Posted by Ana on May 14th, 2015 | post in Uncategorized |No comment


An experience we had in the realm of recycling in an unexpected situation.

How many of us have ever wondered how the African importers who sell wholesale keep their stock readily available to those of us who retail and buy from them?


It is important for those of us in the business of selling African items to know that our goods are made using Fair Trade practices and that, in particular, workers are paid a fair price for their goods. Over the years we have developed relationships with suppliers who agree with this philosophy. Among others, we had a major supplier from Mali who went home for a visit about five years ago. The day after his arrival, he lay unexpectedly down and died! It was a shock to all of us, and still many are grieving. Finally it seems like we have found someone who can approximate replacing him: Quality items – well sewn, good pricing – not trying to gouge us, and a congenial spirit!


She is based out of Los Angeles when she is in the States, but comes to Northern California for shows. Just before we closed our brick ‘n mortar, we bought items from her that FLEW out the door. Beautiful mud cloth shirts and ponchos – NICE! However there was another style that didn’t sell at all, so she said when she came back to the Bay Area, we could exchange. We agreed to meet at her storage place in the North Bay.


When we arrived at the self storage location, we were surprised! You know those containers that fit on ships and also on trucks? Well someone has some acres of black top with rows and rows of these containers all lined up. Each has its own padlock and number. The location is in a low rent industrial tract.  It really is an example of creative use of containers that are no longer seaworthy. Attached is a photo. The supplier has a large collection of mud cloth panels, hats, and lots of other goods without the high rental cost of in-town storage. I think you can see some of the mud cloth in stacks though the door.  We were very surprised and impressed with this kind of creativity. No new building construction costs, just the use of old containers and economical use of vacant space with security .
Anybody and everybody can recycle and reuse, make money and provide affordability at the same time! Just have to be creative! Wow!

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