Making Connections with Artisans in Remote Villages

As the owner and designer of a new clothing line, I have countless roles and responsibilities. From marketing to design to making decisions big and small, I'm working to excel in each area of business ownership. During the fall I worked long hours creating patterns, making samples, and approving fabric prints and colors for the new spring collection. In mid-November, with a sigh of relief, I met my deadlines and shipped the spring patterns and samples to my manufacturing unit in India.

Hand woven ikat fabrics.

But my job wasn’t done. My role had only changed from designer to production manager. Passion Lilie works with a small workshop that is fair trade certified and employs about ten wonderful women who live in India. I truly enjoy my relationship with this workshop.

In the evenings, around 10 or 11 p.m. my time, I log on to Skype, answer the call and see the smiling face of the workshop manager. She always says, “Good morning Katie or good evening for you” with a little laugh. She is always happy to talk to me. I am usually shy to turn on the video, because by 10 p.m. I am in my PJs, but when I do turn on the video, she looks excited just to see my face and make a personal connection.

Fair trade sewing cooperative. Staff picture.

And that is truly what this business is about, making connections and creating positive relationships. We are all humans and despite cultural, religious or language differences, we can all find something in common that connects us.

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