'Treasure trove' to open to public

Written by Pete Davison.

A Marlborough-based importer of Indian crafts is to hold its first ever open weekend at its huge furniture warehouse on Saturday and Sunday, June 4 and 5.

The opening, at Honeystreet - between Pewsey and Devizes -  will give visitors an opportunity to view and select exquisite Indian furniture from hundreds of unusual pieces.

Anne Wyles, director of The India Shop said: “We have a wonderful new collection of beautiful handmade and recycled furniture. These are real investment pieces.”

Stored in the warehouse are hundreds of pieces of furniture, from storage boxes, beds, screens, cupboards, mirrors to tables and chairs.

Each piece is hand made, and each is recycled or new and no rainforest were destroyed in their making.

There will also be a traditional Indian wedding marquee full of gifts, and end-of-line retail bargains, all at special warehouse prices.

The India Shop started in 1987, after Anne visited India for the first time. She saw the wonderful handicrafts that came from all over India - and she also saw the poverty.

At the time there weren’t many Indian lifestyle products available in the UK market: Liberty’s sold high-end goods and cheesecloth market traders sold at the low end. Anne helped Indian artisans by opening a  shop selling their handicrafts to everyone. 

She set out to sell products with three qualities:  handmade, from India and fairly traded. Fair Trade didn’t exist as a structured concept then, but she followed her heart, which made for an ethical approach to business.

“We trade with family firms and co-operatives, aiming to develop strong business relationships with them and aid continuous employment,” explained Anne.

“There is nothing mass-produced about the furniture and gifts we buy,” she adds. “Our furniture is sourced from local contacts and traders.  All goods and gifts are also handmade and we aim, through fair trade, to provide much-needed employment, particularly in rural areas and keeping alive traditional crafts and skills.”

All workers involved in making and packing products are treated with respect, in reasonable working conditions and paid fair wages. No child is exploited and goods and production techniques are environmentally friendly. Behind every product are local people driving their local economy.  

The India Shop has three outlets in Wantage, Marlborough and Salisbury and sells on-line at www.theindiashop.co.uk