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Rainbow Life Blog

Our Ethics

by Lisa Clutterbuck 27 Aug 2020 2 Comments
Our Ethics - Rainbow Life

Welcome to our brand new store. By way of introduction here is what we are about.

Our aim is to carefully select products that are ethically sourced and sustainable from suppliers that we trust. With the descriptions of these products we aim to inform you as far as possible, about the story of your product. Some call this the backstory, we prefer to call it the frontstory.

This detailing of the products we believe helps connect you with the producer or artisan. We also believe in sharing our knowledge with you, particularly about the health and well-being benefits of our products. We do not claim to know everything, but we like to help you by sharing our expertise. Jen, for example, has used essential oils for many years and is knowledgeable about the range of health benefits. We aim to try out the products before we sell them to you wherever possible so we can genuinely speak from experience. Equally, we love to hear your comments and feedback and any suggestions to expand our range, which we feel could be limitless.

Many of our products are certified ‘fair trade’ in that the supplier has fair trade accreditation but we also buy products from suppliers who while lacking official certification are nonetheless ensuring fair trade principles are upheld (such as safe working conditions, fair wages, workers’ rights protected, no child or indentured labour). To help small businesses primarily in developing countries our suppliers are ensuring fair prices which are helping to alleviate poverty.

We also look closer to home and offer UK brands that have been made locally in Britain often utilising local resources and therefore reducing carbon emissions. We particularly like to support small family businesses in the UK and we are developing partnerships with organisations who are running some great projects to support the poor and the marginalised across the globe. We always take time to find out about these projects and to share this information with you. The well-being of our producers is as important to us as the well-being of our customers.

We want you to feel confident when you use our products that the person who made it for you is being paid a fair wage, works in a safe environment and is using sustainable materials to make your product. The UK government commitment to prevent deforestation caused by the production of certain crops such as soya, is also a concern for us and we are seeking to ensure that our soy products are from sustainable sources.

We do not claim that all our products are 100% sustainable but we are confident that our suppliers are doing their best to promote sustainability. For example, Kraft bags containing bath salts that have a 'window', we have asked questions of the supplier and we know that every effort is being made to change the packaging. We always check the packaging policy of our suppliers and wherever possible avoid the use of plastics in the packaging. We guarantee that your parcel from RainbowLife will be wrapped in 100% biodegradable materials, including the parcel tape. Our favourite products are the totally upcycled items such as the box strap baskets, rugs made of turfed out offcuts, bags made of discarded coffee sacks and belts made of old inner tubes. We plan for you to see more of these products on our shelves.

All this is due to my adventure as an anthropology undergrad that gave me the unique privilege of living and working in a Karen (pronounced Ka-REN) hilltribe village in northern Thailand. One of the unforgettable experiences was learning the entire life cycle of growing rice, from planting to harvesting to threshing. The Karen do all of this by hand and here I learned the true meaning of the phrase 'back breaking' work. Bent double in the wet paddy fields with leaches attached to my legs for hours on end. I can no longer eat rice without feeling enormous respect for these people. This product, rice, inextricably linked me with the story of the producer. Now, after many years of teaching special needs children in the UK it has become my dream to give something back to the Karen people and other marginalised peoples around the world by creating a place where people like you can buy products that support such communities.

We hope you enjoy looking through our categories of products and find something that resonates with you and brings happiness to the people who made it for you. Our goal is to find products that are genuinely useful for you, support your well-being & connect you to the producer.

By way of example, if you happen to know a keen cyclist…a belt made of an upcycled inner tube fashioned by a Malawian tailor is a genuinely useful piece of kit that also looks rather cool. It is functional, resonates with the cycle enthusiast and supports a fellow human being who can now educate his/her children and put food on the table. What could mean more? Just ask Tim. As a 'mamil' (Google it) he loves his innertube belt. It resonates on so many levels.

>> See Eco-Friendly Products

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12 Oct 2020 David

Quite an adventure. It is wonderful how life tends to come full circle and the adventure continues, almost picking up from where it left off. Congratulations on a fantastic concept, an excellent store, and for sharing your story.

09 Oct 2020 Yolande

Amazing story. You actually have lived the experience. That’s what I call ‘giving back’. Thanks for your courage Lisa.

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