Windhorse Evolution

It’s Time To Start Saying Goodbye…Windhorse:Evolution is Closing Down

On Fri, 16 January, 2015 - 13:37
Windhorse Evolution's picture
Windhorse Evolution

Sadly – after over 30 years of bringing ethically sourced gifts and home ware to the High Street – Windhorse:evolution will be closing down over the next few months. Having made this difficult decision, our aim now is to close in an ethical way that preserves our reputation being an honest, open and principled retailer.

The retail landscape has changed so much since we started trading in the 1980s and we now find ourselves unable to compete with pressure from larger companies and the Internet.

The economic climate has greatly affected us and despite working very hard to save the business, we have seen a long term and consistent drop in sales. As a relatively small business, we are unable to offer the constant discounting that other companies can and this, coupled with the fact that the gift and home ware market has reduced over the years, means that we find ourselves in an impossible situation.

Many of you will have followed us through the recent “100 Days of Ethical Giving” campaign that we ran before Christmas and we were touched by the support we received from individual Sangha members and from Centres. Hopefully that campaign has raised the issue of making positive shopping choices which – despite our inability to remain a viable business – is still a cause that we hold dear.

We remain grateful for the support that both our Customers and the staff working in our Evolution shops have given us – some of them over many, many years. Tribute must also be paid to those working at Windhorse:evolution HQ, many of whom have made heroic efforts to try to save the business.

We would like to ask you to consider supporting the social projects we have had the closest links with – Kupu Kupu in Bali, Ban Sai Rom orphanage in Thailand and the Green Tara Trust in Nepal. All of these small but vital charities are grateful for any help offered.

We will now be closing Windhorse:Evolution over the next few months. We are very happy to share our Closing Down Sale bargains with you and we will keep you updated on which stores you can find the best deals in once we have stopped selling through our website.

We will be keeping you informed of our progress via our website, Facebook and Twitter.

with love Evolution x

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parami's picture
yes, this is such sad news but I would like to congratulate Windhorse: Evolution for doing this in the most creative, ethical way possible. I am one of so many people who have worked in an evolution shop (in Valencia in my case) and who have benefitted in so many ways, directly and indirectly, over the years from the work done at w:e. In fact, the place I live now (Adisthana) was made possible in part by contributions to Bhante from w:e. So, thanks to everyone and I wish everyone the best in whatever the future holds.
International Order Convening Team's picture
Dear Windhorse
I really can’t believe this is happening.
Worked at Windhorse in the very early days, from 1982 to 1985. The van runs only extended 100 miles around London when I joined.
They were very pioneering times and I learnt, discovered a lot. But it was hard work with sometimes 3 weeks on the road without support. And I was only a mitra at the time.
It’s really sad and I’m rather puzzled that nothing is carrying on from this as a business. What happened to all that expertise?
Anyway, I’m sure you’ve thought of eveything.
Best wishes
Mel's picture
A great shame, but I think the downfall is due to steering away too much from the original vision of Evolution. When I started shopping and working there it was a special place, and so great to share morning rituals and aspects of Buddhism that were new to me. I have many fond memories of people I met, and some of the lovely people at Windhorse. However, as soon as the company started to model itself on regular retail concepts it seemed to loose it’s specialness. It tried to copy, rather than being original as it had been. There didn’t seem to be a recognition that the difference of Evolution is what attracted its customers and inspired its staff. I wish all the best to those at Windhorse.

achintya's picture
I worked for 3 years at Evolution in Bristol back in the 90’s, and that experience was a major step toward my Ordination. It was the ‘Right Livelihood’ aspect which made it work; the ‘vision’ that it was possible to employ people, inspire them, keep them engaged and motivated through the Buddhist vision and practice of ethics, friendship and real connection with others which was wonderful. I struggled with some of the overly ‘top down’ management attitudes which sometimes surfaced in Order Members at the shop; but that was minor compared to the vivid experience of Sangha and friendship during those 3 years.

Every time I walk by Evolution in Bristol Galleries, it is filled to the brim with shoppers who are buying things, and at Christmas time and other public holidays, you can’t get into the shop. It is difficult to square this with the impression that sales and buying has reduced so much the business has to close down? We seem to be in a consumer ‘boom’ at the moment, so what has happened? This anomoly seems to be corroborated by other comments here. The public really value the unique atmosphere and presence of Evolution. Nearly all my non-Buddhist friends in Bristol go there and know of it. BUT not as a Buddhist shop. Perhaps there’s the rub?

I wonder if, like some of the latest branches of Mindfulness, much of the heart of a Buddhist organisation or project is lost when ‘Buddhism’ is stripped away or hidden from view? Right Livelihood and the Buddhist vision was the heart of Evolution. I think somehow these got lost along the way, perhaps also by not adapting and modifying business principles to suit the thriving online and more competitive world.

Amazing it lasted 30 years - well done to everyone who has ever worked in the shops, the vans and the warehouses and offices. You made Right Livelihood a living reality in the 20th and 21st centuries.

with deep sadness to hear this news.

Bristol, March 2015
Richard Adams's picture
Gutted to hear this. I woke up this morning inspired to write to evolution expressing my desire to work for them. I have worked all my life in meaningless factory jobs and just recently various events have led me into the oppotunity of despair! Finally i am in a position where i can take the necessary pay cut and take a job that just meets my needs. Right liveliood as you say. My vocation. I had a vision of driving your vans round meeting lots of people, going to nice places but most importantly doing something that makes my soul sing. I logged on to my computer full of hope this morning and i see the news about windhorse. My heart sank. What a shame. You suck God. You really do. Another victory to the corparate world. When are you going to help the opressed. You really have some explaining to do. Things are just far to out of balance in the world now. People cant take much more of this shit. So many of us have dedicated our lives to you, but still we wait. Unbelievable. You are a very strange God indeed.