Handcrafted home decor that celebrates heritage and drives social impact
Mela Artisans celebrates the traditional crafts and empowers artisan communities through a collaborative design process that blends traditional techniques with a modern sensibility resulting in collections that bring joy and a festive atmosphere to your home.
Message from our Founder
As a young boy, I recall my father’s love of art and his collection of beautiful handicrafts and antiques from all over India. Over the years and through my travels around the world, it become my passion to seek out indigenous artisans and support them by buying their exquisite works of art.
This was especially true during my many visits to the different regions of India. I am constantly amazed and surprised by the unique beauty and intricate details of the items that these artisans create. In many cases their skills have been passed down over generations.
It is therefore especially tragic to see that several of these artisans can no longer earn a living wage because of lack of local demand for their work. Every month, one hears of master craftsmen forced into giving up their craft in exchange for a life of abject poverty as unskilled workers in India’s large urban centers. Many dedicated organizations have recognized this problem and are making commendable efforts to help.
My daughter Sonali sent me an article years ago that served as my call to action. She had spent several summers in India working with social enterprises. The article highlighted yet another artisan group abandoning their work because of the difficulty of marketing its products. Over the next few weeks we thought through our business model and begin to explore partnership opportunities. And thus Mela Artisans was born. With the help of some good friends, we were able to raise enough funds for the project.
As we continue our incredible journey. I invite you to join in whatever capacity you can. Choose to purchase our hand products and learn more about our artisan partners through our blog and social media.
And always feel free to email me at email@example.com with your feedback, comments and ideas.
Navroze S. Mehta
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Having the good fortune to be born to a privileged lifestyle in the US. My initial encounter with poverty occurred on my first trip to India when I was in the midst of really awkward middle school years. It occurred to me that the only thing separating me from the ragged children that I saw sleeping on the street was the fact that I happened to be born in a different place, under different circumstances.
Over the years, that realization has translated into a sense of responsibility. Since I have been fortunate enough to benefit from a system that has exuded so many others, there is nothing more productive or fulfilling for me than to promote system changing innovations, which will lead to a more equitable and sustainable world.
Mela Artisans is the first step for me in a career that I plan to devote to empowering the world's underserved populations. To me this is not about simply feeling bad, handing over a bag of rice and getting back on a plane home. It is about dedicating all resources available to us, whether it is brainpower or investment dollars, towards making positive social and environmental change.
"Creating more opportunities for those who have been underserved by the current system actually benefits every level of society, globally and locally.”
- SONALI MEHTA RAO, CO-FOUNDER
My personal goal is to use every opportunity available to me to create opportunities for others who may not have been born into privilege but are no less worthy of the chance to succeed, to prosper and to become the next global leaders.
Mela Artisans also reflees my recognition that the challenge of poverty is multifaceted and calls for interdisciplinary solutions. It also calls for a deep understanding of and respect for those with whom we work.
My hope is that our online community will foster that important relationship of mutual understanding and respect between customer and producer, even though they are oceans apart.
Sonali Mehta Rao
Co-Founder Mela Artisans
Our mission is to preserve heritage culture and art around the globe while providing sustainable opportunities to the artisans through long-term business relationships, access to small-scale financing, and partnerships with non-profit groups on the ground that foster community.
Social responsibility is the core value of our business, and our goal is to provide full-time work to more than 1,000 new artisans every year. Today, Mela Artisans partners with more than 3500 artisans across India, and our vision is to expand our impact as we grow.
We forge personal relationships with our artisans to understand their most significant pain points and introduce ideas and partnerships to promote health, education, and social development.