Thursday, May 31, 2012

Mystical Mythical Mix

Last week I was telling you about just how jolly hard those Spanish chaps can work...
Well I'm still in Spain as I write this, but by the time you read it I should have bounced through a Jubilee / Eurovision jumping UK and onward to the Moniachy light Peoples Republic of China. I'm considering a detour to Indonesia where our agent is bubbling with excitement at the discovery of some new suppliers he wants me to see. Meanwhile in India, my goodness it will be too hot and humid, but the projects there have slowed to a halt..
You know me, (if you read this newsletter regularly), I love to be busy and am always travelling. Our lovely AW customers are always hungry for the new, exotic and interesting - it drives their businesses and ours not to mention keeping thousands of artisans in gainful employment. It's my job to go where no importer has been before to keep finding new nice companies and great stuff to feed the nice AW monster. OK it's a little unfair to call it a monster, maybe more of a mystical mythical mix of interesting and funky retailers. Real people who understand the magic inherent in simple gifts. Is that you?
But recently I have been feeling the need to find place to lay my hat (for more than a week at a time), and Spain seems to be it. Similar time zone as the UK, only a hop away. We have a business here and it's warm. Then there are the property bargains of a life time.. or is it a currency gamble of a lifetime?
So in between I have been looking for a house. My criteria is simple, must be within 20 mins of the AW warehouse in Malaga and have stunning views. I want to be writing this newsletter on a Friday from a desk with an inspiring view.
There is big news in the UK (apart from Beth's big do) our production of much awaited Guest Soaps are finally on stream. Really, is that so exciting? Well for us we have spent a year installing some pretty heavy duty soap making machinery, developing a new set of skills, finding the right ingredients and having all the tests done etc. etc.. Finally we have AW Guest soaps. So we are excited.
For our clued up customers, they are excited because they know this is a hard to buy product with hundreds of uses (and sells very well). 
More news next week.. from somewhere else.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Snake Wine

Meanwhile in a far off province I found a market dealing in herbs and remedies.. The coastal region of China is very developed in every sense and also up to speed when it comes to eco-matters or ethical trading.. very much like the west. But head inside to the real China and such concerns hardly seem to matter. I found one little shop proudly selling African elephant and lion bone products, with pictures of the owner doing ivory deals in the dark heart of Africa. In this market.. I found musk dear anklers been chopped and crushed, pickled snakes of all types (you drink the vinager), and whole variety of dried animal private parts for heaven knows what purpose. Mandrake, half animal half plant is common, but also many strange unnamed plants and strange sea creatures. I couldn't help thinking how many endangered species and how much exploitation was involved...

herbmarket5.JPG  herbmarket4.JPG 

But in the same market I found traders dealing in floral rememedies and aromatherapy products... just like Ancient Wisdom.