First up in this this occasional series of taking a closer look at Three Stone Steps‘ retail customers is Global Fayre, located in Springfield, Missouri. You can also find Global Fayre, and befriend them even, on their myspace page.
What follows is my email interview with one of the owners, David. Should you find yourself in Springfield, please stop by!
How did you come up with the name Global Fayre?
We wanted something that would convey a number of principles/values/messages.
Fayre obviously sounds like Fair, but being English, for me it also means spread, or festival, or display.
So, we wanted to convey that our store has a feast of work from around the world…..more than shopping with a conscience (though our customers are doing that too).
How long have you been involved in fair trade? What sort of background do you have, or what event made you realize that fair trade was as important issue?
Cheri and I have been supporters of Fair Trade for a long time, in the sense of buying it when it was on offer. When our youngest baby was born (we have two girls, age 2 and 13) it opened our eyes to just how little was on offer in Springfield for people that wanted fair trade/alternative/green products. Then when Cheri was thinking about stepping back in to work, we decided that it would be great to do something together, plus we believed that there was the potential to champion Fair Trade in what is a pretty barren area (the MidWest).
My background is nearly 20 years of corporate work in Europe, mostly in strategic planning, but also in brand management, sales and marketing plus some time in finance. I’ve been in the US f
or nearly 6 years, and during that time have been a strategic consultant offering ‘therapy’ to small/medium sized business. I still offer that work, though Global Fayre is taking up most of my time at the moment.
Cheri moved to Springfield just after me, and has a background in wellness/corporate health, and is very much the ‘green leader’ of the two of us – I’m learning a lot from her.
How long has your store been open? Please tell me how you sold fair trade items before opening your store.
The store opened at the beginning of December 2007. Our route there was via a Farmers Market for the 2007 season, which gave us time to research the products, and the people, and to find out how we felt about working on this project together. Unlike most of the people I come across through CABN
and Fair Trade, we did not explore online sales first. The plan is to venture in to that in the next month or so.
I used to live in KCMO. Springfield is generally thought of as a pretty conservative part of the country, how is your shop important to the part of the community that cares about fair trade and related issues?
Conservative is an understatement!
But, the sense of community responsibility is strong, principally driven from a faith perspective.
So, we have a number of clear target markets:
- Faith – (probably the most exposed to Fair Trade via Ten Thousand Villages, Greater Gift and Equal Exchange);
- Education – Springfield has 3 universities, with around 30,000 students and faculty;
- Geographical – we are based in the downtown area of Springfield, and are part of a steadily reviving scene there, including things like a First Friday Art Walk and other downtown cultural events. The downtown revitalisation also means an increasing number of downtown residents (mostly lofts), bringing ‘locals’ to the store.
A key part of our mission is to reach out to the community to educate about Fair Trade and environmental issues too. We’re just started to get school parties bringing kids in to the store to learn about Fair Trade.
We also offer the store for fundraising events – such as one we are hosting next week for a volunteer who offers counselling to genocide victims in Rwanda.
So, all in all, I’m hopeful that Global Fayre can fairly quickly become a key part of the local community, at the same time introducing people here to Fair Trade on a level not seen in this part of the country before.