Warm welcome for return of fair trade campaigner
It took a Zen retreat to lead Jayashrii McFadgen away from Nelson, but the sun has brought her back.
Business owner Miss McFadgen recently opened her Himalaya store on Hardy St, moving it from Lyttelton where she had been running it since 2007.
Due to the destruction caused in the Christchurch earthquakes the thriving tourist hub that Lyttelton had been did not recover, business was tough and she craved a new place that was "warm and sunny", so she moved home, where the business idea was originally born.
Miss McFadgen studied fashion design and textiles at NMIT, graduated in 2001 and wanted to travel. Local Nepal devotee Diane McKinnon who had organised treks through Nepal, put her on to visiting the country.
"After NMIT I wanted to go overseas and get fabric to make clothing . . . I went to Diane McKinnon to chat but by the time I left I had an itinerary," she said.
Miss McFadgen went to Nepal and found "such beautiful things and so much poverty, I thought someone should do something, then realised I was there and I could do something".
"I brought back boxes and boxes of stuff to sell in community halls and churches, people said I should sell it in a shop."
Eventually she did in Christchurch after feeling inspired to move to the city after attending a Zen retreat there.
She started buying clothing made in a factory in Kathmandu. She has pants and dresses made there and also sells jewellery and household trinkets in her store, all from Nepal.
Her top priority was working with people who shared her "strong personal and business ethics".
She said the store was a good fit in Nelson as "there is awareness of fair trading in Nelson so I knew that would fit with Himalaya's business ethos which is based on a connection with the people who actually make these goods. They have shaped the way I conduct business on a daily basis."
Through the business she said she had been able to give back to the Nepalese community, she had helped factory workers get study visas for their children, had sponsored monks as well as a child to go to an international school and had provided jobs and incomes to the workers.
Miss McFadgen said she has loved being back in Nelson.
"It's really lovely, the sun has been gorgeous for me coming from Christchurch, and it's been amazing, I've had a really warm welcome from people here."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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