When Alfred and I decided to buy Seppenfelts in 2009 it was more than just a shop, more than just an income, it was a chance to express ourselves in the world. Instead of doing a business plan, we sat down and thought about the purpose of life.
For me, with a background in environmental politics, it was “To create Heaven on Earth, being the greatest peace, the greatest joy, and the greatest comfort for the greatest number of beings on earth.” For Alfred, with a background in transcendental meditation, it was “To fully experience life in all its aspects, to increase consciousness into the experience of life.” Then we thought about the purposes of our own lives. For me it was “To be the change we wish to see in the world. To cultivate within myself peace, joy, comfort, fulfillment and contentment, and to cultivate these qualities to the world around through interactions and communication, and through ethical trading. Integral to heaven on earth is a healthy environment and sustainable living.” For Alfred, his purpose for his life was “To live to my full potential, and to inspire others to their full potential. To give service to yourself and others.”
How do these idealistic life purposes play out in our shop? One of my favourite interactions when a woman came in selling some scarves and shawls she had knitted. She was doing this as a fundraiser for women in India, to help them set up their own businesses by doing things like buying a sewing machine, so they can provide for their families. We bought several of her items with a little card attached explaining the fundraising project. On the other end of the supply line we have a fair trade wholesaler, Siham Craftlink, who travels throughout third world countries buying from little co-operatives the crafts they have made, and some of these we sell in the shop. So the circle is complete.
Not all of our stock can be traced as ideally as this, but we offer an alternative to mainstream shopping, and take with us the notion of ethical trading, and that Every Dollar Is A Vote.
I love selling books, as it represents to me a sharing of ideas that can heal and help, from Louise Hay to books on sustainable gardening, from health to parenting, from shamanism to Wicca, and if we haven’t got it we can do customer orders. We sell a lot of Doreen Virtue angel cards, and its heartwarming to hear how they have positively affected someone’s life.
We get such positive feedback from our shop, and sometimes people tell us they make a special trip to Deloraine to visit. I say its because we love what we do, but I think its because they can have such a good chat with Alfred, and our ‘business plan’ was to think about our higher purposes in life.
I found a quote by Kahlil Gibran in ‘The Prophet’ about business and the buying and selling of things, which was appropriate: “It is in exchanging the gifts of the earth that you shall find abundance and be satisfied. Yet unless the exchange be in love and kindly justice, it will but lead some to greed and others to hunger.”
You can’t miss us, we’re on the main road in Deloraine, opposite the library, and next to The Empire Hotel.
And remember, the world really is Wonderful!