Advertisement
Ethical Shopping

Need a gift for children? Check out these crochet toys made by a fair trade co-op in Bangladesh

As part of our Meet the Maker series, we meet Lisa Lambourn from Best Years

As part of our Meet the Maker series, we speak to the people behind the creations in the Big Issue Shop – a platform for buying ethical products which put people and the planet first. This time, we speak to Lisa Lambourn from Best Years. The company sells Pebble Toys, which are hand made by a fair trade cooperative which creates fairly paid and flexible jobs in rural Bangladesh. 

What can we find on your part of the Big Issue shop?

“A unique collection of toys from small toy producers from around the world. All suitable from birth and machine washable. If you are looking for an unusual gift for a toddler or baby we have a wide range for you to choose from. Whether you are looking for dinosaurs, teddies or animal soft and cuddly toys, we have a wide range of unusual gifts for young children and babies.”

How do your products make a positive difference in the world?

“Our toys are produced by small toy producers from environmentally friendly materials. We use organic cotton material and recycled stuffing to ensure that our toys are environmentally friendly. In addition, wherever possible we partner with fair trade partners who provide fairly paid employment to skilled artisans in rural areas that often have very few employment opportunities.”

Your support changes lives. Find out how you can help us help more people by signing up for a subscription

What inspired you to start your company and how did it start?

“We were both working for large corporations and realised that we wanted to be sure that we really knew the answer to the question: ‘Where do my toys come from’.

“So we set up our own company with ethical sourcing at its core. We know exactly where every single one of our toys is made – we have visited and made friends with all our production partners. So many toys are mass produced and it is impossible to know what kind of conditions the toy producers work in. We only work with ethical producers that offer good working conditions for their staff.”

Advertisement
Advertisement
One of Best Years’ fair trade artisans making the toys. Image: Supplied

What is the biggest issue everyone should know about at the moment?

“Environment and ethical sourcing are intertwined. There is no single, simple answer but if you buy from a small company, it is more likely that they have thought about the question than if you buy from a large company.

“At Best Years we strive to reduce our environmental impact, for example our knitted dinosaurs are sold unbagged to reduce the consumption of single use plastic. We used recycled polyester fill and our organic cotton toy range are made with sustainably sourced cotton which uses on average 91 per cent less water to produce than normal cotton.”

Get the latest news and insight into how the Big Issue magazine is made by signing up for the Inside Big Issue newsletter

What is one thing anyone can do to make a positive difference?

“Buy from small companies!”

To find Best Years on the Big Issue Shop, click here.

And to find more ethical products on the Big Issue Shop, click here.

Advertisement

Every copy counts this Winter

Your local vendor is at the sharp end of the cost-of-living crisis this Winter. Prices of energy and food are rising rapidly. As is the cost of rent. All at their highest rate in 40 years. Vendors are amongst the most vulnerable people affected. Support our vendors to earn as much as they can and give them a fighting chance this Winter.

Recommended for you

Read All
Why buying vegan leather isn't as sustainable as you might think
Sustainability

Why buying vegan leather isn't as sustainable as you might think

Looking for a gift hamper that makes a difference? Meet Social Stories Club
Meet the maker

Looking for a gift hamper that makes a difference? Meet Social Stories Club

These Christmas decorations are made in hostel bedrooms by people experiencing homelessness
Meet the maker

These Christmas decorations are made in hostel bedrooms by people experiencing homelessness

Looking for ethical decorations? Why not buy them from the birthplace of Christmas
Ethical Shopping

Looking for ethical decorations? Why not buy them from the birthplace of Christmas

Most Popular

Read All
Lauren Layfield: 'Normal men, innocent men' and me
1.

Lauren Layfield: 'Normal men, innocent men' and me

Here's when people will get the next cost of living payment in 2023
2.

Here's when people will get the next cost of living payment in 2023

Where to find grants for furniture and carpets in 2023
3.

Where to find grants for furniture and carpets in 2023

Scotland aims to cut car use by creating '20-minute neighbourhoods' in net zero push
4.

Scotland aims to cut car use by creating '20-minute neighbourhoods' in net zero push