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Chandni Chowk

About us, Fair Trade and Environmental issues
The Company:

Chandni Chowk specialises in textiles, hand made in India by wonderfully skilled crafts people to a very high quality. We are a fair trade company producing two main fashion collections annually, along with several satellite collections usually with something extra special about them such as our Tussah silk collection or Organic cotton range. We also have a constantly updated Interiors collection which follows no set seasons, it simply grows and changes as and when inspiration dictates! To compliment both of these departments we have a range of accessories and jewellery.Established by Rosalind Price and Paul Garrod in 1978, joined by Suzie Murrow in 1996, Chandni Chowk acquired its name from an early customer who said we reminded her of the ancient ‘Chandni Chowk’ market in Delhi. The name is Hindi and roughly translates as “shiny/silver/bright—place/area”. At the time, the company was based on a table in the famous Barnstaple Pannier Market; it later progressed into the upstairs of the wonderful Heavens Above restaurant and then to the site of the first permanent Chandni Chowk store in Barnstaple. Today the company is still based firmly in the south west with our HQ housing the design facility, administration and central warehouse in deepest beautiful Devon. We now have five branches and a well-established wholesale business.

  Fair Trade :

Environmental, fair trade and ethical issues are as fundamentally important to Chandni Chowk today as they were when the company first started up in 1978. A large proportion of our suppliers are known personally to us; they are generally either small, family businesses or cottage industry based. If we take on a new partner we use our own common sense: How well does this person treat his employees? What sort of conditions prevail around the business as a whole? Do we feel reassured of the personal integrity of the Principals of the company? Do they seem to be fundamentally decent folk? If we have doubts about any of these issues we simply do not deal with the company. We are always seeking ways to improve the methods and circumstances under which our goods are produced. Invariably this is based on a consensus between us as a company, our facilitator in situ, and the individual worker. Quality of working conditions and quality of product is always our main priority over and above price - if an item is hand made by skilled people they should be paid a fair price for their work.

  Environmental Issues:

Our aim is simply to try minimise our impact on the environment. We only use natural fibres and are working hard to develop our Organic cotton collections—we would love all our products to be organic but have had great difficulty in sourcing genuine and certifiable organic fibres. You will see from our Product information the importance of Natural Dyes within our collections, and the continued support we give to environmental projects working with companies such as Anokhi and Rajka (to name but two). We believe that our principal suppliers of textiles from India are representative of the very best of contemporary practice, combining sound commercial judgement with an uncompromising belief in fair and sustainable economic partnerships, and a continuing programme of development of more environmentally "kinder" projects.

  What is accacia?
Over the years we have built many long standing relationships, and now work with many different groups of crafts people across India (amounting to several hundred people in total). Our main garment range and a large proportion of our Block Printed Interiors collection are labelled as ‘accacia’ rather than Chandni Chowk. These collections are designed jointly by the Chandni Chowk (Devon Based) and Anokhi (India based) design and production teams. We have created the accacia label as a means of expressing this exciting joint venture to our customers. Other products carry the usual Chandni Chowk label and this covers all the other wonderful producers we work with.
  The UK Chandni Chowk Team:
We now employ over 20 members of staff across our five stores and HQ in the UK. The HQ team is in charge of company administration, design, production management, overseeing our shops and wholesale customers, selling, marketing, shipping, distribution and running our new website. We are only a small team, and because we are personally involved at every stage of our products from conception right through to its sale we feel we have a very good ‘hands on’ knowledge of every aspect of the company, and that this shows in the quality of service and product that our customers receive.

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