Some of our suppliers
As you can imagine, with so many items coming from so many sources, it is impossible for us to list all of the people involved in making the products you see in our showroom. Here are just a few pictures of some of them, giving you a glimpse of the working conditions in various craft industries in India today.
The pictures above show artisans in Kashmir using age-old techniques to produce stunning furniture, bowls, boxes and more from Walnut. All of these items are truly hand-made from start to finish and no power tools are used in their production at any stage.
The ladies above are extended members of the Ahangar family, based in and around Srinagar in Kashmir. Here you see them hand-spinning wool for use in pashminas, scarves and shawls which are still prized all over the world for their quality. As with most home production, the machinery in the picture is home-made, and it is skills like this that we aim to keep alive.
These lovely young ladies are sisters Shilpa and Preeti. Still unusual in India, Shilpa is the proprietor of their small family business sourcing and supplying textiles. Her younger sister Preeti is helping her with the burdens of working long hours with a young baby to look after. Between them they have built their business up only to see almost everything go up in flames when their shop burned down 2 years ago. Everyone rallied around to get them back on their feet as soon as possible and we are pleased to say they are going from strength to strength.
Alok is our "man in Delhi" who handles most of our shipping and also sources much of our jewellery, some made in his own workshops. His many years experience in the handicrafts and jewellery business have been invaluable to us over the years!
This is Sridhar (Sri to his friends) one of the artists supported by peepultree. Together with his brother Raghu, Sri has to balance running their gallery in Goa with the demands of a baby boy who has had medical problems since birth. If he ever gets a spare moment, he paints abstracts and landscapes with a bold technique.
Dawaram is a son of Tibetan refugees. He has four adult children and is now approaching retirement age, a man of many talents and skills, and with many stories to tell. In his younger days he served in the Indian Army, was a champion boxer and weightlifter, and he loves his cricket, too. In the summer months, Dawaram and his wife are based in Delhi, and they spend their winter months in South India, to escape the cold, damp Delhi smog.
He now sells an exclusive range of cast metal statues and statuettes of the finest quality. Cast in brass, copper or bronze, these Hindu gods and Buddhas are of the finest quality and are made by Dawaram's brother, Pemba.
New suppliers for 2013
Wajidsons Exports are a well-established small company based in Moradabad (known as "metal city" in India) which is around 3 hours drive to the east of New Delhi. Started in 1977, Wajidsons have grown from humble beginnings into an exporter of aluminium and brasswares across the globe, and their unrivalled attention to the design aesthetic and quality control made them a top-pick for us at peepultree, and this was before we found out about the Public Schools and other charities supported by the company.
Vaibhav International are a very successful manufacturer and exporter of designer home furnishings and jewellery. We are already very happy with our jewellery suppliers but were blown away by the quality of Vaibhav's floor cushions when we saw them at the Home Expo, and so we have a selection of them being made for us right now. As they say themselves, "We use the most luxurious fabrics and embroideries from all over the world to create classic and glamorous styles to suit anyone and everyone's abode." We are sure that this will be a business relationship to last!
Based in the heart of Delhi's main bazaar, Best India Expo is the storefront for many small leather-goods artisans working in the Delhi city limits. Much of this work is done at home and Mel has ensured that no children are involved by speaking to several artisans and questioning them about their wages and lives - all the children of these artisans attend school full-time. This year we have ordered a selection of embossed leather money-boxes, coin purses and kids' keyrings to be made for us, and we are considering expanding this side of the business in the future if we have a positive response.
The final new supplier being highlighted here is Tejasvi Exports, also based in one of the bazaar areas of New Delhi. We were a little disappointed last year with the consistency of quality on some items from a previous supplier and so this year we have placed an order for cushion covers, table runners, bed sets and throws with Tejasvi because the quality of the items in their "godown" (warehouse/showroom) was fantastic. We have also managed to ensure that the bedsets really will fit UK sizes, and the table runners will properly fit standard table lengths.