Together we are making a difference.
With thanks to you, our valued customers, 2016 has been a good year for many of our artisan groups who have benefited from increased work and opportunities to develop and broaden their skills.
Our commitment to social, economic, and environmental responsibilities goes beyond fair wages and safe working conditions. We are committed to building long-term, holistic partnerships with our artisan producer groups and women’s cooperatives. These relationships, in turn, empower these people to sustainably grow and develop their businesses and communities.
One community we work closely with produces our gorgeous hand-loomed organic cotton towels and table cloths. These products are beautifully made by a group of women weavers living in the villages outside Madurai in Southern India. They are part of the Dalit community - otherwise known as scheduled caste or untouchables who were mostly illiterate and unskilled, living a life of social backwardness, poverty and misery. These women are employed by a wonderful small cooperative founded specifically to help empower women and alleviate poverty.
Cloth & Co. has partnered with this organisation for almost 4 years helping to provide continuous employment and skills development for 37 women. These women participate in training programs across all aspects of weaving from pre-looming to finishing and quality control, enabling them to increase their income potential and ensuring self reliance and social respect. Beyond the skills development the organisation also provides childcare and full health care facilities for the women and their children.
DID YOU KNOW...... The artisan sector is renowned for being unregulated, so often the artisans are not guaranteed pay until the merchant sells their products, leaving them vulnerable to exploitation. One of Cloth & Co’s fair trade practices requires paying our producers for 50% of our order upfront, with the balance paid when the products are ready to be shipped. This practice ensures that not only can our artisans afford the materials to produce the products, they will be paid a fair price no matter the sales outcome.
There is so much love, attention and care that goes into these beautiful products, for example; each bath towel takes a day to weave and three hours to tie the tassels, not to mention the growing of the cotton, picking the cotton, spinning the yarn, setting up the loom (which takes two days), stitching and finishing.