In 2003, while visiting teacher friends in Bangkok, I became enthralled by the tastes and textures of Thailand and Southeast Asia. I ended up staying for six months. While traveling in the region, I also witnessed abject poverty and decided to start Spirithouse.

My idea was to create a vehicle for selling fairly traded items made by hand, to help preserve traditional skills and dignified work, and to enjoy sharing what I find beautiful. I wanted to try being successful as a social entrepreneur, giving a ‘hand-up’ rather than a ‘hand-out’, and to try proving that fair trade is possible without subsidy. The latter is still a work in progress.

Spirithouse serves to tell you the stories and adventures of my annual buying trips, to introduce favourite suppliers and products, and to share reflections and observations about often hilarious and fascinating East/West cultural differences and challenges. Enjoy.