This Fair-Trade Story Has a Fairy-Tale Ending!

by | Artisans

Read Time: 3 min.

Once Upon a Time in India

Once upon a time in India, two young aspiring designers went to school to pursue their passion for fashion and Artisan traditions. Over the years, they developed a special bond over their mutual desire to use their talents and resources to create beauty that changes the world.

It sounds like the makings of a fairy tale, but it’s a true story – the story of Akash and Rabia, our Artisan design partners in India whose workshop creates many of our leather and block-printed bags and accessories.

Preserving India’s Ancient Artisan Traditions

After graduating from design school, Akash and Rabia’s friendship developed into a business partnership. Together, they established a workshop committed to preserving the ancient Artisan techniques of India’s legendary craftsmen. Their “core” line of products combines the time-honored Artisan traditions of handcrafted leather and hand-carved block printed designs with modern function and on-trend styles.

Preserving & Protecting Artisans

As these two young designers began their business adventure together, they both felt that the Artisans who made their designs deserved to be as treasured and protected as much as the Artisan traditions they had committed to help preserve.

Empowering Artisans

Akash and Rabia also recognized some of the challenges the Artisans and their families were facing.

Many of them had little previous income or savings. Many needed skills training.

Most did not have the resources to travel long distances to work.

So, Akash and Rabia began to design a workshop that preserved and honored both Artisan traditions… and Artisans.

Countering Sweatshop Culture

Determined to counter the sweatshop culture that often takes advantage of Artisans in India, Akash and Rabia took great care to offer protections, benefits, and opportunities that would empower their Artisans to provide their families with a dignified standard of living.

Akash and Rabia began to design a workshop that preserved and honored both Artisan traditions… and Artisans.
Together they created a clean, well-lit workshop near the Artisans’ homes and families. They offered specialized training and committed to pay each Artisan a living wage – above and beyond their required minimum wage. They offered interest-free home loans and even offered to sponsor a child’s education from the Artisan community every schoolyear. They offered opportunities for Artisans to speak up whenever they had concerns or ideas. Above all, they offered their Artisans dignity, respect, and hope.
“Our belief is, as designers, we can only imagine ideas.
The true heroes are the Artisans who convert our thoughts into reality.
They make it happen.” – Akash & Rabia
“The crux of the matter is they are an equal partner in our journey.
And that’s how we treat them as well.” – Akash & Rabia

A Fairy-Tale Ending

As they shared their love for their artisanal designs and their local community, the two business partners became inseparable. When Trades of Hope Founder, Elisabeth, and Head Designer, Roxana visited Akash and Rabia in early 2019 and saw the special bond between them, they began to wonder if they might one day become more than friends and business partners.

Later that year, Roxana received an invitation to Akash and Rabia’s December wedding. Although Roxana was unable to attend their beautiful ceremony in India, everyone from Trades of Hope home team was overjoyed for the couple with big dreams and even bigger hearts.

We wish Akash & Rabia happiness and success as they pursue their dreams of creating beauty that changes the world!
Trades of Hope is partnering to support workshops in India who value the people behind their products.

Every purchase of our Floral Face Mask supports Artisans in Akash & Rabia’s workshop.

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Kathy Thomas

Kathy Thomas

Kathy Thomas is an inspirational writer with a passion for helping women discover and celebrate their unique gifts and abilities. Kathy is part of the Communication Team at Trades of Hope focusing on Artisan Development.

Kindred

adjective
1. similar in kind; related
2. a blog by Trades of Hope

Trades of Hope is an ethical fashion and lifestyle brand that helps women around the world escape poverty and trafficking through our fair trade designs. Learn how you can partner with Artisans around the world here.