Apr 12, 2015


It seems in many countries a WORLD FAIR TRADE DAY is held each year.  This year it is planned for 9th May.  And the theme is "Be an Agent for Change".

However, Mary & Martha customers know better ... every day of the year is a Fair Trade Day at the Mary & Martha Retail shop in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia just as it is for all our customers who buy retail and wholesale from overseas.  And all are "Agents for Change" every time they buy or sell a Mary & Martha Product.

So Mary & Martha have decided to have a World Fair Trade WEEKEND to give us time to celebrate and affirm as many customers as possible as our "Agents for Change".

Please drop by Mary & Martha sometime between10.30 - 6.30 on 8-10 May

Check out this blog after the 4th May for more information 
AND check out the  WFTD 2015 Tab above.

Oct 1, 2014

Do you think you have been double-charged?

We want to put things right

Mary & Martha recently added a Khan Bank card machine to complement its Golomt Bank machines to allow more flexibility in cards accepted. 

On 2 occasions in September, customer cards have been charged when the machine said the card/transaction had been ‘rejected’.    The amounts were:  
36,500 MNT NO NAME, and 314,000 MNT (twice!), to CHRISTINE.
Khan bank personnel have verbally admitted it is their bank system problem and we can confirm it is NOT a M&M staff problem.   We found out when we were paid twice!

The bank say they have NO method to contact customers (unlike other banks) to reimburse their cards.  M&M have now stopped using the Khan Bank for card purchase transactions and are awaiting an official apology for the distress and difficulty caused to M&M and our customers.

Pass this on to friends, visitors and expats living in Mongolia who may be one of the 2 people double charged.   We would like to be in contact with these customers  so we can be confident they get their money back!  Any help appreciated.

Thanks, Irene of Mary & Martha
(976) 99 72 52 97

May 15, 2014


Everyone talks about the weather!

So we had 12cm of snow on the Thursday night.  Temperatures rose above freezing and suddenly we were a shop with a river passing by.  Our first day was a little slow ....

But the word was getting around about our VINTAGE Wall Hanging Shop.

A bit drab on the outside - but take a peak ...
 BUT more than 50 wall hangings to select from (from 12 years old to over 40 years old), having spent their lives in Kazakh Gers in the West of Mongolia.  AND a second room filled with Recycled Wall Hanging products - cushion covers, all sorts of bags and even wrist bands for the more trendy.

Saturday and Sunday brought out the Mary & Martha supporters, all ready to shop till they dropped.  Sales on the Saturday were our 2nd best day ever due to a gentleman from New York bagging 11 wall hangings and many table runners.  Sunday was still an amazing day for May.  The result was a good day for customers, Mary & Martha, and our artisans in this unique supply chain.  AND four charities in Mongolia will now benefit from Mary & Martha donations based on our sales.

Of course we were forced to celebrate WFTD and the start to our summer season.

May 3, 2014

World Fair Trade weekend with Mary & Martha

Spring is in the air and World Fair Trade Day is here next Saturday 10th May - but why just one day?  At Mary & Martha we've extended it over a Friday - Sunday weekend ... in the hope that gradually every day will become a Fair Trade Day.

Oct 31, 2013

Jun 14, 2013

Graduates Galore

Mary & Martha have a small core staff and employ students part time during their studies and full time during their vacations.  Over the last 3 years all students have come from Ulaanbaatar University and all major in "Training to be English Teachers" or training to be English translators.  Our arrangement with the University is mutually beneficial; we have a flexible sales force, the students have regular income and the University sees major improvements in the student's spoken English after working with M+M for 3 or more months.  We think it is significant that most of our full time staff started out part time when they were students and chose to join us on graduation.

This year has seen three of our students graduate from Ulaanbaatar University; two as English Teachers and one as a Translator.  All have chosen to work with us during our busy summer season.  All three still have to decide "what next".  Then we have a fourth graduate, who has done a fast track accountancy diploma, whilst working with M+M and learning to do M+M accounts. 

We're proud and grateful to be involved in the lives of all these students and we hope we are a real encouragement to them.
Tsegii and Uyunga our graduating English Teachers
Deligat (Translator Graduate) with her proud brother
Badmaa (Diploma in Accounting) with a proud boss
M+M Staff with new graduates - we all celebrate together
M+M Staff with our artisan friends from Asylmura and Deligat

Jun 8, 2013

UB Walking Hazards

It is that time again - summer is here and the foreign visitors are arriving.  As temperatures rise just doing the most simple things can become more difficult and tempers also reach explosion point more quickly.

Walking around would seem the most natural thing to do when visiting a new city - but beware of the UB Walking Hazards.

Walking on pavements
Culturally the space you occupy when walking is not recognised by others.  Anyone of any age and gender is likely to walk through you at any time.  So if you do not have a tough frame, watch and give way as much as possible.

Pick Pockets
Pick on you when you are at your most vulnerable.  Your arrival or first day on the street and you think the best of everyone.  The pick pockets use the "we do not recognise your space" as part of their ploy to jostle you - usually one in front to slow you down and 3-4 behind to close in, relieve you of your valuables and then drift away again.  Back packs / day packs are an easy target as are mobile phones on belts and even items in front and rear pockets.

Crossing Roads
Only pedestrian crossings sequenced with traffic lights give any hope of crossing without incident - and this only about 80% of the time.  All other crossings offer open season on pedestrians.  You may have "the green man" to cross but traffic will also have green to turn across your path or with no traffic lights drivers do not recognise pedestrian crossings.  Might is right and bigger trumps smaller.  If you are a good judge of speed and believe a driver can stop, make clear eye contact with the driver - they will stop - but again only 80% of the time.  Go for safety in numbers when ever possible; the herd can intimidate drivers - but again only 80% of the time.

The Dislikers
There are a small minority of local folk who simply dislike foreigners.  They seem to have the need to lash out by kicking, hitting and verbally abusing the ones they dislike.  And guys, if you are with a Mongolia lady, you will be a target.

So don't get paranoid but DO keep your wits about you and you'll have a fantastic time here - and once out of the city the friendliness and generosity is amazing.