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It all started with a wish to preserve and promote the beautiful handmade textiles that are slowly losing against the world that's passing by very fast! It bothered us that the handmade crafts and craftsmanship were so under valued, especially in countries like India where, survival was more important. With the passion to do something about it, we picked up our bags and went on our craft tour of India. We met many artisans and their families and saw that most of them were connected with their art as a tradition passed down from their ancestors that they also wish to pass down to their children. With such history in making of a product, it was just not possible for us not to be part of it! And thus came ichcha, or 'a wish', to live and encourage everyone to live consciously; conscious of the environment and of the value and life of the products created and sought.
MEET THE SISTERS
Rachna, with a background in computer science, left her 11 year software job before setting on the Craft Journey. She is now 100% devoted to ichcha and 100% happy with her decision. She shares all ichcha responsibilities, including design ideas with her sister Ruchika, who is the main designer of ichcha. She loves to travel; you can read great travel advice from her on the blog. Ruchika, is the main designer of ichcha. She is a textile designer and has done her Masters in Block Printing, in London. She worked under the wings of Master Block Printers in India and loved it! She was inspired to create consciously with things found in nature (flowers, tree barks, spices) and accept all mistakes that come with hand printing and natural dyeing. You'll always find her saying "it's ok - imperfections are a lovely part of nature"! Monika, a tree hugger by nature and an environmentalist by profession, has been a constant advisor of ichcha. She makes sure ichcha sources the fabrics consciously and feed no harm to the environment in any part of the process. Her advice is strong and keeps everyone in line, always!
We work from our home studio in New York (most of the time) and then travel to India 1-2 times a year to work on our designs with the artisan families. While creating conscious products, we also want the art to stay alive not just for now, but for generations to come. And for that, we realized that the artisan themselves need to value the art that he is forgetting in the midst of surviving. So we created a collection called "ichcha for artisan". Under this collection, everything is created by the artisans - from design to production. And 100% Profits from this collection goes back to them! This effort is bringing a change, slowly but surely! You can read about our first success story on our blog and purchase these scarves here.
There is a quote that resonates deeply with us: 'If you educate a woman, you educate a whole generation or a whole nation.' This powerful message reflects our firm belief in the transformative power of education. In India, where many women are constrained by patriarchal norms, we recognize that education is the key to empowering them to stand up for themselves and create positive change. With the noble aim of supporting women's education, this year in 2023 we allocated a portion of our profits to an NGO, enabling us to collaborate and provide a full year's worth of university education to ten deserving women of a small village in India. Through this initiative, we strive to contribute to a brighter future, where educated women can lead, inspire, and uplift not only themselves but also future generations and the entire nation. Below is a photo of some of them receiving the funds.
We create textiles around stories that matter and Coral Reefs is one of the stories we wanted to tell. We designed The Coral Reef Scarf (now sold out) to bring awareness to the Reefs. You can read about the story here - Coral Reef Scarf. 1% of our profits was donated to the Reel Life Foundation.
During the pandemic, we dedicated ourselves to supporting our community by donating over 400 face masks. Utilizing our block printing fabrics, we created 2-layer, 3-layer, and filter masks. While my sister tirelessly stitched masks throughout the day, the rest of our family worked together to package them. We continued this endeavor until we reached our capacity, eventually seeking assistance to meet the growing demand. You can read about it more here.
Also, We created our first GoFundMe campaign during the Pandemic. Supported by our kind and generous network of friends, family, customers, and buyers, we successfully raised funds to assist the artisans in need. Understanding the financial challenges they faced during the pandemic, we took a proactive step by offering them at least two weeks of paid leave if they fell sick due to Covid, aiming to alleviate their financial burdens and encourage them to prioritize testing. Our first beneficiary, Jubeda, a widow whose husband tragically succumbed to Covid, received four month's pay. As per her cultural norms, she was bound to her home for four months. Additionally, two weaver families, who experienced the loss of a family member to Covid and were hospitalized themselves, were provided with one month's pay each, aiming to support them during their difficult times.
One of the first initiative we organized was a Medical Camp for the artisans and their families. The artisans greatly benefited from this initiative, finding it immensely helpful. In the photo below, we see one of the artisans alongside three of his five children, symbolizing the positive impact this medical camp had on the entire community.
OUR CRAFT PROCESS
Our designs are inspired from what attracts us in nature or around us. Our first collection was inspired by the architecture and the bare trees of London. It starts with a drawing on paper, then onto the software, to a hand carved block and then finally to the block printing process. You can read about our block printing process on our blog, here. All our products are consciously created. Craft Stories details all the different crafts we enjoy working with.
Check out what our customers have to say about us:
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