Would be happy to meet up if your in Florence, yes I should be in town while your here, although I leave just after to Milan for fashion week. Drop me an email and we can set something up. Looking forward to it.
HI Pamela, I am happy to add you as a friend. I had a quick look at your wesbite link, but haven't had the time to really review it, but it looks like something I might want to add to my resource list on by website www.ecofashiontalk.com.
Thanks for your interest in what Sawang Boran is doing!
Here's a summary of this is as a business.
It started just over 3 years ago as an experimental project - could fair trade prices + a policy of returning to natural dyes revitalise traditional silk weavers' sense of excellence and ownership, and could the latter in turn generate a sustainable flow of income?
Once the pilot phase had proven that the project was indeed viable I set about registering a company here, which took a long long time. Nobody seemed to understand that I wanted a company for non-monetary profit-making - in Thailand as in many other places, this is supposed to be 'charity', but the point is that charity cannot put traditional weaving sustainably on the market.
So as I fumble along I suppose I am trying to invent another sort of business model, where 'business' serves higher purposes.
Profits? Not yet! The profits are of another sort - the profit of regenerated local knowledge and local ecosystems, of reawakened cultural excellence, and they are indeed happening, which is what keeps me going.
I can't begin to think in terms of financial profits - with a policy of fair prices to producers AND to clients, I am hoping to be able to get Sawang Boran on a sustainable business track by end of this year, using an e-commerce website that is alas very slow in the making. For the time being, I sell informally to a growing network of fans chiefly in Europe - during trips to Europe and elsewhere, or via internet with the help of photos.
I am training an assistant in the village (I want the whole operation to be handled there to maximise the income to the village), who can eventually take care of much of the day-to-day management work and quality control among the weavers.
I'll be in Europe end May-early June. Any chance we might meet?
Let me know what else you'd like to find out (messages on this site have to be short). I'll respond as soon as I can!
Hi Pamela, I see you have an interest in traditional crafts - do check out my project website at www.weaving.sawangboran.com. In my humble efforts I am doing my best to 'change the world' by returning full creativity and dignity to the amazing traditional skills and resources of silk artisans out in north east Thailand.
Thanks for your email, we ll be showing 12th of march and 13th march and i have seen your web page , that is really good effort and i want to know more about it. I ll catchup with you for further discussion after the show.