We are so grateful for your generous support. This year was a turning point. We streamlined our operations, opened our first retail store (come visit us in Vermont, if you haven’t), doubled our impact in the artisan communities, and collaborated with some visionary brands.
Here are the highlights from 2016:
We developed projects with Nest, an innovative non-profit aligning brands with artisan groups around the world, to deepen our commitment to artisan manufacturing.
We completed another loan through the microlending platform Kiva for our artisans in South India who use natural fibers to create beautiful collections, like our eye-catching handwoven Buna tabletop mats and runners.
And we’re on the path to becoming Craftmark certified, a verification of our efforts to support marginalized artisan communities. Craftmark was established in 2006 to ensure customers that they’re buying authentic artisan products from this 23 million strong (but often overlooked) sector in India.
We opened our first brick-and-mortar store. It’s in the charming town of Manchester. If you find yourself hankering for a weekend getaway from the city, consider a train ride up to Vermont.
Our commitment from the beginning has been to the well-being of our artisans. That’s why we continued our eye camp and health care program, offering free check ups to hundreds of artisans.
Lastly, we are working on ways to make Mela Artisans even more accessible to our customers. We continue to open up nationwide retail accounts to bring the artisan work to more homes in the U.S. We will be revealing these throughout the year as we grow.
This journey began five years ago, after countless visits to villages across India and encounters with men and women who performed incredible artistry every day -- albeit, it went unnoticed. We’re heartened that you, our supporter and consumer, have welcomed these stories into your home and wardrobes, and are willing to reimagine the shopping experience altogether.
We’re excited about what 2017 holds. We’ll be sure to keep you apprised along the way.
Founder and CEO