Today I’m handing over the reins to Maisha Samiha, founder of new ethical accessories company, Nokshi Crafts, whose kickstarter just went live this morning. Thanks, Nokshi Crafts, for partnering with StyleWise and sponsoring this post.
Maisha was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh but grew up in Toronto, Canada. After visiting Bangladesh earlier this year, she was inspired to use her interest in fusing art and fashion to build sustainable infrastructure alongside the talented textile artists there, and Nokshi Crafts was born.
I was always fascinated by the art of hand painting and handmade goods. Growing up, my mom’s closet was filled with beautiful handmade garments with intricate patterns and designs and I knew from a very young age that I wanted to create a line of my own which would be unique, yet preserve the artisan traditions of Bangladesh. I completed my undergrad in 2013; around the same time the Rana Plaza disaster took place in Bangladesh, and that incident really struck a chord. All this time I used to go shopping and would get really excited to see a “made in Bangladesh” T-shirt or dress, but never did I think of those workers that were treated so poorly in the factories and many ultimately lost their lives. This is the dark reality of the retail manufacturing industry in Bangladesh.
I created Nokshi Crafts with a desire to provide opportunities for workers whose voices are unheard and give them a platform to showcase their talent on a global scale without subjecting them to inhumane working conditions.
The potential of hand-made production is often overlooked due to the focus on fast fashion where unfair wages, adverse working conditions, environmental pollution, excessive use of water and creation of waste is often the consequence.
I took a trip to Bangladesh early this year and met up with a few artisans and producers. I learnt that many of these artisans couldn’t live off of only making handmade goods as they did not have the proper connections to markets, and they had no choice but to be forced to relocate and work in factories under inhumane conditions. My exposure to contemporary production environments versus hand-made production environments was an eye-opener.
As a Bangladeshi born Canadian, my expedition to rural communities in Bangladesh has inspired me to provide the solution to a problem while achieving my dream.
At Nokshi Crafts, through your support, we could ensure the sustainable livelihoods of artisans in rural communities. Ethical production means our artisans are paid fair wages and are not subject to adverse working conditions. Matter of fact, many of our artisans are able to work from the comfort of their own homes, while being able to take care of their families. Through our mantra of social responsibility, we collaborate with these artisans to connect responsible consumers with ethically produced good on the world stage.
Nokshi Crafts is proud to be the first to bring ethically produced hand painted silk scarves in the market.
To ensure premium quality, we produce our own silk.
Our scarves are made from Rajshahi Silk, a pride of Bangladesh – known for its soft buttery feel and durability. Silk farmers harvest small batches of mulberry leaves, which are fed to domesticated silkworms. Feeding mulberry leaves to the silkworms produce the finest quality silk. Once the worms form cocoons, the strands are then reeled to create silk thread. The thread is then woven to create our fine quality silk scarves.
Our commitment to environmental responsibility is also reflected in our choice of production techniques. Use of natural materials and hand-made production techniques means we do not rely on heavy machinery that use coal or electricity as source of power. Our production techniques also use very little water and produce minimal waste. This means our production process has minimal carbon footprint. We also use natural dyes made from vegetables. This significantly reduces the use of chemicals that are harmful to the health of the artisans and contaminate the eco-system.
Initially, our collection will include two product lines. The first one is our hand-dyed batik silk scarf. Batik is the art of hand stamping intricate patterns on a garment using a wax resist. Our batik scarves are hand-dyed using eco-friendly vegetable dyes. As a start, we are offering our hand-dyed scarfs in a combination of five different colours and five designs that you can choose from.
The second line is the most exclusive and rare collection on the market. We are super excited to bring our hand-painted silk scarves. We’re very proud to produce the first collection of its kind. Each hand-painted silk scarf is painted by single artists from start to finish, providing a human touch that is exclusive and rare. Our talented artists are able to tell a story through this personal touch.
Each of these scarves is a unique piece of art, and wearing them, absolutely elevates fashion.
We have chosen to launch a Kickstarter Campaign to take pre-orders of our scarves and to raise funds for production. Creating sufficient order quantities will allow us to retain a team of skilled and talented artisans who can focus on their task instead of worrying about making ends meet. Through the backer’s commitment, we can ensure that these artisans have steady incomes, which will create incentives for them to be more involved and empowered. And of course, as our mantra goes, we hope to scale up and expand production to steadily create more opportunities to support more artisans.
With a successful campaign, we intend to deliver to our kickstarter backers, but also use kickstarter funds to carry inventory for future orders placed through our website – www.nokshicrafts.com. This will significantly reduce delays caused by weaving, dying, and painting and shipping our products. Our plan is to provide a seamless supply of products, to best meet demands at all times. Therefore, Kickstarter is instrumental to our success.
We are testing the market right now with our first scarf collection, but if our campaign is successful we plan to expand our product line and include more varieties of handspun organic cotton and silk scarves, and hand embroidered scarves.