Black cotton saree: Chidiyaa.com
Black dress: Forever 21
Kutch embroidery woolen shawl: Itokri.com
Its been quite a while since i posted on the blog. With feelings of homesickness and family visiting, last month has been quite something really 🙂! Although I was supposed to post this long back, but i was kinda caught up with the feeling that i really wanted this post to make a big impact. Wanna know why? Read along!
Today I am talking about a Brand, an Entrepreneur, a non-profit endeavor, whatever you may want to refer it as; that has not only touched my heart but has made me rethink about what our lives are all about and what do we offer to the world, at a personal level?
Sitting on the couch in my cozy home, i was going through experiences Liz Sanchez has shared on her blog (the woman behind Tribal Designs) about her journey so far and how she came across the tribal women of Huichol almost 9 years ago. Sipping hot cup of tea to make myself feel better, i read her article twice. Not that i had to, but i really wanted to! It was quite overwhelming looking at the life of these tribal women through her eyes, the eyes of someone who has lived, laughed and loved these women and has created an opportunity for them to live a life we all wish for!
A variety of questions started appearing in front of me out of no where…
I started thinking about the fact that how often do we think before purchasing something these days?
When something really touches our heart and just seems like a perfect deal, do we ever think about the fact that even our tiny little purchases could change someone’s life other than ours?
or, How often do we actually make efforts to buy something that has much more value in someone else’s life than ours and how often are we willing to pay whatever it takes?
How often do we pause ourselves in the moment to appreciate the beauty and the creativity of the hands that has made something we really liked?
I know! I know! I think a lot 🙄! But only to realize that these are the real values one needs to learn about life. When you have answers for these questions, you would know how important it is to understand the struggles of others and utterly important to make conscious decisions about each & every single you buy. I am sure everyone supports some kind of cause and no matter how big or small your contribution might be, it definitely makes an impact in someone’s life!
Indigenous women from the Huichol tribe:
Walking almost a mile down to a steep incline every single day for fulfilling daily water needs and cooking meals over a fire, this story is about the indigenous women from the Huichol tribe, from the Sierra Madre of Central Mexico, known for their beaded jewelry art and music.
These women use weaving and beading techniques to design jewelry inspired from hundreds of years ago but being so ingrained in their culture and situated in an isolated region that they fail to sell their art and earn a steady income from it.
Beaded jewelry being their only source of income and in order to sell their art & make a living out of it, they need to travel to big cities with large amount of jewelry pieces already been created. Not only these women sell their handmade jewelry on the streets but also live on the streets until they have sold enough to go back to the village and start again. Their husbands being gone for months in search of work, these women manage their daily living & household chores and work hard to make enough to feed their kids.
Tribal Designs : How it all started?
Liz Sanchez, the woman behind Tribal Designs, lived in Mexico for almost 3 years, it is when she met this community, which now is an important part of TD. Although she had to leave Mexico due to family reasons, but one thing she did not leave was the connection she had developed with these women. Honoring their culture and tradition, Liz and her small team wanted to give these women a strong reason to believe in their art and never stop creating more. She wanted to give a name to their creativity and provide them with means to employment & a steady income for their families.
Liz, was quite inspired by a well known “Fair-trade” company called Noonday Collection, working with artisans from all around the world, selling their products at a global level and providing them with dignified wages. She joined their team hoping to involve these women with the company and expose their art to a wider audience.
At this point, after reading her story, I felt like it was all planned and God definitely had much more in stored for her 🙂
Unfortunately or fortunately as i would say, she wasn’t able to help these women as she might have planned in the beginning. It was at this point, “Tribal Designs” was born, a non-profit business to whole-heartedly support the women of Huichol tribe and help them create & sustainable life by selling their art at a bigger level.
Once TD was born, she started off small by selling the pieces at local church and missionaries, and traveled back and forth from U.S to Mexico to buy new pieces every now & then. Being a modern woman, she understood that their old age art forms needed some sort of a transformation. The designs were tailored into something that can be worn and appreciated by a woman in today’s modern world.
Being a non-profit business, it is quite important to understand that everything from sales goes right back into the buying more. In other words, the more they sell, the more they are able to buy from these women. Their business is an epitome of the transparency we all look for before making a purchase from any fair-trade brand these days. Liz understands that it is quite important that the person who made our jewelry needs to be paid a fair & dignified wage for all their hard work that helps them feeds their family.
Everything is paid up front, so if there are any losses, they are absorbed by Tribal Designs, not the artisans. The prices of each item is discussed with the group so they are able to decide if it is “worth it” to them. The prices are set by the women themselves.
Present and Future Goals:
The goal at Tribal Design is to create a steady flow of income so these women wouldn’t have to sell or sleep on the streets ever again. 3 years into creating a new hope and tiny bud of kindness & endless smiles, she has not only helped these women regain their faith towards life but has given them a reason to get up everyday and keep going. It’s the smile behind these worked up hands that makes it all worth it!
At present, there are about 30 women working with TD, from ages 16 to 70. They have been actively selling their products online through their website and is continuously finding ways to promote more & more of their art through stores and boutiques.
WHAT MAKES TRIBAL DESIGNS SPECIAL?
Honestly speaking, i myself wrote to Liz, asking her if she would be interested to get interviewed and share her story on my blog through my voice. I found @tribaldesignsmx organically on Instagram and after reading their story on their website (which you guys should definitely take a look at), i was so so inspired! It is an honor to be able to share such an inspiring story and to be able to wear such beautiful jewelry handcrafted by these tribal women one bead at a time, all the way from Mexico!
There are a lot of reasons that make Tribal Designs special, but most of all, the jewelry makes it really special.
– Each and every piece on their website is utterly gorgeous and handcrafted. They have innumerable options & colors and each & every piece is one-of-a-kind really!
– Handmade, fair-trade, ethical and non-profitable! Need to say more? 🙃
– At Tribal Designs, they honor the culture and tradition passed down through the Huichol people for generations and generations–all the way back to Mexico’s first days. Through TD, the beaded jewelry being an old-age art form is not only being preserved but also celebrated at a larger scale.
-They have been empowering women from such a remote area in Mexico to build a life for themselves and their families. Not only that, but these women could become inspiration for their little girls, learning from their mamas that hard work pays off and that their mamas are worthy of dignity and respect–and that, by extension–so are they.
Meet Emilia Carbajal Pinedo. Emilia is 24 years old and has two children: Ezequiel who is 7 and Johan Alexis who is 4.
We asked if working with Tribal Designs has helped her, and she said:“Yes, it has helped me a lot, because just when I am out of ideas on where I can try to sell my jewelry, an order arrives from you all, and then I am able to create an income. And, for that reason, I am very thankful for the support you have gifted me.”
Emilia creates our much-loved hoop earrings, as well as some other designs you will see on the website!
Seen on me here is a colorful and bold statement neckpiece, could also be worn as a choker. The colors of the beads are so bright and beautiful. Since the pieces are one-of-a-kind, you might not get the same piece but there are other amazing designs on their website, here: Tribal Design Neckpieces.
Seen on me here is Bright and shiny teal blue beaded earrings and wide cuff bracelet. They both make a great set when you are not in a mood to wear anything heavy or if you want to ditch the neckpiece! Well i didn’t 😛 but thats just me.
I hope you guys enjoyed the post and it inspired you to make conscious decisions towards everything you purchase in future. It is quite important to understand that we as consumers play a very crucial role in life’s of such people. When you buy something made by a person, there is something special there! And you do feel it! The consciousness with which a thing is made is often more important than the thing itself!
I want to make things of quality. I’m a big believer in handmade, tactile, crafted pieces. I want to keep that tradition alive. Are you?
Here’s a link to check out their designs:
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Concept and styling: Tanvi Mutneja (@tanvi_msidhu)
Photography : Rajvir Sidhu