Leaf plate news

July 2019

If you're having a party, or some kind of do and you suddenly realise you're all out of leaf plates, don't despair! You don't have to order them online and wait a day or 2 for delivery, because you can now buy them directly from SWOP (Shop Without Packaging) in Lee Green SE12.

Their full address is 7 Burnt Ash Rd, London SE12 8RG. This wonderful shop is a delight for green shoppers, being a pioneer zero-waste retailer in SE London, selling unpackaged foodstuffs sold by weight; groceries and household products all without packaging. Its focus is on organic, fair trade, and where possible, local. A perfect place for our leaf party plates.

Lee Green is just down the road from Blackheath and Lewisham (train stations, plus Lewisham DLR). Happy shopping and partying!


Ch - Ch - Ch - Ch - Changes

Oct 2017

After 22 years of trading from London's Southbank we have closed our shop doors for the last time in Gabriel's Wharf so that Ganesha is now exclusively online.

Ch - Ch - Ch - Ch - Changes

You will still be able to get hold of these unique and wonderful products whenever you like, 24 hours a day - and you can even do it in your pyjamas - or not!  (However you do your shopping, we cross our fingers and hope that you will continue to buy from us online.)

All our stock is now housed and managed by the brilliant Camden Society. They'll be delighted to pack up your orders and send them out to you. Over the coming weeks we'll be adding more products and refreshing the site, so please stop by again soon.

Thank you to all our customers over our many years of Southbank trading - you often made our work day a total delight, and we made some very good friends too.

Why have we packed up our shop? Because we're taking the opportunity to swap London for the wild beauty (+ clean air) of the Catalan Pyrenees. More about that later.

Right now we'd just like to thank you all.
Very best wishes from Jo + Purnendu


Time Out Love London Awards
We're runner up again!

Nov 2016

So, here we are again! We think the expression is: "always the bridesmaid and never the bride" -nevermind! It must be, without doubt, stiff competition to win Best Shop in Waterloo + Southwark. To almost have made it (again) is still pretty amazing.

The poster opposite (photoshopped for the web) is now proudly displayed in our window.

Thank you to all who took the trouble to vote for us, from the bottom of our hearts.

Love London Awards



Time Out Love London Awards
Please vote for us + help us win this year!

October 2016

It’s that time of year again – where did the time go?!

Vote for us!

We’re delighted to say that we’ve been short listed in the Time Out Love London Awards again this year.

The Love London Awards celebrate our favourite parts of the city and are voted by the people –so they’re very special.

Incredibly, in 2015 we were the runner up: Best Shop in Waterloo and Southwark! Now we’re thinking big and wondering: can we actually win it this year? With your help, perhaps we can..

Voting is open now (closes early Nov, we think) and anyone can vote. Click here for a handy link to the Time Out website.


New arrivals!

September 2016

A terrific consignment of upcycled gift boxes has just arrived!

They're very nature inspired and feature butterflies, flowers, birds and dragonflies.

They make great gift boxes for many things including soap, jewellery, chocolates (but not lighted candles, ok?!).

Made with great skill by township women from a project in South Africa, these are perfect for the festive season.

Upcycled gift  box
Scroll down the page a bit for more information about the producers; Click here to go to the shop


We're on Instagram!
April 2016

Here's our Instagram page! Please check us out and give us a follow. This is one of our recent posts on a nautical theme for spring!
Gabriel's Wharf Magical Xmas
5 Dec from 12pm

December 2015

You're invited to Gabriel's Wharf on 5 December for a day of free festivities and crafty fun for all the family: live music from 1pm with Christmas carols from the National Deaf Children's Society at 4pm; craft activities for children 12-3pm where you can create your own Christmas decoration! We'll be open as usual from 11.30 - 7pm, and we have many lovely handmade and unusual things that won't break the bank -and special offers too.

We've got lots of new products and some old favourites:

kanther Ipad cases - new!

Vintage silk sundar scarves -new arrivals!

Kanther washbags - new range!

upcycled clikety-clak boxes - new consignment!

More scarves - felted silk

blockprint throws -offer

Gabriel's Wharf magical xmas


Time Out Love London Awards: we're shortlisted!

November 2015

Time out shortlisted

We're thrilled and delighted to say that Ganesha has actually been shortlisted in Time Out's Love London Awards -for best shop in Southwark and Waterloo!
Thank you to all who voted for us via the link on our homepage. Polls have closed now and the winners will be announced later in November.

This is a huge deal for our tiny shop. We are up against some titans, eg Hayward Gallery shop, Southbank Book Market and Lower Marsh Market (so to be honest our chances are slim). However, we're still reeling happy from being shortlisted, whatever the outcome. And it's a lovely end to our celebrations marking 20 years in Gabriel's Wharf.


Below is our current shop window - it's attracted a lot of interest and we've had a terrific pre-Christmas bounce in sales. Thank you all.
And here's a link to our Instagram profile where you can see more images of the shop.
(Lots of lovely things are coming in for Christmas!)

 Ganesha shop window

UPDATE: So we didn't win, but we're runners-up! We can say that according to Time Out Love London Awards, we're *almost* the best shop in Waterloo and Southwark (which has such a ridiculous ring, we might actually use it in our marketing). A big thank you to all who voted for us -and it must have been a fair few - we really appreciate it.


Love London Awards

September 2015

Love London Awards

We were very happy to find this poster from Time Out in our post the other day.
The Love London Awards is all about celebrating those bits of London that 'do it' for you.
Needless to say we're thrilled to be included! This month is where people can nominate you, then next month is when people vote.
So, if we 'do it' for you, please nominate us!

There's a handy link to the page here


Love London Awards

September 2015

Love London Awards

We were very happy to find this poster from Time Out in our post the other day.
The Love London Awards is all about celebrating those bits of London that 'do it' for you.
Needless to say we're thrilled to be included! This month is where people can nominate you, then next month is when people vote.
So, if we 'do it' for you, please nominate us!

There's a handy link to the page here


Nepal Earthquakes – how we can help

May 2015

12 May Update: another earthquake has hit Nepal, this time of magnitude 7.3, as the country is trying to cope with the loss of life and aftermath of the major 7.8 magnitude quake that hit a couple of weeks ago. Over 8000 people are known to have died to date, a figure that will keep rising, because many rural places are still cut off due to avalanches or are yet to be reached.

We’ve heard from many but not all of our producers there. Inevitably there have been deaths following the collapse of people’s homes. Even for the lucky ones whose homes still stand, they’re too scared to sleep in their houses due to aftershocks. There are people on the ground helping but they need more resources.

Here are a couple of local organisations providing relief and support that have been recommended to us:

Himalayan Children’s fund

The Ama Foundation

The Guardian has also compiled a list of organisations here.

Finally the Disasters Emergency Committee has set up an appeal for Nepal. They plan to help local communities rebuild their lives, beyond emergency relief.  Further infomation here.


Celebrating 20 years of happy shopping!

February 2015

We can barely believe it, but Ganesha turns 20 at Gabriel's Wharf in the next few weeks. To be honest we're a bit older still, because we started out at our local Greenwich Market, and also at Spitalfields in the early 90s.

Spring 1995 we put our market bags down and pitched up in Gabriel's Wharf. We were told we had 3 years before the site was to be developed by Coin Street Community Builders (for social housing). So Coin Street has been working on other developments first, but we didn't expect to be here 20 years later! Our time might soon be up, though. As the skyline around us changes almost daily with luxury hotels and apartments on the march, the little independent enclave of Gabriel’s Wharf seems even more improbable. But plans for the Garden ‘Bridge’ (it won’t be a public right of way) might well signal the end of Gabriel’s Wharf as we know it. We'll hear more about that later in the year. For now, we'll celebrate.

To mark ten years, we remade the website and added producer profiles (it's still a bit Heath Robinson and wonky, but you know, so are we. The important thing is that it works just fine). At 20 we decided to become a bit more social. So we've made an Instagram profile. Please take a look via the hashtag below. We're also re-issuing our original business card that features a quirky painting of the shop back in 95, by talented artist Angie Brew, who founded Skylark Gallery next door –also celebrating 20 years.

In our 20 or so years of trading some of India has become wealthier, but a lot of India (particularly rural India) hasn't changed much, if at all. We’d argue there's still a need to support the traditional industries of India and the often marginalised communities behind them. And the fact that we’re still here doing what we love and bringing some happy shopping to London means that people seem to agree. For that we say thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

We plan to have a party around the time of Fairtrade Fortnight in March. If you’d like to come, drop us a line from the homepage.
All welcome!



Come to our Xmas Wharf shopping event 6 Dec!

December 14

Join us for an afternoon of festive merriment and stress-free shopping in our little wharf on Saturday 6 December. This is also Small Business Saturday, so a great opportunity to stray from the high street for some Christmas shopping.

There'll be music, mince pies, twinkly lights galore -and not just on our lovely Christmas tree!

Also, there are some free craft activities -make your own xmas decorations, for your own tree!

Finally, there are loads of terrific things to see at Ganesha, and all the other lovely independents, in Gabriel's Wharf; unusual Christmas decorations, beautiful donkey milk soaps from rescued donkeys(really!), lovely knitted hats and gloves, plus loads of unusual gift ideas -all hand made and fair trade.

Happy Christmas!

Upcycled boxes of happiness!

October 14

Because, these put a smile on your face. Straight from a project in South Africa that gives stable work to some of South Africa's most disadvantaged township women; allowing them to make a better life for themselves and their families.
One of the women, Lindiswa, says: “It is such a good opportunity to know that my creativity can impress people that live overseas, and it gives me the opportunity to interact with them. It makes me feel good to know that my job contributes to keeping our country clean by recycling. It is also good to work here because it helps me to live my life and take care of my daughter.”
Another, Natombi, says: 'this job means a lot to me and I’m lucky to get a job like this. I learn so many things here like how to treat customers, respect for co-workers, and to work in a team. To me it is not just a job, it is my everything.'

These beautiful boxes are made from upcycled plastic bottles, which are then decorated with a wide range of patterns and a matching little pull-knob. They are very tactile and invite you to play with them, as they open and close in a very pleasing way.

They make great gifts and gift boxes for anything from sweets to soaps to jewellery, or on their own, just because.

See the range we have in stock


Now we’re Sarky
(lovely new bags from Nepal)

Aug 14

Have you seen our newest range of leather bags? They are very handsome and rugged and will probably last you forever. Perhaps it’s the only bag you’ll ever need again; the bag to end all bags..

Can you tell we’re a bit partial to their charm? How can you not be when you hear all about them: they are hand made using vegetable-tanned leather in the traditional way. That’s how it’s been done for generations in Nepal, and carries on today, because, well, perhaps there is no better way to make a bag.

The producers are members of the Sarky leather working caste and live in Sindhukot village in the Sindhupalchok District, northeast of Kathmandu. It’s a beautiful and mountainous region where many families practice subsistence agriculture.
Being a beautiful and mountainous place also means subsistence agriculture is quite challenging and life is probably rarely easy. So there’s also a long tradition of tanning and leather working.

The range of bags you’ll find at Ganesha are based on traditional designs of saddlebags with a bit of a twist, though the most popular design so far is the boho tote (shown opposite) – a pared-down bag of such simplicity, it is a joy to use.

Vegetable-tanned leather is very different to its chemically-processed cousin. It feels waxy, because it’s been treated with various oils and salts. This leather is also very thick and has a rustic quality, as it is buffalo leather. It comes from buffalos that have expired naturally –because buffalo is an important part of mountain village life and has more value alive. Some leather has to be bought in with rising demand for bags however.

One last point: as this project takes off, men are returning to the village from the shoe factories of Kathmandu, because they can earn a better wage.

This is the kind of project that gives us huge pleasure to support; beautiful products made with skill, and produced in a truly sustainable way (environmentally and socially). Does fair trade get better than this?

see the range of bags here

Join us for Motif at Ganesha, 22 May

May 14

Join Ganesha and Motif for a night of fair trade antics! See the products, hear about the producers and their stories. Jackie Corlett, founder of Motif, Dhaka Bangladesh is in London and is spending an evening at Ganesha. Jackie will be on hand to tell us all about all the terrific products from Motif stocked at Ganesha. Find out about traditional crafts and skills in Bangladesh and how this benefits women working in these crafts today.and why not?

Sample fair trade wine and Indian nibbles.  Thursday 22 May, 18.00 - 20.00. All welcome.

For more information about Motif please see here


Ganesha goes bananas for Fairtrade Fortnight

Feb 14

The theme for Fairtrade Fortnight this year is bananas. Since we don't do food we have taken the brief and not exactly run with it, rather mused around the figurative edges - and so we invite you, dear website browser and perhaps-customer to consider, nay celebrate the more bananas-type products we have:

Cowdung toys (see opposite) and why not?
These are folk art toys from Orissa. You haven't played atall if you've not played with cowdung toys..

Leaf plates
Our best selling plates, making parties green!

Vintage sari silk bunting
These really are cast-offs from Bengali ladies' wardrobes, and the lucky ones find themselves turned into bunting by Calcutta Rescue

Upcycled colander / fruit bowl (see below)
another Bengali treasure -a hand fashioned colander made from, among other things, tea caddies. Also make splendid fruit bowls.

We've also gone bananas literally, and during Fairtrade Fortnight 2014 there will be free bananas in the shop for everyone. Please stop by and grab one. Happy bananas!

cow dung toycolander


Celebration of Fairtrade Fortnight at Charlton House

Feb 14

We enjoyed going local for Fairtrade Fortnight last year so much, we’re going to do it again, since we’ve been invited back.

Once again, there’ll be live music! (this year live Kora music from special guest Mosi Conde) Poetry! Dancing! And taster sessions in Tai Chi, singing, African dance and drumming!

There will also be a speaker from the Fairtrade Foundation, to underline why we even need such a thing. And some lovely fair trade stuff from Ganesha, and other terrific alternative traders.

The event is free and organised by Global Fusion Music and Arts. Expect a very fun night. The action kicks off at 6.30.  

26 Feb, Charlton House, SE7 6.30 – 9.30

Global Fusion Music and Arts

Ganesha goes ‘click and collect’ with Street Hub

Nov 13

Ok, this is our effort at being slightly with the times. Only the other day an old colleague was berating us for not being clap-happy about the social media thing. I confess I do not like business operating in social media and I refuse to be drawn into the twitterverse, or whatever it’s called (however lovely and unique is our message). That’s ok, though, isn’t it? I mean your world will not be impoverished for not having us tweet inanely, will it? Just think of all the other things you could be doing etc..

Anyway, as a sort-of compromise, we’ve been persuaded to join the ‘click and collect’ revolution instead, courtesy of Street Hub. The idea is to use technology to help bring people to their local independent shops. Now that, I think, is a good idea.

Users click on their chosen neighbourhood and can then browse the independent shops, on the device of their choice. They can then reserve the product via Street Hub, then actually come to our real bricks and mortar shop to pick it up – magic!

Anything that helps people explore their local independent shops, is ok with us, however virtual the pathway. Technology eh? Sometimes it really can be useful.

For more information check out Street Hub


SALE on Yonjai Spa

Oct 13

Yes, it’s true; almost too true to believe, we know. In the run up to Christmas, we have a sale on our range of luxury Yonjai Spa cold-pressed soaps, salt scrubs and lip balms (because we can!)

They are the same boxes of gorgeousness, containing as they do all things good and natural and bursting with essential oils. The lemon grass and basil soap is, strangely enough, bursting with real lemon grass and basil and utterly gorgeous – this is not us being in the least bit biased, you understand. But just to say that they come in handmade boxes and feature a selection of 2 and 3 soaps and we have discovered that they make delightful gifts. Even better, they are made by a women’s co-operative in Bangkok.

And due to a bulk buy, we can pile them high and sell them at a bargain price.

Yonjai spa two bar soap

Check them out here


Gabriel’s Wharf summer party –a celebration of independents!

July 13

This year we thought we’d have a party down at the wharf. The date is Saturday 27 + Sunday 28 July (because we like to party hard) and, you’re all invited. It’s a celebration of independents, at the glorious republic of Gabriel’s Wharf.

There will be some interesting food stalls for the occasion, as well as the wharfie regulars with their fine pies etc..

And there’ll be entertainment galore with music including lute, harp, guitar, singing and djs and comedy and magic too.

There might even be a few special offers at Ganesha and the other quirky independents of the wharf. Come on down to the sizzling Southbank and join the party.


New range: soap from a war zone

June 13

We are now stocking a terrific range of olive oil soaps – from Aleppo, Syria.

The soaps are made from organic olive oil, and are available in a lovely big plain block, or blended with black cumin, or jasmine oil. The jasmine smells divine. They are made by a family firm in Aleppo. Pure Olive Oil Alleppo Soap

And beyond that, there is no good news to tell. Because Aleppo is in the midst of war. I asked how they are coping and was told that anyone who can, has left Aleppo. Only the poor, the old, the ill and the young remain. Many of the workers have died in the conflict, and production has stopped. We don’t know if production will be possible anytime soon, or if any stock could leave Syria.

So this is not the most sustainable product we are selling, but possibly the most noteworthy, which is why we thought we’d flag it up here.

You can see them here


Gabriel's Wharf Easter Egg Hunt!

March 13

Come on down to the wharf for a chocolate egg hunt this Easter. The shops are choc full (excuse the pun!) of hidden little eggs, just waiting to be discovered - by you! And when you find them, they are yours to munch. Since we've bought in about a tonne, you mustn't leave them all for us, ohno.

Gabriel's Wharf is in the heart of the Southbank and is a terrific place to chill, even when the sun shines, which as we know, isn't very often these days.

The wharf is also stuffed full of quirky independent shops - the quirkiest, most

independent of all the quirky and independent shoppy places in London. Come on over and eat chocolate eggs with us, we don't bite (unless you are a chocolate egg).

From 23 March - 7 April 2013

wola nani bowl full of choc easter eggs


Fairtrade Fortnight 2013: Chocs away!

Feb 2013

To celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight 2013 and in anticipation of spring (hopefully some time soon bbrrr!) we are introducing a new range of chocolate goodies.

As Easter is on its way too, we couldn’t resist the chocolate bunny lollies and flower lollies for starters. And then we couldn’t resist the giant chocolate cupcake either – a novel take on the traditional egg.

We’re starting these off gently in the shop and will see what sort of response they get. And then they might make it to the website.

The chocolate is delicious by the way and comes to you from the fair trade Choc Affair company. What better excuse to celebrate the coming of spring?


Go the extra mile this Fairtrade Fortnight – all the way to Charlton House.

Feb 13

This year, to celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight we will be going local and pitching up at Charlton House SE7, for a night of global entertainment.

There’ll be music! Dancing! Poetry! Even an open mic if you’re so-inclined. And some lovely fair trade stuff from Ganesha. The only thing that’s missing is you!

The event is free and organised by Global Fusion Music and Arts. Expect a lively night. The action kicks off at 7.30. See you there!


22 Feb, Charlton House, SE7 7.30 – 9.30 Global Fusion Music and Arts celebrates Fairtrade Fortnight 2013.


Late night Thurs
cheers @ Ganesha!

Nov 12

All the Thursdays in December we will be open til 8. We hope you will come and join us on these nights as we will also crack open the wine and chai and Indian nibbles.

There will also be some special offers to tempt you, and, some of our neighbours in Gabriel’s Wharf and Oxo Tower will be open too – lots of lovely independents with unique products; it’s about as far as you can get from the high street.

Hopefully this will help to make your Christmas shopping a pleasure – it could also be a lucky shop if you choose to do the Christmas Crawl – see below!


Christmas Southbank crawl, you could win a £500 goody bag!

Nov 12

Come on down to the lovely Southbank this Xmas and see how terrific we all are, we dare you. We're not just daring you though, hopefully we're tempting you too. Because lots of us have come together to make a giant goody bag that you, yes you, could win.

All you need to do is pick up a flyer (from any participants) and collect a stamp/signature from each of the shops listed, then fill in your details and drop back to Lagom (6 Gabriel's Wharf) by 23 Dec. You will be entered in a draw for the goody bag, and the winner will be notified in January.

And, if you happen to make it on any Thursday in December, Ganesha will be full of Xmas cheer, with wine and Indian nibbles from 6-8!

Fashion show + Christmas market 

24 November is an excellent time to head to the Southbank, because apart from all the usual shops in the wharf open for business, there will be a fashion show and Xmas market at neighbouring Barge House. The event will showcase some of the designer makers in Gabriel's Wharf and Oxo Tower and will feature clothes, jewellery and accessories. We will be there from 4-8. There will also be hot pies and heritage beers -can you resist?  

Xmas is looking cheery already!


Thursday lates - til 8!

Oct 12

Some people would rather not spend their precious weekend time shopping, they would prefer to squeeze it in after work during the week. Makes perfect sense, really, doesn’t it?

So, we have decided to stay open late on Thursday nights from now. Thursday night is for late night shopping, and you can now shop at Ganesha til 8pm (May-Sep).

Thursday late night shopping is not just for Christmas by the way. This is a new permanent feature of our hours (the other days of the week will open and close as usual: 11.30 – 19.00hrs).

We are hoping that in December at least, some of our neighbours in Gabriel’s Wharf will keep us company. For those who might not know, Gabriel’s Wharf and neighbouring Oxo Tower are crammed full of unique independent retailers (and makers) making it one of the most unique and special shopping neighbourhoods in London.

We’ll get back shortly with some plans re Xmas shopping and offers..


New for Autumn 2012: Retro laptop and Ipad cases

Sep 12

As summer slips away we are consoling ourselves with the cheery presence of some new laptop and Ipad cases here at Ganesha. They are made from some very retro-inspired fabrics (think 1960s tea cosies, 1970s aprons) and are worked with the traditional Bengali straight-line kanther stitch in contrasting colours.

You might question whether your great aunt’s parlour has been raided; however, they come straight to you from those seriously talented (and seriously cheery) talents at Motif, Dhaka. Thank you Jackie and the crew!

The small advance order is selling fast and so we’ll be stocking up on these for Xmas. What merrier present to give the geek in your life –or of course yourself.  Gowan gowan gowan, you know you want to!

iPad case

Click here to see more of them


Jubilee jamboree!

May 12

If you are looking for some products to help you celebrate the Jubilee, then check out our Jubilee Jamboree range.

We have some very vibrant union flag embroidered purses, pencil cases and glasses cases, all hand embroidered with kanther-stitch, by some very talented ladies in Bangladesh.

union flag pencil case

To mark the special Thames-themed celebration, we have also commissioned a special river pageant cushion -again in traditional kanther stitch, in red white and blue -coming soon!

And for any celebrations, have a look at our special upcycled jubilee bunting - perfect for alfresco parties (that's if it is not snowing!) This is the latest limited edition in our upcycled bunting range - a bestseller in the shop. They are hand made in Cambodia by a group of disabled artisans, and will add a colourful and vibrant accent to any garden.

red white and blue bunting


Finally, make your red, white and blue party green -with our super bestselling leaf plates!

Happy jamboree!


Kanther crazy for Fairtrade Fortnight!

March 12

Happy Fairtrade Fortnight to one and all, we hope everyone is stepping out in FT style this spring. At Ganesha we have been going kanther crazy. Kanther is the lovely straight line embroidery stitch so characteristic of the east coast of India and Bangladesh - a very Bengali stitch. For centuries this stitch has been used to help layer fabrics together and to help breath new life into old pieces of material.

Old sarees are often layered together to be reborn, to live again, as a quilt. This is not only an excellent and very efficient use of (often) scarce resources, but of course the individual creativity of the maker comes into play. And so it is today with the kanther products at Ganesha.

Our new ranges of kanther quilts / washbags / bags /are made from cotton sarees layered and stitched together by the talented ladies at Motif, Bangladesh, in the time-honoured fashion. These 'upcycled' items have unique characters from piece to piece, reflecting the individual workwomanship of their makers.

We love these items as they are colourful and vibrant and are perfect as we emerge from winter. We hope you'll like them too and choose to step out in fair trade style with them.

See the kanther washbags here. Quilts coming online soon! We have lots of other new products just in also -for an overview click here

kanther washbag


Valentine's window

Feb 12

OK, so this one was short and sweet (due to the freezing weather) but you get the idea. And it's a sentiment all of us here at Ganesha subscribe to.

Happily, despite the freezing weather we did a brisk trade in hearts -only the foil ones, you understand!

valentines window feb12

Riverside London  -free new app!

Feb 12

Riverside London is a free new mobile phone app that tells you everything you could possibly need to know about the cultural heart of the capital: South Bank, Bankside and London Bridge.

It is a what’s on guide and map that lists where to eat, drink, shop and stay with contact details and map locations.

The app covers the area from Lambeth Bridge to Tower Bridge, and includes all the iconic attractions such as Tate Modern, Shakespeare's Globe, as well as brilliant and more off-beat locations, such as Gabriel's Wharf!

For anyone planning a trip to the Southbank in 2012, we think this is the perfect guide.  You can download it here. At the moment this is just for Iphone -Android is in development.

available here

SALE time!

Jan 2012

The pop-up shop in Covent Garden is now closed, after 4 years of trading. There are plans for the building to be redeveloped by a big company soon and by the time of the Olympics will probably house a luxury brand. We made a lot of friends in Covent Garden -particularly the street artists - so are sad to leave them behind; but on the other hand, it's lovely to decamp back to the Southbank and be with old friends again.

We've spent the last week squeezing 2 shops into 1, and the shop now looks slightly cranky with stock, so we are having a sale til the end of January. We very rarely have a sale so it is an excellent time to treat yourself to something. There is 20% off scarves and wraps, 30% off knitted wool hats, several special offers on leather bags and end of range bags, 20% off leather purses and wallets..and loads of other special offers in the shop. Sorry this is not online. But please do call us and see if what you are interested in online is in the sale and I'm sure we can work something out.

Happy 2012 and happy shopping!


Keep warm and carry on!
October 11

Now the chill is setting in, we think it’s only right and proper to tell you all about the things that have recently arrived to take the edge off winter.

First up is the newly arrived range of wool stoles, hot from the Punjab in north India. These are hand woven and come in a lovely range of warming colours such as reds and pinks and fawns; sure to ward off winter chills. Click here to go to the page

Now something for the boys  (we do try, really!) A new range of upcycled cement bags has been a hot seller in the shops over the last few weeks (purchased almost exclusively by the male of the species!) and now these bags are available online: Kampot messengers and laptop bags. They are strong and weatherproof, made as they are from industrial cement sacks. They have an abundance of pockets and features such as hand carved wood buckles and toggles. From those talents at Coral Seed working in partnership with producer groups in Cambodia.
See them here

Finally, we really think you should know that we stock a range of amazing cold-pressed soaps made by Yonjai Spa - a women’s co-op in Thailand. They are hand made from natural ingredients and are a total treat –either for yourself, or perfect as gifts, as they are packaged so nicely in hand made boxes.

We have recently increased the range to include salt scrubs (see below) – these come in a hand thrown clay pot with a little coconut spoon. The fragrances include jasmine and coconut, vanilla honey and ginger, and the Ganesha favourite of lemongrass and basil. These are a delight to use and are sure to make winter better! Click here to see them

salt scrub


Summer scarves and bags: upcycled, top ranking!

June 11

Retro pop references aside, we just wanted to draw attention to a couple of new lines this summer that are doing brilliant things in the shops, and they are now available online too.

Rangnewali scarves
These glorious wraps are made from waste silk so each one is unique in its stripiness. They are hand woven on a little river island in Cambodia. Their loveliness is also in the story: the purchase of these scarves supports the very traditional Cambodian industry of silk weaving and helps stem urban migration. For more information, click here

rangnewali scarf

Renbo totes
After a successful mini launch last year, we are now stocking a very funky range of upcycled rice sack bags in arrange of designs from sunrays to the union flag. These have been hand patchworked and appliquéd by 2 different producer groups in Cambodia. One is an inner city NGO for disabled artisans and the other is a project for the rural poor. For more information click here

Both of these ranges are down to the talented team at Coral Seed. Thank you Alan, Brenda + Pat.

renbo totes

Summer is looking good!


Happy Fairtrade Fortnight!

Mar 11

To help celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight this year, we have made a string of bunting appliquéd with the message: LOVE FAIR TRADE. This is on display in the window of our South Bank shop, as shown in the photo. This will move to the window of Covent Garden during the second week of FT Fortnight.

The bunting is made of vintage saree silk, from Calcutta Rescue (we sell the bunting –click here).

And the message was designed and appliquéd by hand in-house at Ganesha, by the talented Kirstie, to be precise. Some of the letters have been dyed with natural dyes such as madder –this is Kirstie’s passion.  Thank you Kirstie!

At the end of the Fortnight we are *supposed* to send it to the Fairtrade Foundation, so they can make the longest bunting in the world. But we might just have to keep it!

Anyway, the message is LOVE FAIR TRADE from all of us at Ganesha. Happy Fairtrade Fortnight 11.

Roses are red...

Feb 11

For all those who can't make it to the shop for Valentine's Day, here is an image of the Covent Garden shop window. The ditty has been composed in-house at Ganesha, and painted onto the shop windows, complete with flowery accompaniment.

The ditty goes: Roses are red, Violets are blue, My Valentine is green, How about you?!

This is to help convey the message that we have a lot of eco / upcycled products at Ganesha. It is bringing people into the shop, so seems to be working a treat. Flushed with artistic success, we are now planning more arty windows for Fairtrade Fortnight!

valentine's day

Ganesha -one of London's best shops for a decade!

Jan 11

We are delighted to be included in the Time Out Shopping Guide for London 2011, this year especially so, as it marks ten consecutive years of Ganesha's inclusion. 

Dubbed the guide to the 'best shops in London,' the Time Out Guide is an independently compiled publication and updated every year.

We realise that we have been included in this shopping tome for ten years now - an achievement for which we should be proud - not least because London is a vast marketplace and we are jostling with big global brands and independent retailers of a very high calibre.

time out 2011 logo
And we are enormously thankful - because a part of the equation is our hard work, and another part of the equation is you, our lovely customers, making it possible. 

It is not an exaggeration to say that there would be no Ganesha without customers who come back time and time again, and we are hugely appreciative of your custom - as are the very many talented producers in India, Bangladesh and beyond, whose products you buy.

So please carry on shopping, and here is to the next ten years' inclusion. In these difficult times we say buy less, buy better, buy fair trade!


Happy Christmas decorations!
(and special offers!)

Nov 10

It is that time of year again when the reindeers come out to play. We have lots of lovely Christmas decorations coming in, and want to highlight a couple of ranges; tell the story behind them, as this makes them super special, we think.

silk reindeer

Christmas would not be Christmas without these wowy beasts, and regulars to Ganesha will be familiar with them. This year we have a few additions to the range and some new colourways also. What you might not know, is that they are made by landmine survivors (really!) in Cambodia. Of course that is not the reason to buy them – these have been our number one seller because they are brilliantly made things and very charming. They will also last for years.

This year we are holding the price and also offering a discount on multiple purchases: £5.99 each, or any 4 for £20. They are bought to us by Fair Trade Interiors –profile coming soon.

To visit the silk beasts page, click here

felt decorations from the nepal leprosy trust

These hand made felt decorations are new for Xmas 10. The range includes trees, boots, stars and hearts in vibrant colours and all are studded with sequins for a bit of sparkle.

They are made by the Nepal Leprosy Trust in Kathmandu, which provides medical, social and economic benefits by providing employment and support to those with leprosy. The Felt Industry project is run for women specifically. Once again, the story is nice to know, but foremost, the products are lovely in their own right.

Felt decorations are £2.99 each, or any 4 for £10. To visit the Felt decorations page, click here.

Other decorations include click here:
Felt snow leopardsand ibexes, by the Snow Leopard Trust.
Handloom silk stars, hearts, geese + robins, by Fair Trade Interiors.

Happy Xmas shopping!


Partnering with the Camden Society

Oct 10

We have given up our large, leaky, old warehouse and have taken a much more sensible course of action. Now, we have our products stored with, and distributed by Mail Out, a project of the Camden Society.

Based in Kentish Town, London, the Camden Society is a social enterprise that exists for disabled people to learn skills and gain qualifications in a variety of sectors.

Established in 1991 Mail Out works with a range of private, public and voluntary organisations to handle mailings and other associated services.

We are thrilled to have discovered this organisation, not just because it is a wonderful idea put into practice, but because the service they offer is an excellent one.

For us at Ganesha, our association with Mail Out has made a very positive difference –it has freed up more time for us to concentrate on running Ganesha better. Oh dear, that’s raising the stakes, isn’t it?

Please click on the link below to access their website:


if you think the Camden Society can help your business or organisation, big or small, please do contact them.


Mekong  making:  new work from Coral Seed

June 10

One of the things I love about my job is getting to see new work coming out of various producer groups; it never fails to excite or inspire. And there is possibly no more exciting an occasion than when a box of new samples arrives from Coral Seed. This time, fresh from Cambodia. 

Alan Flux, the creative talent behind Coral Seed is a rare breed – a working designer who is used by Voluntary Service Overseas to help producer groups in the economically developing world do what they do better. His first posting to Bangladesh was so successful, and so inspiring for Alan, that he stayed there for several years, before VSO offered him a placement in Mongolia, and now, Cambodia.

Alan says of his new posting: ' when every day you meet people who seem to be born with a smile on their face, it’s easy to forget that the Kingdom of Cambodia is a country slowly emerging from trauma.

The unspeakable Khmer Rouge were only finally ousted a decade or so ago, leaving behind them a carpet of mines that almost daily kill or maim rural farmers; polio is still a major disabler, trafficking is rife, and the inner city poor abound. The good news however, is that training schemes are in place for those who need them, and traditional skills are being revived.'

Coral Seed concentrates on the use of sustainable local raw materials, and waste materials. Many intriguing upcycling opportunities present themselves.

'Colourful Vietnamese rice sacks have long been upcycled into a variety of products: but it is the small scraps that would otherwise be wasted that appeal to Coral Seed. These are worked into

rainbow stripes and innovative patchwork patterns to create strong useful shoppers, messengers, laptop and cosmetic bags.' See our Renbo range of bags here.

'The same techniques are applied to handloom silks and cottons; hand-woven silks glimmer everywhere, and are mostly sold as scarves; but small silk pieces too are salvaged, and sewn and knotted into necklaces and bracelets, available in a wide variety of colours.' See the silk beads here.

'Also in colourful supply are crochet items – purses, bags, hats, quirky toys and mascots – made by recent graduates whom polio has left severely disabled; both young men and women alike are happy to work in this medium, which becomes for them a social, therapeutic and financially rewarding activity.' See the crochet purses here.

We think that Alan's and Coral Seed's success lies in a process of dialogue with the producers, which results, as you can see, with some wonderful products, very much a part of the place and people who created them. Last words over to Alan:

'Cambodia is a land of potential; at the time of writing, Coral Seed is working with natural resin varnish to render woven country baskets waterproof; with hand-carved wooden tablewares and pendants; and on the upcycling front, with discarded vintage students’ oil paintings, which morph into fascinating one-off limited edition bags, and with rubber tyre off-cuts which combine with buffalo horn, wood and cow-bone to make memorable, multi-textured and wearable jewellery.
With such a plentiful supply of raw materials for inspiration, Coral Seed hopes to be able to help secure the livelihoods of Cambodia's very skilled producers for many seasons to come.'

More coming soon: horn jewellery and palmleaf baskets

Happy Fairtrade Fortnight 2010!

Feb/ Mar 10


Happy Fairtrade Fortnight to one and all. We are open as ever, for Fairtrade antics, which means this year, that the nation is being asked to swap their usual products for superior fairtrade ones, in the Big Swap. But of course, how can we disagree with such a notion?!

So just to remind you that our 2 shops in central London are open from 11.30 to 19.30hrs daily in Covent Garden, and Southbank: 12.00 to 18.00hrs Tues – Sun. We look forward to some serious swapping over the next week or so.

Also, we have lots and lots of new products in the shops, which are very slowly making their way onto the site. We apologise for being so slow (general over work, etc..) but here are the latest additions for your pleasure:

Kantha books
Pehli natural dye scarves
Rekha wraps
More felt bags
Vintage silk bunting

You will also see who made these products and you can click through to the stories behind them. And more products are on their way, so please come back soon. We hope that there are some things to tempt a swap or 2.

Happy Fairtrade Fortnight, and happy shopping!


Ganesha.co.uk – refreshed!   

Oct 09

Regular visitors to Ganesha.co.uk will probably have noticed a slight difference to the site. The old head banner has been replaced by a new one, and we have reorganised the site, to try and make it easier and quicker to use.

Surfers could always access any part of the website in just a couple of clicks, though as the site grew and we added information and products, the old design began to creak under its own weight, and surfers found they would have to scroll and scroll and scroll to see everything.

This was a particular problem with pages of the Ganesha shop. We realised that pages towards the bottom of long menu choices weren’t getting seen as much as they should. It was the virtual equivalent of having the curtains drawn on your shop window, making it hard for customers to see the products within.

Now we have reorganised Ganesha shop into product types such as accessories, gifts, house, smellies etc… right on the homepage. So when these are clicked, smaller menu choices appear on the left, and in pictures you can directly click on, too. No more excessive scrolling!



All the old information about how we trade, and our producer partners’ profiles is still there, as ever, of course. The site is just a little neater, rationalised, and refreshed.

But have we succeeded? You tell us in your feedback that on the whole, we have. But there is always room for improvement also, so the coming weeks will see a little more tinkering..

Thank you to all of you who gave us your time and responded to our questionnaire, we really appreciate it, as this site is not made by a web design company, but hand fashioned by us ourselves (Jo + Purnendu). So, if it seems a bit hand made and irregular, in the spirit of hand fashioned things, that’s because it is.

The winner of the draw for a £20 Ganesha voucher has been notified, thank you to everyone.


How green is Ganesha?!

March 09

We are delighted to announce that we have been recognised as one of the best green businesses in the London Borough of Lambeth.

Lambeth Council, in partnership with the South London Press launched the annual Lambeth Business Awards last year to celebrate ‘the best and most innovative firms in the borough.’ The awards were expanded this year to include more categories after last year’s initial success.

We were touched that someone actually went to the trouble to nominate us in the category  Best Green Business (someone other than our mums, that is). 

And we were very pleased to have been able to demonstrate to the judges, via a lengthy questionnaire, how we put sustainability at the very heart of what we do.

Competition was tough with Ganesha pitched against some very large companies.  Out of the 6 businesses nominated in each category we lost out to Solar Century, who went on to be the overall winner of Best Lambeth Business  2009. 

As we never put ourselves forward for awards, it was a nice surprise and outcome, and we will try our hardest to minimise our impact further. 

               lambeth business awards


Happy Fairtrade Fortnight competition

March 09

To celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight 2009
(23 Feb -8 March) we thought we’d run a little competition.

Fair trade products often have interesting stories attached to them - we think it is what helps make them a little bit special. Here at Ganesha we have a particular passion for fair trade products made from recycled, reclaimed or vintage materials, making the stories doubly interesting; the products even more special!

And so, we thought we’d make a competition with these stories in mind. There are 3 questions about 3 products each made from recycled materials. You have to guess what the product once was in its previous life. All the information you need to answer these questions is on our website –somewhere!

So without further ado: oh. We need to tell you what the winner receives. We will pick 4 winners randomly, at the end of Fairtrade Fortnight. One will win a £30 Ganesha gift voucher, the other 3 will win one of the 3 items listed below that inspire the competition questions.

this lovely vintage silk scarf was once:


this funky heart keyring was once:

cheese plant
flip flop

this bowl is made from:

sweetie wrappers


The competition is now closed and the winners have been notified


Good luck and happy Fairtrade Fortnight!

We won't pass your details on or use them for marketing.


Have a heart! (and get free wrapping)

Jan 09

There are lovely stories behind each of our hearty products, making Valentine's Day even more of an occasion to celebrate.

The leather heart keyrings, Disco Deewana boxes and foil hearts are 
made by Motif, supporting marginalised producers in Bangladesh. The heart soaps are made by the Suanplu Women's Co-operative in

Bangkok, and the 'I was a flip-flop' keyring was once washed up on the
African shoreline, making a nuisance of itself to the locals (that's human and marine life) in its former incarnation.
It much prefers to be adored as a little heart on the end of chain, keeping your

keys safe. Thank those lovely people at Silverchilli for bringing these to our attention. The silk heart decorations meanwhile, are produced by landmine survivors in Cambodia.

Tell us when you order that you are buying a valentine's gift and we will wrap it in bright hot pink tissue at no extra cost. We will also include one of our unique paper bags.

see our hearty little gift page here

Happy Valentine's Day!



Have a merry + sustainable Xmas!

Dec 08

Profuse apologies for not managing to make a gift guide this year! So very briefly here are our picks for a very merry + sustainable Christmas.

Xmas decorations
Beautiful silk reindeer, robins, hearts and stars in a riot of colour to see them, click here

Sustainable accessories 

vintage silk scarves click here
handloom silk + natural dye wraps here
felt bags click here
rubber bags click here
more recycled bags click here

Hearty stocking fillers
Lovely little inexpensive gifts with a heart theme, from soaps to keyrings to boxes see them here


Wola Nani fishy bowls
-new arrivals
New consignment of bowls made by the South African women’s group just in, many in oh-so-fashionable reds  see them here 

Natural soaps
Luxury cold pressed soaps made by the Suanplu Women's Co-operative in Bangkok view them here

Leaf party plates
The best party plates in the world, now in more sizes - making party green!
to see them, click here

and still we have handloom silk scarves with natural dyes + natural soaps to add!...so come back soon!


Leaf plates + bowls galore!

June 08

The leaf plates are a roaring success, and we are thrilled. It pleases us to think we are helping to ‘make party green.’ They also seem to be an increasingly popular choice for weddings of a greener kind.  

The only thing, we have come to know, is that you want more! Well, let us never be accused of not listening to you and answering your call! So we are delighted to launch a range of plates in different sizes, including a small bowl. 

We now stock 3 different sizes of plate:  a regular dinner plate, a side plate, an extra large plate and a small bowl, ideal for dips and desserts.  
You can see them here.

And apart from the fact they are sourced through fair trade organisations in east India, ten percent of the cover price goes back to forest conservation schemes in Orissa, east India, where the plates are made. We should have an update on this soon.

Happy green party!

small bowl

Salaam Covent Garden!

March 08

The paint was barely dry and the products only just on the shelves when we launched our new Covent Garden shop with a party on March 7 –opening the doors after a ten day shopfit.

We were exhausted, but thrilled, as many friends and colleagues from the fair trade world turned out to toast the new shop. The wine (fair trade, of course!) flowed. Everyone commented on the amazing location and thought that the shop should thrive in such a bustling part of town. And indeed, business was brisk all evening.

The shop is just off the piazza in the beautiful and historic King Street. It is a very busy location and buzzes with people all day long.  We are looking forward to selling them all our lovely fair trade accessories.

Reality check: we do want to put a dampener on the proceedings, but this is not forever, alas! This is a pop-up shop while the building awaits refurbishment. We are thrilled to go along for the ride, even though we don’t know how long we’ve got.

Nevertheless, the expansion into Covent Garden is an opportunity for us to increase the profile of fair trade in central London, and more importantly, to sell more products made by talented, marginalised producers in India, Bangladesh and beyond.  Please come and see us soon!


Ganesha to open in Covent Garden

Feb 08

We are thrilled to announce the opening of another Ganesha shop, in the heart of Covent Garden. The shop is located on the historic and beautiful King Street, just off the iconic piazza.

We aim to expand on our success on the Southbank and bring a quality selection of home and personal accessories to a wider London

audience, sourced from talented, marginalised producers in India, Bangladesh and beyond. In short, we are delighted at the prospect of taking our fair trade thing 'out there.'

The shop will open its doors on March 7, just in time to celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight 08 and will launch with a party in shop in the evening.

If anyone would like to attend, please RSVP.


People and forests profit from leaf plates, east India

Nov 07

Our leaf plates might just become even more popular when people find out we are giving 10% of profits back to forest conservation projects in Orissa, east India – the very forest from where the leaves originate.

We are delighted to be teaming up with MASS –an Orissa-based NGO, to help support local forest protection schemes in Sambalpur district. Our twice yearly donations will go towards capacity building of the community forest protection committees and also in gap filling of the forests with a nursery support in the first year, and an extension of activities envisaged for the second year.

Leaf plate making is a traditional industry in the villages of Orissa and depends upon the availability of siali (Bauhinia spp.) and sal (Shorea
) leaves from local forest. It is a widespread activity in the region, employing thousands of workers. Many are organised as 'self-help' groups:

these are often women or adivasi (tribal)-focused. Leaf plates made in Orissa are used throughout India for festivals and weddings, it is a largescale cottage industry.

The plates race out of our shop and online store, partly because it really is a fantastic product – they are not just lovely to look at and use, but are low-impact, and compostable. They have also attracted lots of media interest, with editorial features in publications such as The Observer newspaper and the London Evening Standard. We are thrilled to have sold a job lot to Oxfam and Amnesty International also.

Our leaf plates are sourced through fair trade organisations in east India, so together with our forest protection partnership, it’s good to know that both people and forest will continue to benefit from this age-old industry. That’s as good a reason as any for a party!

Leaf plates are available in packets of 20 for £4.99 click here

Photo-essay about leaf plate making here: click here


Ganesha at Amazon.co.uk

Oct 07

When Amazon invites you to open up shop on the most gargantuan of shopping sites, how can you refuse? We are therefore delighted to announce the opening of a Ganesha concession at Amazon.co.uk.

People can find us by clicking on different product types such as purses, wallets and bags, and other key words such as fair trade.



As you will see, prices on both sites are exactly the same. Over the next few weeks we’ll be adding more products, when we have found our feet.

We are very excited at this development, and feel that this is the right way forward -taking fair trade out there to a wider audience. Please stop by and check us out there.


Ganesha welcomes The Global Journey

May 07

The Fair Trade Organisation Mark (FTO) banner and various fair traders pitched up at Ganesha this afternoon (11 May) after touring around London in a red bus, marking the latest leg of the Global Journey.

The London leg of the Global Journey follows a worldwide voyage of 3 years, 47 countries and thousands of participants, as the banner stops by all the fair trade organisations and businesses on its way. At each stop, the banner with its distinctive logo is welcomed, paraded, and photographed, before travelling on.

The Global Journey is promoting the FTO logo of The International Fair Trade Association (IFAT) and the global network of fair traders. The mark is given to organisations and businesses that have met ten fair trade standards and who have poverty reduction at the heart of what they do.

It was a busy day for the Global Journey. The day kicked off with a photocall at Jubilee Gardens on the South Bank, with London's fair trade community in attendance. The bus then toured around iconic sites of London and various fair trade organisations, before stopping off at Ganesha to say hi.

Its destination and conclusion is an IFAT conference in Brussels, mid May.


Ganesha donates bags to UNICEF

Feb 07

UNICEF were looking for a gorgeous bag they could give to their sponsors running the London Marathon, so naturally, they came to us.

We sorted them out with our lovely shop bags, made from waste Bengali


newspaper -you can tell it's post-consumer as some of them have half filled-out crosswords in Bengali and doodles (we like these the best!)

They seem to like them as much as we do, so we are pleased. UNICEF are using them as goody bags.

Good luck to all the UNICEF runners.


Come + get your New Consumer Mag!

Jan 07

We are now a free distribution point for the new look, handbag (and manbag!) sized New Consumer Magazine.

Still glossy + good looking, (are we talking magazines or show ponies?!)

it's just a bit smaller, but still packed full of fascinating stuff for the discerning consumer.

You will find them prominently displayed in both Ganesha shops, so next time you come in for a browse please take one.

And even better, it is absolutely free, so what are you waiting for?



Joined up ganesha.co.uk

Nov 06

We've made the site more interactive and joined up, to make browsing between the shop pages and the information pages easier.

We have long made a point of listing the name of the producer next to their products for sale in the shop pages. Then we compiled producer profiles, all nicely arranged in the trading information section.

Now, in not too big a leap of logic, we've joined them up with a link.

As you browse the shop pages, you can click on the name of the producer, highlighted in pale purple, and this will take you to their profile. You can get back by the regular right hand mouse click or back button in the browser -with no ill effects to your shopping.

So if you want to know more about who made that lovely bag as you put it in your basket, now you can. A couple of stragglers are still to come, but most are there.

Happy shopping and browsing!


Now- gift vouchers
at Ganesha

May 06

You've been asking us for ages, we're happy to oblige at last. Gift vouchers exclusive to Ganesha are now available to buy in denominations of £5, £10, £20 + £50.

The vouchers have no expiry, can not be exchanged for money, but will buy products from our shops + online shop to the face value of the coupons.

They are very easy to redeem online: when you have finished shopping and

are checking out, there is a space to enter the vouchers' unique codes.

We think they look rather nice + feature lots of Ganeshas, as you might expect. And we present them to you in an embroidered Calcutta Rescue card.

To buy them online click here.

gift voucher


Now- wedding list at Ganesha

March 06

We are delighted to announce the launch of a wedding list facility at Ganesha, especially so, as this is something we have often been asked about.

It's easy to use:
click on the 'Ganesha shop online' logo on the top purple header then click on the top left hand link to 'wedding list' to take you there. Or else click here.

The happy couple sign in and go shopping for their list. Instead of proceeding to the shopping basket to check out, they go back to the 'wedding list' link and their choices are compiled, with photos, on a new page.


Friends and relatives can then sign in and browse or buy any items on the list.

When an item is sold, a 'sold' sign will be added next to the product. They check out and pay for the item, and we send the items out to the individual buyers.

It's that simple.

We hope to keep building on the range of products we offer, to make sure you can get married in fabulous fair trade style.

So can some happy couples road-test our latest bit of programming please? We'll add a present from Ganesha to the first 3 couples that sign-up. And congratulations!


Mass lobby for trade justice 2 Nov!

Oct 05

On Wednesday 2 November there will be a mass lobby at Westminster, when thousands of people will come to parliament to lobby for trade justice, not free trade. The more the merrier, so please try and come.

The plan is for an enormous gathering outside the House of Commons to make a big 'moment' at 1pm, followed by an opportunity to meet your own MP.

The UK Government has said that economic liberalisation should not be forced on poor and economically developing countries. The Trade Justice Movement (TJM) calls on the UK Government and its partners in the European Union to follow this up with some hard policy making at the World Trade Organisation talks in Hong Kong in December.

TJM is asking the Government to use its influence within the EU to allow developing countries to shape trade policies to protect their vulnerable farm sectors and promote their national industries, also, to allow

countries to choose the best policies for poor people and the environment in services such as water, health and education.

What can you do?
Come and lobby! The event will allow thousands of people to lobby their own MPs to sign the Trade Justice Early Day Motion 679 'Making Poverty History through Trade Justice' which is like asking your MP to sign a petition showing their support.

If you can't make it in person on the day, you can still take part in writing: TJM is also appealing to people to lobby Trade and Industry Secretary Alan Johnson to get the Government to use its influence within the EU to address these issues.

And with a mere click of the mouse, you can email Tony Blair and let him know you vote for trade justice:

email Tony Blair here

For more information:
Mass lobby 2 Nov
Trade Justice Movement
Make Poverty History


-in the top 3!

August 05

We've just been rated third best fair trade website, in a list of the top 10, according to The Independent.

Pipped to the post by our good mates, Silverchilli and New Consumer Magazine. Well done guys!


To see the list on the Independent's website, click here

Our only comment is: third? We clearly have some work to do!


G8 Summit at Gleneagles, Scotland

July 05

Group of Eight is an informal group of some of the world's most industrialised nations: France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK, US, Canada and Russia. They come together once a year to try and take on global challenges. On the agenda this year is climate change, Africa, and global trade.

The UK is in an unusually powerful position to influence negotiations this year, as President of the European Union and the G8 meeting of world leaders.

Let's hope we are successful in bringing about some real change; rewriting international trade rules in favour of economically developing countries would be a grand start.

Explore the G8 + these issues for yourself:

The Guardian
The Scotsman
G8 site
Make Poverty History
G8 alternatives


Join the crowd to help make poverty history!

April 05

You are cordially invited to join thousands of others in a night of revelry and vigil in London on 15 April, to help make global poverty history.

The night will kick off at Westminster Abbey at 10pm, with songs and readings, and will continue through the night with a vigil (it's a vigil, though not as we know it, um, Jim).


This vigil will be a non-stop carnival of music, art and protest along Whitehall, and the event will culminate in a dawn procession.

For more information on this and other UK-wide events, check out:

Make Poverty History
Trade Justice Movement

We'll see you there!


Ganesha celebrates 10 years!

March 05

We are delighted to be celebrating 10 years of alternative business. Over the last decade we have seen an incredible upswing in the fair trade market - and are proud to be playing a part in this, though we'd like to think this is just the beginning.

Pondering how to mark the occasion, we thought it would be a good opportunity to spread the fair trade word some more, but not from ourselves, from the people we buy from -the producers in India, Bangladesh, Nepal and the other UK-based importers who are working in a similar way to ourselves.

Browsers in the shop are often told the stories of the producers, but this is lost on surfers browsing our site. So to put that right, here they are -and not even in our words. You can find out about them, in their own words; who they are, what they do, the challenges they face, what makes it all worthwhile, and what difference your purchases make to them.

Click here to visit the page (under trade information in the top banner).

We're coinciding the start of our celebrations with Fairtrade Fortnight, but will carry on adding more, new information on the website during the year, so be sure to tune in again.

To mark our 10 years, we are also launching some fabulous new products, as well as decorating the exterior of the 2 shops with Bollywood murals, and, how could we not resist in partying just a little -after all, fair trade wine producers, like all fair trade producers should be supported, no?!

We'd like to raise a toast to everyone who makes Ganesha happen, from the producer to the consumer. Here's to our next ten years of good business; more successful, more effective.


New supplier: Aranya of Bangladesh

May 04

We're thrilled to be stocking products made by Aranya of Bangladesh. Aranya joins the growing list of IFAT members (International Federation for Alternative trade) that supply Ganesha.

Focusing on the age-old, specialised skills of the region, Aranya markets the traditional industries, such as embroidery and handloom, but in a wholly contemporary way, allowing the medium to develop and be as vital today, as it has been for centuries. And gives rural women a chance to earn a decent income.

Traditional skills such as khadi cotton - where the cotton is handspun, as well as handwoven, and the kanther style of embroidery so associated with Bangladesh; skills that are usually passed on from mothers to their daughters, feature large in Aranya's products, on scarves, wraps, and textiles for interiors.

Aranya is also a leader in the use and development of natural dyes in its products, and conducts regular training workshops in Bangladesh and abroad to promote this more ecologically friendly approach.

The use of natural dyes has another advantage, too; the collection of the materials, such as leaves, bark, roots etc.. in the community maximises local labour and builds in additional value to the product at source, increasing the economic benefits to the producers.

Check out the wonderful Aranya products at Ganesha: crinkly scarves dip-dyed with natural dyes are proving to be a winner in the shop (see below). And we have some beautiful and stylish muslin silk wraps, perfect for a special occasion. We think they're fab!



Click here to see more Aranya wraps at Ganesha

Aranya also has its own website
-click here to go there

To find out more about IFAT, visit their website, click here


Namaste Ganesha 2

March 04

We're delighted to announce the opening of our second London shop next door to the original one - at Gabriel's Wharf, South Bank.

The new shop has allowed us to introduce new product ranges in both clothes and home style, with one shop for each; and allows us to offer twice the range of fairly traded products to consumers in London and online.

The launch of Ganesha 2 on 8 March is timed to coincide with Fairtrade Fortnight (1-14 March).

We have been developing some fabulous lines with our producer partners; sharp tailored shirts in handloom cottons, perfect for work and play, jeans-cut linen trousers, knee length split skirts, as well as some very Asian cuts: mini silk tunics, and sari ribbon tops. The emphasis is on style, with a desi twist.

In the home style shop, there are new ranges of bamboo and laquerware accessories and more of everything else -handloom throws in some fabulous textures and colours, new silk cushions and drapes plus a brand new

range of organic cotton bedlinen. Also there are some rather unusual things made from post consumer waste: chunky vases and planters made from tyres, coasters made from recycled plastics, and beautiful paper mache bowls made by women living with HIV in south Africa.

As well as importing a more diverse range of goods and developing new lines with our producer partners in
India, we are also showcasing the best of fair trade in the UK market from other importers.

When we started about 10 years ago, there were very few importers working in this way, but now, as the fair trade message is getting across, there are more IFAT (International Federation for Alternative Trade) members and importers who are BAFTS (British Association for Fair Trade Shops) accredited. We are excited to be working with them in developing the fair trade market.

We hope that our new shop helps to develop the market for fair trade in London and beyond-good news for our producer partners and UK consumers alike.

We're in Anita's top ten for xmas!

Dec 03
We're very proud to have been picked by Anita Roddick as one of her top ten ethical picks for Christmas. In her ethical shopping tips, she guarantees to help you find the perfect gift for Christmas; affordable, beautiful and ethically sourced.

she says: 'Ganesha is a fantastic luxury home and fashion experience.... love their vibrant multi-coloured cushion covers'

Our fellow Bafts (British Association for Fair Trade Shops) member Peopletree was also recommended by Anita to make Christmas sparkle. Other picks include Divine Chocolate, the wind-up /solar powered Freeplay radio and The Good Alternative Travel Guide alongside the latest must haves from The Body Shop, of course. Anita, thank you for spreading the fair trade message!

Join us at the Fair Trade Fair!

Nov 03

We'll be attending the Fair Trade Fair 2003, at Chelsea Old Town Hall, on Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 December 11.00-17.00hrs.

If you're a keen fair trade supporter, or perhaps just love unusual products, there is no better place to get your Christmas shopping sorted. You can find all sorts of wonderful handmade things, and feel even better knowing they've been fairly traded, from the producer to you.

We'll be selling lots of new stock -new bags from Teddy, as well as our

bestselling baroo and vintage silk scarves in new colours. Plus lots of funky handknitted hats and gloves. We'll be having some special offers too, so give yourself a fair break this Christmas and join us at the FT Fair. Oxford St? We say pah!

click here to go to the FT Fair site

Fair Trade Christmas Fayre
We will also be at the Fair Trade Christmas Fayre on Friday 5 December, at Lambeth Town Hall, Acre Lane, Brixton, SW2. 11.00- 20.00hrs


Ganesha -repainted!

July 2003

ganesha fair trade shop

We've completed the renovation of our shop with the painting of its exterior. The colour is a sort of pale-slatey-aubergine, in a matt finish, which


was inspired by a stormy monsoon sky, and the lettering is a metallic bronze.

Despite our postman asking 'what colour is it going to be then?' all other comments have been favourable, with some people actually coming in to the shop and buying for the first time. We're very happy with the new colour scheme.

paint: Dulux exterior masonry paint, custom-mixed 'mercury showers2'

painter and signwriter:
John Hammond (London)
t 020 7720 4382 m 07816 97631


Ganesha -refitted!

May 2003

After 8 years of chaotic growth in Gabriel's Wharf, the shop was decidedly cluttered and all the new bags and scarves for 2003 weren't getting the display that did them justice. There was only one thing to do -repaint and re-organise!

Wanting to make the refit as low impact as possible, we re-used as many fittings as we could, and where we introduced new materials, tried to do it sustainably.

We've whitewashed the walls with organic paint, laid a beautiful solid bamboo floor (OK, it has come all the way from the Far East, but it is a good, sustainable resource and we'll never need another, as it's strong stuff) and installed a flexible bamboo display system to properly show off all the accessories. Bamboo's not Indian I hear you say?! The subcontinent is full of it!

In stays the recycled plastic table and card rack, and the window console made from waste wood, along with our old cubist shelving. Just a bit re-organised. And, we're really happy to report that the shop is now buggy and wheelchair friendly.

For those who are familiar with the shop, you will be surprised at the transformation - now there's a great feeling of light and space and all the products are laid out so they are easy on the eye. Don't worry, all our lovely stock is still here -as you will see!

Organic paint from Auro -available from Texture T: 020 7241 0990

Bamboo floor from Zen Flor

Recycled plastic from Smile Plastic T:01743 850267

Waste wood sheets and bamboo poles from B+Q

Cubist shelving from Ikea


Teddy Exports - new Ganesha supplier!

February 2003

We're very excited to add Teddy Exports to our growing list of fair trade suppliers in India.

Teddy, based in south India, was set up in 1989 to effect positive change through business. Started by Amanda Murphy, in her own words 'a failed vet and daft Irishwoman' after she fell in love with the country and its people, she realised the brilliant local skills and abundant local resources could be used to benefit the craftspeople and their wider community.

After successfully haranguing the Roddicks to buy wooden massage rollers for the Bodyshop, Teddy has grown from humble beginnings in a single mud hut with 5 workers to presently employing more than 300 locals with a turnover of more than £1.5 million.

Conditions for the workers are excellent; all receive free medical care, subsidised lunch and tea, plus perks through out the year such as events and excursions. And good wages mean that workers, unlike so many in India,

do not live a hand-to-mouth existence, but can afford good homes for themselves, education for their children and also save for their future. Teddy also helps by offering a pension scheme and operates a system of housing loans.

Very rooted to the local community, Teddy has shown to be a positive force by helping to set up various schools, education centres and health clinics for employees and their children, as well as the wider local community. In 1995, An HIV /Aids awareness project began, to address the spread of HIV in the area by long distance lorry drivers. The project has created highway clinics, where truckers can be treated and counselled. The scheme has also introduced peer educators to sex workers to foster safer sexual practices and distributes condoms.

Murphy was awarded an MBE for her Teddy achievements in 1998 -not bad for a 'daft Irishwoman'!

Teddy are presently working on a wonderful new range of products for Ganesha for 2003, so watch this space, as they say.


Ralph Lauren likes our kauna-phok mattresses!

February 2003

He likes them so much, in fact, that not only are they scattered around his pool at home, but they are also used to accessorise the latest range of RL fabrics. Enough of that though, we're not here to advertise for the RL empire, we're just proud that the traditional industries of northeast India are recognised for being wonderful, with fans far and wide.



Fabulous new Ganesha bags

January 2003

Ganesha now has fantastic customised bags, hand made by Calcutta Rescue -the organisation that gives free medical care to anyone who needs it in Kolkata.

Each one is unique and made out of waste Bengali newspaper, with Ganesha emblazoned in a hot pink


screen-print on one side, and matching pink rope handles. We don't sell these bags, but give them away free to customers when they buy something.

Launched at the Fair Trade Fair in December, they received a fabulous response, with some people actually buying things just so they'd get one! With such a positive response, we feel they are definitely doing what they should do and more. And the quicker we get through them, the quicker we can go back to Calcutta Rescue and order some more, providing work for its service users.


Fair Trade Fair 2002-best ever show!

December 2002

We had a cracking time at the Fair Trade Fair and it was our best ever show. FTF is the new incarnation of the Global Partnership show and took place at Westminster Central Hall just before Christmas. The weekend turned in to a virtual buying frenzy as it seemed half of London turned out to do their Christmas shopping, which was fantastic, if rather exhausting for the traders. Let alone shoppers staggering home with all their purchases.

All the usual fair trade suspects were there; our BAFTS colleagues One Planet from Sydenham, People Tree

and festival regulars such as Malika with their fabulous recycled metal range of stuff from Africa, along with lots of new guys too -seems the alternative trading message is getting ever more popular, which is great news for everyone.

And helping spread that message was the recently launched New Consumer magazine -published by the Big Issue, Scotland. NC Mag is more glossy and good looking than you would imagine a magazine dedicated to fair and alternative trading should be, so, for that alone it is worth a look. NC, like everyone else had a cracking show, so here's looking forward to Fair Trade Fair 2003 -and hoping it will be even bigger and better!


Ganesha shouts for trade justice!

June 2002

Ganesha attended the Trade Justice Movement mass rally at Westminster on 19 June, in what was a marvellous day with a solid turn out from all over the country, to lobby for justice in international trade. The Trade Justice Movement is a new grouping of charities, aid agencies and campaigning groups of which Ganesha is a member by way of BAFTS.

TJM appealed for every concerned citizen to come to Westminster and lobby their MP to change the unfair rules and institutions governing world trade. And make lots of noise about how trade rules are unfairly biased in favour of the richest nations and global corporations, evident in the 'we subsidise, you liberalise' diktat of the US and Europe to economically developing countries.

And so they did; people from all walks of life, from fair traders to church groups, members of environmental organisations, development NGOs and a few mavericks, as well as many who just wanted to come and make a lot of noise about something they feel passionate about. The crowds snaked about both sides of the Thames at Westminster, at least 12,000 strong, as people queued to lobby their MPs. And about 15.30 a great wave of noise erupted along the queue as everyone shouted a demand for trade justice. Highlights of the day included seeing MPs arrive at the lobby by rickshaw, and attending the talk that BAFTS co-ordinated: 'trade justice in a consumer society'. This was chaired by the news' caster George Alagaiah, and speakers included Anita Roddick, and Harriet Lamb of the Fairtrade Foundation.

Anita Roddick entertained the audience by telling everyone to agitate and write letters to large multinationals with suspect labour and environmental credentials and underlined how consuming is a political gesture. There was also fabulous roots music at Westminster Central Hall.

Patricia Hewitt, Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, along with other Labour politicians welcomed the rally and concurred for greater justice in international trade. Whether this translates into reform of trade rules and the institutions governing global trade, such as the World Trade Organisation and International Monetary Fund, or whether these ideas will be co-opted into 'business-as-usual', we'll have to wait and see. One thing seems certain; many diverse (some might say disparate) groups are ranging up to create a wide support base for trade justice, and they will not go away. This has the making of the most vital mass campaign since the celebrated Jubilee 2000 campaign to cancel debt in economically developing countries, and seems to be gathering pace.

For more information on the Trade Justice Movement:

For more information on inequities in world trade:

For more information about BAFTS (British Association for Fair Trade Shops):
(still in construction)

To see rally photos click here


Another Ganesha supplier joins IFAT

Jan 2001

Ganesha is pleased to announce that another one of our suppliers has just been accepted for IFAT membership (the International Federation for Alternative Trade). The Crafts' Society of Manipur, based in one of the far-flung north-eastern states of India, applied to join IFAT after recommendation from Jo Lawbuary and Purnendu Roy, Ganesha Directors.

CSM markets hand-produced home furnishings, accessories and artefacts, made using the rich craft traditions of the north-east. Many of the products are distinctly Manipuri, with designs, colours and motifs typical to the region. The producers, mainly women, work as part of a women's welfare group or at home - usually from the smoothed mud veranda, where the looms are kept. Here they weave the gorgeous sheer handloom fabric for wraps, weave pads from natural fibres for the house, or create funky bags from plastic straws.

Despite the craft traditions still very much in evidence, with looms being installed as part of the marriage agreement in almost every home, many of the traditional products are being squeezed out of the market by cheaper mass-produced goods.


And many of the traditional products are being used less as a consequence, which means less income for the women producers.

The potential good news, however, for the women who produce for the Crafts' Society of Manipur, is the possibility to develop an export market, and bring in an improved and year-round wage for their families. Although the cultivation of the local market is always a safer bet for craft producers, exporting can bolster the domestic market, and bring in vital income to crafts people; especially important considering Manipur has a chronic employment problem.

Joining IFAT is a good move for the craft producers' of Manipur, and will encourage a fair trade market, where producers are paid a decent wage for their labour, and emphasis is on continuity in the trading relationship, and respect for people, culture, and the environment. With the acceptance of the Crafts' Society of Manipur into IFAT, Ganesha's biggest and most frequent suppliers are now members of this alternative trading organisation, showing our determination to trade in a different way.


Go Ganapati!

Sep 2000

Ganapati Limited has been well and truly launched with a successful round of trade fairs, appearing for the first time at the Autumn Fair, Birmingham and Top Drawer, London. The company, formed by Jo Lawbuary and Purnendu Roy, is the wholesale expansion to Ganesha, the alternative trade outfit on the South Bank, London. Ganesha has been trading for seven years, and imports quality home furnishings and accessories from India, sourced from co-operatives and producer associations India-wide.

Focusing on Ganesha's strongest retail lines, Ganapati has been launched with an unusual collection of furnishings for the home, many of which have been sourced from the far-flung and little-


travelled north-eastern states of India. Emphasis is on bold colour use, alongside design-led biomass products for a spare, contemporary effect.

The response to Ganapati at the Autumn Fair and Top Drawer has been described by Lawbuary and Roy as 'phenomenal'. Apart from the shows generating orders for this season and the next, Ganapati attracted keen interest from companies small and large. As most of Ganapati's suppliers are members of IFAT (The Federation for Alternative Trade), the welcome response is great news for alternative and mainstream trade alike. Ganapati has arrived!


press releases

26/ 02 /2004

Namaste Ganesha 2!

The range of fairly traded products from London's leading fair trade retailer, Ganesha, is about to double with the opening of a second shop - next door to the original one - at Gabriel's Wharf, South Bank, SE1. The opening of the additional shop on 1 March is timed to coincide with Fairtrade Fortnight (1-14 March).

The new shop has allowed partners Purnendu Roy and Jo Lawbuary to introduce new product ranges in both clothes and home style, with one shop for each. The expansion allows Ganesha to offer twice the range of fairly traded products to consumers in London and online.

New product lines include sharp tailored shirts in handloom cottons, perfect for work and play, jeans-cut linen trousers, knee length split skirts, as well as some very Asian cuts: mini tunics, and sari ribbon tops. The emphasis is on style, with a desi twist.

In the home style shop, there are new ranges of bamboo and laquerware accessories and more of everything else -handloom throws in some fabulous textures and colours, new silk cushions and drapes plus a brand new range of organic cotton bedlinen. Also there are some rather unusual things made from post consumer waste: chunky vases and planters made from tyres, coasters made from recycled plastics, and beautiful paper mache bowls made by women living with HIV in south Africa.


As well as importing a more diverse range of goods and developing new lines with their producer partners in India, Ganesha also showcase the best of fair trade in the UK market from other importers. When Ganesha started about 10 years ago, there were very few importers working in this way, but now, as the fair trade message is getting across, there are more IFAT (International Federation for Alternative Trade) members and importers who are BAFTS (British Association for Fair Trade Shops) accredited.

"We are excited to be working with these organisations in developing the fair trade market. We hope that our new shop helps to develop the market for fair trade in London and beyond-good news for our producer partners and UK consumers alike." explains Jo Lawbuary.

Ganesha is open Tuesday-Friday 11.00-18.00hrs Saturday + Sunday 12.00-18.00 Located at Gabriel's Wharf, 56 Upper Ground, South Bank, London SE1. T: 020 7928 3444. www.ganesha.co.uk

NOTE TO EDITORS: Hi-res images available on request. Please come to our shop opening party on 8 March at the shops, 6-8pm.
PRESS CONTACT: Jo Lawbuary on 020 7928 3444


[29 / 04 / 01 Top Drawer Summer]

Despite the quake...new products for summer 2001

Ganesha partners Jo Lawbuary and
Purnendu Roy, along with London based designer Carol Morgan were caught in the Gujarat earthquake in January, while working with SEWA (Self Employed Women's Association). Despite the chaos and devastation, we are showcasing products developed with SEWA; beautiful silk

notebooks with silver ari embroidery and handmade khadi paper sourced from a Gandhi ashram; sheer voile panels with delicate ari stitch detailing. And more. We have been importing and retailing from our shop on the Southbank for 7 years, and are pleased to be expanding into Wholesale. Exhibiting for the first time at Top Drawer Summer 2001. Visit us at Stand B90.

- E N D S

-for images or further information contact Jo Lawbuary or Purnendu Roy