One of the things we love most about who we are and what we do, is that we get to partner with some amazing producer groups around the world who are the creative genius behind our product range. Can you guess which country our producer group spotlight is highlighting today? See if this description gives it away....
It’s the land of a thousand festivals, a million pungent smells and over a billion people. It’s the world’s largest democracy and has the largest population of slaves in the modern world. It’s home to almost 15,000 multi-millionaires as well as one-third of the world’s poor. It has one of the most vibrant cultures on the planet, an historic legacy that’s the stuff of legend and a secure place on the bucket list of every self-respecting independent traveller. It's a place of passion and its rich craft traditions, which have spanned centuries, are dripping with it...
Are you there yet? It's INDIA!!!
India is on my mind at the moment because in the coming months we are going to be unveiling a stunning and super-exclusive new range. What's that? You would like a few hints???? OK...think beautiful tan. Soft, luscious leather. You are going to LOVE IT! And if that's not enough to whet you appetite. Have a look at the amazing story behind the Indian producers who are working to create this range.
Sasha is a not-for-profit organisation working with more than a hundred artisans and craft communities all over India. Since its inception in 1978, Sasha has worked towards developing craft communities so their skills and creativity find expression, recognition and fulfillment. What an awesome vision hey?
When Sasha was being formed in 1978, craft in India was going through an especially low period due to the influx of cheaper and sometimes better machine made goods. Crafts persons were increasingly being marginalized and their products trivialized as 'ethnic' and purely decorative. Artisans, especially women were exploited by middlemen, and the craft they practiced was fast losing its identity to cater to a market demands. Customers had no idea about what they were buying and artisans had no idea who was buying their products.
It's amazing to hear firsthand some of the significant problems that craftspeople face due to global competition. People's livelihoods and ancient traditions are literally on the line here!
Over the years, Sasha has worked towards addressing these issues through the following focuses:
- Markets - Artisan groups are encouraged and assisted to explore local markets and take part in government sponsored and other exhibitions. They are provided holistic support to enter and thrive in international markets.
- Design - The ongoing process of design and development has equipped most groups to successfully modify their products to suit different market needs.
- SSA - Apart from design and marketing inputs, Sasha has assisted groups with managerial and financial guidance, setting systems and procedures in place where they were needed; providing linkages to address social development needs.
- Craft Revival - Reviving traditional designs, organizing workshops and exhibitions both in India and abroad has facilitated a more equal relationship between crafts persons and their customers while going a long way towards inspiring a sense of history and dignity.
- Networks - Sasha has always recognized the need to create a close network of supportive work relationships between the different artisan groups they work with and a space for sharing skills, experiences and resources for initiating change through a process of growing together.
- Fair Trade - Sasha is a member of the World Fair Trade Organization and a founding member of the Fair Trade Forum- India and WFTO Asia. Sasha follows practices and motivates craft producers to adopt best practices and all the different aspects of fair trade.
Well we are super proud to partner with this amazing organisation! Check out our current range of goodies from the artisans who work with Sasha
And don't forget to keep an eye out for the new range - coming soon!