Visiting the OM Yoga Show in London this year? Wondering why you can’t find the Santosa stand full of Tibetan Singing Bowls, Mandalas, Thangkas and the stunning LWM statues, all hand crafted by our team of artisans in Nepal? It’s true, for the first time in four or five years we’re not taking part in the biggest jamboree known to yogis and we are more than a little disappointed.
Over the last few years we’ve built up an amazing following of customers who come to see us at the show. They don’t come to visit our stand only because our products are beautiful and of the highest quality. Our customers tell us again and again how much they value our integrity and the integrity of the products we sell. “Your stand has ‘authentic’ stamped all over it!” - We’ve always appreciated how much you appreciate that!
I’ve spent many hours on our stand dispelling the myths that routinely trip off the tongues of traders selling similar products – the most common question we’re asked is “do you have a heart chakra bowl”? As if such a thing could exist! Of course, it makes for a quick sale and an even quicker buck if you’re prepared to sell singing bowls in this way. Most people are. We’re not.
So why aren’t Santosa taking part this year? Well, the short answer is that integrity is a rare beast, even in the world of yoga.
The rather longer answer? Before we commit to trading at any of the leading UK festivals (our stand cost alone is typically £1,500 for a pretty wee space), we ask that ours is the only stand selling the hand-hammered singing bowls and other hand-made items from Nepal.
As you know, we visit Nepal personally, hand selecting our products and working closely with the artisans there. This is the only way to get up close and personal with the manufacturing processes and employment conditions. It’s also the only way to be sure that what we sell is actually produced in Nepal not imported from India and China. 80-90% of the products that are sold to tourists as ‘Made in Nepal’ are nothing of the sort. The same products are miss-sold on many wholesale web sites, and resold here of course, as being ‘Made in Nepal’.
Working closely with our Nepalese suppliers also means we can be sure that are products are unique and not readily available through these wholesale websites that almost all traders buy their stock from.
These things are really important to Santosa – it’s what we’ve built our business on. Sure, our costs are higher and our profit margins smaller. Our hearts are happier though!
On top of the stand costs, we travel a long way to make it down to London – petrol, hotels, food to keep us on the road for five days. It adds up to around £2,000 – before taking on the actual cost of importing the products.
So when the OM Yoga Show invited in a second stand selling singing bowls this year we had to make the difficult decision of pulling out. Two stands selling ‘yoga and meditation products from Nepal’ makes no sense, particularly given the financial risks involved for such a high cost show.
We miss you guys! The OM Yoga Show is one hell of a show – lots of ‘show time’, not so much ‘yoga’ but always a blast!
If you’ve missed us at the show, you can be sure of finding us at the MBS Wellbeing Festival at the NEC Birmingham in a couple of weeks and London Olympia in May. You’ll be surprised how much yoga you’ll find there!