We are lucky to have such a flourishing and lively maker movement sweeping America. Many makers and artisans are getting the attention and business they deserve after decades of mass production and corporate commandeering. Unfortunately, makers around the world aren’t seeing as much of that deserved attention.
As I traveled through India in the late 2000s, I could easily see how the effects of the industrial age and large manufacturers were weighing heavily on local makers. I was, and always will be determined to never add to this growing problem. In 2010 I was lucky enough to meet Mahendra, a local tailor that was humble and eager to lead an honest life for his family. After 3 coincidental run ins with Mahendra, he was generous enough to take me to his home/workshop. What I saw next shocked me. Mahendra, his wife, and 3 children at that time were living in a single room mud home no larger than my own bedroom. From this room he used his sewing machine during the day, and moved it to the side during the evening to cook, spend time with his family, and rest. After seeing how passionate he was about tailoring quality garments and raising his family, I knew he was the person I’d been searching for.
We started designing, cutting, and sewing many of the beautiful saris I had amassed by that point. The rest is history.
Mahendra’s work is filled with integrity and he has always been eager to help in more ways than I could ask. Today, as a result of his hard work, he and his family live in a 3 story home, drive a car, and Mahendra now owns Rika Silk Creation – his proud fabrication business with 3 happy tailors working alongside him.
This is the change I want to help inspire. To help bring impoverished families the lifestyle they deserve.