We at Sotre believe in the power of woman and the beauty of hand-made.
In the design world, these two things often go hand-in-hand. Yes it is true you can buy accessories from a big box store but these kinds of things, while fairly attractive, are mass-produced and often create significant contributions to the toxic waste load that damages our rivers, seas and overall environment.
In this entry, we are featuring just four of our vendors that produce exquisite, labor intensive goods and accessories:
The Lilley Line:
Designed by my friend and fellow New Orleanian, Stephanie Lilley, these environmentally friendly, reusable bags support the craftsmanship the sustainability of El Salvadoran micro business and the earth. Every basket is hand-woven by El Salvadoran artisans in the mountains of Sonsonate.
Established in Tanzania in 2002, this Belgian company is inspired by far away places and wild nature. Their raw materials are selected with the greatest care: mineral wax comes from Germany, glass from Poland, leather from Italy and the scents are created and perfected in Grasse. The woven raffia candles are woven in Madagascar.
Baobab Collection has been using raffia as material for the summer collections of its scented candles for the past three years. This noble material is crocheted by hand by Malagasy women artisans who are part of a rural community located a few kilometers from Antananarivo, commonly called “Tana” and also known as the capital of Madagascar. Baobab Collection kicked off this project with 25 female workers. Today, they are 66. Their knowledge of this traditional craft allows them to feed their families.Most of these women receive training on the art of crochet from their mothers or grandmothers. All of their candles are hand-poured into glass that is hand-blown by master craftsmen, making each one completely unique.
This company has created employment opportunities for 3600 women and this impacts over 19,000 family members and 100,000 community members. A high -quality basket begins with locally sourced materials and resources that are accessible to weavers. With leaves that can grow several feet long, sisal is a perfect source of the long, strong fibers needed to weave a basket. Found high in the mountains or low in the swampy areas, the plant is scattered throughout the regions across Rwanda.
When you purchase a basket you are actually investing in a high-quality, handcrafted, naturally sourced work of art created by an experienced weaver. through a long tradition that has been passed through the hands of mothers to their daughters for centuries.
Valérie Schlumberger founded in 1995 the CSAO (Company of Senegal and West Africa) and thus opens its first Parisian boutique. CSAO distributes the best craftsmen and artists of West Africa by building lasting and equitable relationships with each one of them. Since 2012, Ondine, one of Valérie's daughters has joined the adventure and develops new products by revaluing noble ancestral traditions such as embroidery.
CSAO has two embroidery workshops which follow fair-trade principles where women work in good conditions, at their own pace, doing things they like. For some of them, this is a way to become financially independent from their husbands. For others, it is a way to reintegrate into society.
Embroidery is an ancestral tradition throughout West Africa, especially in Senegal. In the past, little girls learned to embroider to know how to embellish their future home and create their “trousseau”. By creating the embroidery workshops, the CSAO has brought new life to this noble tradition. The women embroiderers learn, after a long apprenticeship, with patience and meticulousness, to handle needles, threads and colors. Once this know-how is acquired, the principle of the unique piece gives a great place to their creativity and the pride of a job well done. Each finished cushion is paid for them the same day. Each cushion sold is therefore a unique piece in every sense of the word. We can see each woman's smile, their rigor and their creativity. This is what the CSAO has always supported
Liamolly is a family designed and made collection of modern jacquard knitted wraps woven in the Catskill mountains un Upstate NYC. They're made of buttery soft Italian spun 100% organic Egyptian cotton and are easy to take care of and because they are long staple cotton. Liamolly pieces often last a lifetime and won't pill. Each piece is designed, programmed and knit in their studio on our computerized knitting machine then hand stitched and pre-washed to bring out the incredible hand-feel. They can be worn year round and are a wonderful wool alternative.