with a round the world ticket. After an inspirational trek to Mount Everest base camp in the wake of the worst storms for a generation, they travelled overland to India for a quick visit that turned into a six month adventure.

Sleeping under the stars most nights by the side of the road they quickly developed a passion for this amazing sub-continent and especially the warm, friendly and hospitable people they met. One day in Rajasthan, they got into conversation with the owner of a small textile business who suggested they went back home to England and started a business. So they did and the rest, as they say, is history!

Namaste is now a thriving business with a strong ethical policy at its core. They believe that the best way to reduce poverty is through trade. So they work with both primary producers and some larger organisations, harnessing the incredible skills and age-old techniques of local artisans. All of their products, including our wonderful suede bags, have been fairly traded which means as a minimum the workers all receive a fair wage that is at or above the national average and they work in an environment that is both safe and secure. Sam and his team go out to visit their suppliers several times a year and speak to them regularly which helps to ensure that all their suppliers meet internationally recognised fair trade standards. Namaste is recognised by BAFTS, the British Association of Fair Trade Shops as a fair trade importer. 

And finally if you’re wondering why they chose the name Namaste for their business, it’s after the greeting which was so often extended to them back in 1995. Some say it simply means ‘Hello’ but a better translation, perhaps, is ‘I greet the spirit within you’.

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Bags by Namaste