“Seppenfelts is more than just a shop. What we do has to have meaning. The buying and selling is just the vehicle.”
When Alfred and I decided to buy Seppenfelts, back in 2009, we sat down and thought about the ‘purpose of life’. Thoughts like “to be the change we wish to see in the world”, “to inspire and motivate”, “ethical trading”, “environmental awareness”, “ecologically sustainable”, “to be of service”, “to increase consciousness into the experience of life” settled on our note pad.
“You may make a living by what you get, but you make a life by what you give.”
Once we opened, we found that Alfred took to retail like a duck to water, with his friendly and enthusiastic social skills, his creative flair for display and an eye for the quirky, extravagant and unusual. I loved playing with all the bright and shiny things and keeping all the finances under strict control and order! We made a great team.
In the years since we opened we’ve been blessed by having fabulous staff, who’ve all contributed so much, and really take on the values and motivations of the business. In particular, Linda has been with us since the beginning, starting with just a few hours per week and continuing to now being the main face of Seppenfelts, often behind the counter while Alfred and I are behind the scenes.
“Because the World Really is Wonderful.”
We’ve met people from all over the world who have visited our little town. Each has a story to tell. The conversations that happen in our shop are amazing. Alfred has a great knack for making people feel right at home, and lots of people come in just for a chat! I tell you sometimes it’s hard to get a word in. He’s a great networker, and it all helps to build community.
“It is in exchanging the gifts of the earth that you shall find abundance and be satisfied. Yet unless the exchange be in love and kindly justice, it will but lead some to greed and others to hunger.” – Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet.
The feedback we get from customers assures us that we must be doing something right! It’s a buzz seeing our warm, cosy winter jackets on people in the street looking fabulous, or a beautiful pendant or a ring, and I think ‘that looks familiar’. It’s great when customers come in and tell us about something they love that they bought from us. It’s our reward to bring joy and satisfaction to people. It’s also rewarding to think of the makers of these products being supported and making a fair living.
“Every dollar is a vote.”
Our wholesalers are down to earth people. They include a Tibetan Buddhist family importing goods from Nepal and India; a Vietnamese woman bringing in silk clothes from Vietnam; a family business in Bellingen, NSW, which produces inspiring greeting cards and uplifting gifts; and travellers who make a living buying from craftspeople all over the world and selling to people like us.
We have also sourced many local and Tasmanian made products, from Shamanic drums to soaps, candles and therapeutic moisturisers.
“With our thoughts we make the World.”
Seppenfelts is a platform for sharing ideas and passions. You may have noticed that with our blackboard quotes!
My passion is books. If I’ve read an inspiring book, it’s satisfying to sell that title and pass on some insights and wisdom to someone else. And there’s nothing better than having a customer rave about a great book they bought in our shop. We have books on health, crystals, spirituality, personal growth, gardening and sustainable lifestyles. Our range of Tasmanian books is hugely successful, and I particularly like to support local authors.
“Through community, not only can we overcome loneliness, but we can band together and create greatness; not only can we tolerate diversity, but we can cherish and celebrate it.”
What keeps me going is the benefits that I see our little shop is having on our community.
Our response to COVID19 is to build on that. We’ve started having ‘Cuppa Mornings’, inviting our local, talented people to come and share their skills and knowledge to an interested and receptive audience. The feedback and networking that goes on is great.
Over the years, Seppenfelts has donated thousands of dollars to UNHCR (the United Nations refugee agency) the Salvation Army (helping those in need both overseas and in Australia), and also to Get Up (keeping politicians on their toes and accountable to the voters). We also support the local community newspaper through advertising and the local community radio through sponsorship. We donate gifts to many local raffles for various community groups, and we usually have a collection tin or a raffle book on the counter for some charity or other.
Where to from now?
We’ve fine-tuned our mission and vision, and expressed our values and commitments. Ongoing we’re assessing and fine-tuning our products and exploring other ways that we can express our passions.
We appreciate you visiting our shop and we do have a Facebook page which gets updated regularly, which we would love for you to “Like”, and share our posts so we can spread the love to a wider audience.