Isle of Man News - POSTED Wed 03-04-2013

Shakti Man’s new direction causes a buzz

by Janet Lees

Shakti Man, the island’s fair trade store, is embarking on an exciting new direction. The shop, which is one of the biggest fair trade stores in the British Isles, has just launched a range of beautiful and practical gardening and home products that support bees and biodiversity – which in turn support life on earth.

The new gardening section features everything from funky planters made from recycled cement sacks to quality garden tools from Burgon & Ball, who have been manufacturing in Sheffield since 1730. Also poised to fly off the shelves are bird houses made from recycled wood, bee-friendly seed packs, recycled metal seed boxes, organic fertilizer, natural compost accelerator – and much more.

Leni Lewis, Shakti Man’s owner, said, ‘Up until now, our focus has been on fashion, gifts and homewares, so this is a big new departure for us. More and more people are wanting to grow their own food and actively help protect our amazing world. Our ranges help to make that easy and fun, and at the same time support a host of inspirational projects. Just two examples are twine ties made out of recycled coffee sacks by disabled people in Poole, and jute fruit baskets handwoven by marginalised women in Bangladesh. All the projects reduce waste, pay people a fair wage and result in useful products – everything is a celebration of beautiful things that are helping to make beautiful things happen.’

Books are another key element of Shakti Man’s new direction. A diverse selection of sumptuously illustrated titles includes plenty to excite everyone from gardeners to art and craft lovers, as well as anyone interested in mythology and ancient cultures.

And the crowning glory are the bee-related ranges. No one can have failed to pick up on the news in recent months about bees being under threat and the implications this has for all of us. With one in three mouthfuls pollinated by bees, it’s no exaggeration to say that our lives depend on them.

‘We’ve put together a selection of candles, cards, and honey and propolis,’ said Leni. ‘The honey and propolis are from a company called Beefayre, who source from sustainable, traditionally worked hives in Transylvania. Here there are no pesticides or intensive farming, so the honey and propolis is among the purest, most nutrient-rich to be found anywhere in the world.’

Also from Beefayre are hand-poured candles which combine natural plant wax, beeswax and fragrant organic essential oils. They double as aromatherapy massage oil – just dip your fingers into the warm wax! – while the glass holders can be reused as drinking glasses or tealight holders.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. To see the full new ranges in all their glory, call into Shakti Man on Parliament Street in Ramsey, open from 10 to 5 Monday to Friday and 9 to 5 on Saturdays.

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