Tuesday, May 31, 2011

African Handbags

We have some great new Uganda wax cloth handbags to add to our African handbag collection. They join mud cloth purses from Burkina Faso, Kiondo bags Kenya, and Bolga purses from Ghana. We also have leather and straw handbags from Burkina Faso, pictured here, that are cool enough to use as wall art. And of course our Bolga baskets make great totes!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Father's Day Ideas

If you're looking for something more creative than a tie for a Father's Day gift, consider an item from Tango Zulu, your Kitsap fair trade store. Pictured here is an ebony and bone letter opener from Kenya, which makes a pretty cool gift. Men also tend to love our beer soap, and we have plenty of other handmade soaps and sea salt bars in suitably manly scents, like peppermint and ginger citrus. Another great gift is a cotton wallet from Nepal, and we also have some cool hemp wallets in the store that aren't available online yet. For the cook, we have olive wood utensils and ebony salad servers, handwoven trivets from Darfur, and felted wool potholders from Nepal. Lat but not least check out our bone necklaces from India, Kenya, and Tibet; and our assortment of unisex bracelets from around the world.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Natural Handmade Soaps

Natural soap, not surprisingly, contains no synthetic preservatives, fragrance, or other artificial ingredients. Our current natural handmade soap selection is as follows:

In felted soap, both the lavender felted soap and peppermint felted soap are natural. In sea salt soap, both the peppermint sea salt soap and eucalyptus sea salt soap are natural. And among our old fashioned cold process soaps, we have two natural beer soaps, a natural rosemary soap, a natural lavender soap, and a natural peppermint soap.

In shampoo bars, our rosemary shampoo and tea tree oil shampoo are both natural.

Our other handmade soaps and shampoo bars contain a small amount of safe synthetic fragrance oil.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

"Facebook" Coupon Code

We have a special offer on all our online products that runs through the end of May. If you use the code "Facebook" (without the quotes) when you check out, you receive 10% off all items (exclusive of tax and shipping.) Also, we always offer free shipping throughout the U.S. on orders over $100, including Alaska and Hawaii. This is a great time to try our felted soap, Bolga baskets & Zulu baskets, and other fair trade products.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Other Port Gamble Street....

Just about anyone who comes to tiny Port Gamble knows about Rainier Avenue NE, where Tango Zulu Imports, The Tea Room, Dauntless Bookstore, and other businesses reside. However, it is easy to miss the next street to the West, Puget Avenue. Be sure to check out the Quilted Strait, one of the largest quilt supplies stores in the region; and tiny Second Spring, which has sweet handmade clothing. In the summer you'll also find Terrapin Farms, which provides fresh local produce. Nearby is Gamble Bay Coffee and Mike's Four Star BBQ. So be sure to go around the corner when you come to town, or just cut through the field right behind Tango Zulu!

As a side note, we have lots of beautiful new market baskets in earth tones. It's a great time to shop for Bolga baskets if you're looking for muted browns and greens. Of course, we still have plenty of the more brightly colored baskets as well.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Medium Market Baskets

We have a nice selection of medium market baskets in house faster a bit of a drought. These round Bolga baskets are about 13" in diameter and 7" deep, making them a good size for fruit or vegetable harvesting or when you are grocery shopping for just a few items. Check them out online or visit our fair trade store in beautiful Port Gamble, WA, in Kitsap County.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Handmade Soap

We may have the best collection of quality handmade soap in Kitsap County. Our signature Tango Zulu brand soaps are old-fashioned lye-base soaps make locally. They are long-lasting, lather beautifully, and come in an array of fragrances like the popular Plum Spice seen here. We also have locally made felted soap and sea salt soap, both of which exfoliate as they clean. Our handmade shampoo bars (yes, also made in Kitsap County), are free of SLS and parabens. Treat yourself to a little Bolga basket full of Kitsap soaps!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Year On

When we opened for business last May, we only had about half the inventory selection we currently, and only a few products were available online. We didn't have many of the products that we now consider to be key to our success, including African baskets, felted soap, beer soap, and clothing from India and Nepal. We didn't foresee the impact e-commerce would have on our business. We thought it would be a modest supplement to our brick & mortar operations, instead it now accounts for about 30% of revenue and is growing rapidly. We have had to expand to another floor in our fair trade shop in historic Port Gamble, WA, and now carry more than 400 products online, with more being constantly added. It will be interesting to see where this next year takes us, especially if the weather and the economy cooperate (we not only opened during a recession, our entire first year was filled with record breaking cold and rain, which negatively impacted walk-in business, and included several days lost to snow closures.) Viva fair trade, small businesses, and artisans who create functional beauty for us all!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Rectangle Bolga Baskets

Our rectangle Bolga baskets are among our best selling items. They come in three sizes and in both dyed and natural variations, and all have two goat skin handles. These fair trade African baskets make sturdy market baskets, and also are perfect book or magazine totes.

Tango Zulu is proud to carry fair trade baskets and other fair trade products from African and beyond. We have a big selection Bolga baskets, which hail from the Bolgatanga region of northern Ghana. Additionally, we carry Zulu baskets from South Africa, Darfur baskets from Sudan, and fruit baskets from Tanzania.

Friday, May 13, 2011

This Weekend in Port Gamble

This weekend in Port Gamble will be busy. Gamble Bay Coffee is celebrating its two-year anniversary, and the iconic Tea room is launching its Bistro by Night venture, staying open in the evenings to serve delicious food and wine. World Fair Trade Day is Saturday, and we'll give a free soap or other cool gift with any African basket purchase. We're well stocked with Zulu baskets, Darfur baskets, and Ghana Bolga baskets, as well as a smattering of others from different areas. Come check out our fair trade products, have some fair trade coffee from Gamble Bay Coffee, and visit the Bistro to wind down.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

New Stock

We're expecting a shipment of Bolga baskets this Friday, so expect peak stock of these beautiful Ghana baskets in time for World Fair Trade Day this Saturday, May 14th. Late next week we'll receive more beautiful olive wood salad servers and other utensils, as well as Chilean fused glass earrings and necklaces. On the 23rd we'll get freshly cured handmade soap, including our popular felted soap. Stay tuned for updates on other shipments this month. We're proud to supply a wide array of fair trade products to Kitsap County and the Olympic Peninsula.Link

Monday, May 9, 2011

Fair Trade Day 2011

World Fair Trade Day is this Saturday, May 14th, and to celebrate we're giving away a gift with every purchase of one of our fair trade African baskets. This includes Bolga baskets, Zulu baskets, and Darfur baskets. This only applies to our Port Gamble gift shop, but stay tuned for internet specials as well. Tango Zulu is proud to carry fair trade products from South Africa, Kenya, Sudan, Ghana, Nepal, and many other places.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Fair Trade Products

We frequently get asked what fair trade products are. Wikipedia describes fair trade as "an organized social movement and market-based approach that aims to help producers in developing countries make better trading conditions and promote sustainability. The movement advocates the payment of a higher price to producers as well as higher social and environmental standards. It focuses in particular on exports from developing countries to developed countries, most notably handicrafts." We carry a wide range of fair trade products, mostly from Nepal and various African countries. When you purchase a fair trade product you know you're helping a family in a developing country make a decent wage while working in humane conditions. In many cases, you are also keeping traditional skills alive that otherwise might be lost to the changes brought by both conflict and modernization. We also find that fair trade products are usually of higher quality than comparable products that aren't fair trade. Tango Zulu is proud to carry fair trade products for all these reasons. We aim to be the premier fair trade store in Washington state, and hopefully beyond!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

20 Uses for a Market Basket

Our Bolga market baskets are among our most popular items. I've compiled a list of things our customers say they use them for. Some are obvious, others not so much! If anyone has a use for a market basket that isn't on the list, we would love to hear from you!
1. Harvesting produce
2. Grocery/produce shopping
3. Keeping a litter of kittens in
4. Storing toys in
5. Mushroom gathering
6. Keeping towels in
7. Gathering flowers in
8. Carrying rocks (we don't know any details, just that a large market basket was puchased for this)
9. Keeping yarn and textiles in. We sell baskets to a lot of textile artists.
10. Keeping books and magazines in
11. Keeping throws/small blankets in
12. Laundry basket
13. Easter basket (the small market baskets are ideal for this)
14. Picnic basket
15. Toting food to potlucks in
16. Storage on boats. They won't be damaged/cause damage if they tip in rough seas, and a little water won't hurt them.
17. Keeping in a car to hold sunglasses, kleenex, and other odds and ends (our medium market baskets are the perfect size for this.)
18. Using as the starting point for a gift basket
19. Gathering and giving out Halloween candy
20. Collecting eggs from hens

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Upcoming Events in Port Gamble

The Port Gamble festival season is upon us, beginning with this weekend's NW Adventure Sports Expo, AKA Unleash the Beast. The Kitsap Medieval Faire is June 3rd-5th, and the Civil War Re-enactment, AKA The Battle of Port Gamble, is June 24th-26th. Check out the official Port Gamble website for more information on these and other events.

We're proud to be one of the few fair trade stores in the Kitsap or Olympic Peninsula area. If you're looking for fair trade artisan products, from African baskets to Nepalese felted wool pot holders to Tibetan monk's bags, visit Tango Zulu. We also carry handmade soap, including our famous beer soap and felted soap, made in small batches right here in Kitsap County.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Happy May Day!

It is glorious and sunny here in historic Port Gamble. We're just a week away from Tango Zulu's one year anniversary, and as I look at all of our beautiful fair trade African baskets and handmade soaps and other treasures, I reflect on how fast it all went and how quickly we grew. A year ago we had piles of kiondo bags, Burkina bags, African baskets, Indian kaftans and ox bone carvings in our kitchen at home. We were feverishly trying to get our store ready in time for Mother's Day weekend. We were still programming the cash register at 2am the morning we opened, but we did manage to open on time. From then on it has been lots of long hours, a steep learning curve, and deep enjoyment of the process and the people we have meant along the way. We're happy to be part of the North Kitsap business community, and of the worldwide fair trade community as well. I can't wait to see where our second year takes us.