Our Philosophy: Responsible Design
Lulan Artisans business model has evolved to embrace "sustainability" in a dynamic and profound sense of the word. Our years of in-depth work with Lulan's weaving partners in developing countries has led us to understand that true sustainability has four critical components-economic, cultural, environmental and social. As a progessive and innovative for-profit social venture, Lulan addresses all four of these aspects.
Beyond Micro-Lending - Economic Sustainability
Many effective non-profits wisely support investing in economic independence and infrastructure. But Lulan Artisans does more than provide start-up funds for weaving centers. We pay ample wages and open new markets to our artisans, and then we go further, discerning the specific needs of individual communities we work in and offer tailored benefits. We assist with daycare in one community and housing allowances in another. The goal is to create viable livelihoods for our weavers, so they, their families and communities have a thriving network of support.
"Non-imposing Market Standards" -- Cultural Sustainability
Lulan Artisans collections are woven by master weavers creating high-quality artisanal fabrics. Opening new, profitable markets to these weavers preserves a traditional cultural art and gives it modern application. Yet Lulan also models cultural sustainability by respecting regional nuance and not imposing market-driven standards on traditional craft. If beaded fringe is not part of the repertoire of local weavers, Lulan doesn't ask them to produce beaded fringe, even if it is the "in" design. We respect and maintain cultural relevance.
Big Feet, Small Footprint -- Environmental Sustainability
Our weavers are using time-and-labor intensive processes, the same skills their ancestors centuries ago used, to produce quantities their ancestors never dreamed of. It takes big feet to fill those shoes. This process is also a very environmentally responsible way to operate. We use all natural materials, such as silk, organic cotton, linen, as well as natural or low-impact dyes. We recycle everything possible, from rice husks to boil water for our dyes, to reusing dye baths whenever possible.
Trickle Down Threads - Social Sustainability
Weavers, spinners, dyers and finishers are paid fairly for their skill and talent and are respected for their work. By promoting pride and dignity in their work, Lulan encourages artistic expression and inspires them to grow and learn new skills. And by extending benefits into the community, we help build strengthened communities and families. When parents have viable employment, children benefit, and when children are getting healthcare and education, the community's future is brighter. It's all part of the same thread. The benefits we provide trickle down to improve the broader social fabric.