So Why 'Shakti Man'?

 

Shakti - a Hindi word commonly used in India and Nepal: the divine force that manifests to restore balance.
 
Man - we're based on the beautiful Isle of Man in the British Isles.
 
'Shakti Man' - well he's also a super hero in India (but we humans are all super heroes!)

 

Well, that was it....being a small part of "the divine force that manifests to restore balance". At first we were eco warriors who wanted to ‘change everything’ as we saw many of the world’s systems causing problems, rather than offering solutions. Since our humble beginnings in 2002, it has been our mission to support and raise awareness for fair and sustainable trading solutions that have a positive impact on people, places and the way we all see and interact with our environment. Now we have grown a little and don’t want to get on the soap box and criticise, but just to inspire and be inspired by what really matters. As Rumi once said “Let the beauty we love be what we do”.

 

It was our dream, to support communities that we loved, to be the bridge between east and west, where culture and diversity could be celebrated. In 2002 we started a charity called 'Shakti Nepal' and our aim was to fund projects in Nepal that would support children and the environment. Our projects grew, and we found new and wonderful ways to reach out and share the celebration of connection. At first we sold Fair Trade goods on market stalls and at festivals, then finally in 2004 we opened our doors as a real shop on the Isle of Man.

 

Our customers seemed to love what we did - and 2 years later we moved next door into a bigger shop and diversified into eco and natural fibres. Our links around the world grew quickly as, believe it or not, the fair trade movement is actually quite small. We made new friends and began trading with more and more organisations that worked for the benefit of all. Our first mission of raising funds for our projects in Nepal now seemed like a real possibility.

 

On a very auspicious day, we had a visit from a very inspiring lady..little did we know, but she was Jo Fairley, the founder of the first Fair Trade chocolate to hit major high streets in Britain and supermarkets nationwide, 'Green and Black's'. She had fun in Shakti Man and left saying 'Wow, this is the nicest fair trade shop in the British Isles, I wish it was on my doorstep!' We were just a bit chuffed!

 

And today, all of our products are sourced fairly and responsibly – we are a member of the British Association for Fair Trade Shops and Suppliers. We only deal with Fair Trade and ethical companies who have 'fair for all' ethics and 'environmental sustainability' at the top of their agenda and our wonderful products come from skilled artisans all over the world. We trade with real people, many of which have become our great friends - who create the very best of traditional art and craft. Our founder, Leni, has travelled in India and Nepal for the last 18 years and now - as much as in the beginning - Shakti Man shopping is about people care, fair share and earth care and represents a simple celebration of culture, diversity and global awareness. Over the years, we have developed enriching, long lasting and successful working relationships and are now able to support many wonderful organisations, social and environmental projects and co-operatives. Fair Trade makes a powerful difference, helping to alleviate poverty in the world's most marginalised communities.  

 

We are still very proud to be able to share our successes with projects each year, some local, some within the developing world, including our wonderful Shakti Children's Home in Kathmandu - and the ethos that we began with – where everyone gets to benefit – is as alive as it ever was. It’s a little like an upside down way of doing business, we don’t do business with ethical commitments, we do business because of our ethical commitments.

 

If you would like to know more about some of our profit sharing activities – or to help and get involved, please contact us at info@shaktiman.co.uk.