Hamlin x Dirty Janes: Partners in Ethical Fairtrade Shopping

June 04, 2020

Hamlin x Dirty Janes: Partners in Ethical Fairtrade Shopping

Dirty Janes, an emporium of ethical, eclectic and vintage wares with showrooms in Bowral and Canberra, has been a partner of the Hamlin Shop for eight years. Over that time, Dirty Janes has helped raise awareness of the plight of obstetric fistula patients, in addition to selling ethically made Hamlin Shop products.

Dirty Janes is a collective with over 80 individual store holders in Bowral and a further 90 store holders in Canberra. Since 2012 the company has supported Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia's work to eradicate obstetric fistula; currently they sell a select collection of the Hamlin Shop's unique products.

Among the Hamlin Shop products that the emporium stocks are the Shamwari Hand-Knitted Friends collection and copies of The Hospital By the River, Dr Catherine Hamlin’s autobiography written with John Little.

Owner, Jane Crowley has long been a supporter of the work of Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia. “I remember watching a ’60 Minutes’ story oh so long ago about Catherine. I read the book and was just struck by this woman and her husband who just identified a need and went ‘right, we’re gonna fix this.’ They were just so positive and believed so much that they could make a difference,” reflects Jane.

Dirty Janes’ relationship with the Hamlin Shop began with a rather serendipitous event involving a trade fair and the search for Ethiopian bunting and it blossomed into a fruitful collaboration. After hosting a charity supper in support of Hamlin (featuring a spirited auction for an inflatable zebra), Jane decided to include the Hamlin Shop as part of the Dirty Janes smorgasbord of ethical goods: “It’s a really grassroots charity to support. These people have achieved so much in a country that is so poor in so many respects and I just knew that if we supported them, their good work would continue on and on and on and on.”

The ethical outlook of Dirty Jane's extends beyond their partnership with Hamlin: from the solar panels powering the shop to the kitchen compost in use, Jane was keen on running a values-oriented business. “We are swimming against the tide of mass production and consumerism. We’re very environmentally conscious about the footprint we leave,” Jane says.

Community is important for Dirty Janes: “We want to be a hub for our community. We’ve been in the Southern Highlands for 11 years, so it’s important to us to provide a place for the community,” says Jane. This sense of community however, is not limited to the Southern Highlands of New South Wales. "Our community is not within a 25 kilometre radius of us, our community is a global community, so we've got to reach out and help these women as well," she reflects.

Dirty Janes Bowral and Dirty Janes Canberra both reopened this past weekend, after a two-month absence due to the coronavirus lockdown. Click here to view their website.