I personally have a lot of admiration and respect for the new wave of entrepreneurs who don’t just think business but are on a more purposeful social entrepreneurial mission. A mission steered by the thought to give back to the community. One such lifestyle brand, ideated by father-daughter duo - Navroze S. Mehta and Sonali Mehta Rao, is Mela Artisans! Based out of NYC, not only did this brand resonate with me on a design level but also because at its core, they are continually striving to bring about a positive change for the Indian artisans who are struggling to keep our heritage crafts alive.
In 2015, Mela succeeded in creating 7,000 jobs for these artisans! Mela believes in going beyond “just supporting their livelihoods.” They have been ploughing back 1% of their sales into projects that help their artisans. They’ve partnered with Vision Spring, Sevamob, and Greenlight Planet (three innovative social enterprises in India), to bring vision exams, healthcare and solar lamps respectively to empower the artisan communities.
By assisting artisan communities’ access new markets, Mela Artisan is truly a catalyst in preserving and reviving the heritage crafts of India. Unlike a lot of other sites that pull together artisan/handmade products from India, Mela has an in-house design team that curates and designs each collection. Navroze (co-founder) travels to India several times each year to meet with the artisans in person. Once they finalize on the artisan sector they wish to work with, the design team taps into the skillsets of the artisans and then takes on the task to create products for a global audience with a contemporary design palate. The response to Mela’s products has been phenomenal! Their products have been featured on PopSugar, Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, and at more than 300 boutiques across US!
In the home décor segment, their product range includes photo frames, boxes, trays, bowls, tabletop vases, candle holders, throw pillows and desk accessories, with each product page narrating the story of the community responsible for creating it. The design process adopted by Mela has effortlessly included bone inlay and wood carving into their amazing collections that is the perfect balance of the best of the traditional Indian craft forms with the functionality of contemporary design.
My absolute favorite amongst the collections being the Gramercy and the Imperial Beauty. Also, their latest experiment to modernize traditional Indian Ikat has resulted in the Buna collection. Strung together by handloom artisans of South India, the Buna collection is made of woven banana fibers and sea grass, using an Ikat warp.
And for the fashionistas, they have an amazing collection of necklaces, earrings, bracelets, earrings and scarves.
The wonderful people at Mela wanted me to sample a piece of their stunning jewelry collection. Given that it was the holiday party season, I chose to review the Hidden Cay Multi-Color Necklace. I fell in love with its chic and elegant design!14kt Gold Plated, this brass necklace is delicate with alternating rectangle Aqua Chalcedony, Blue lapis and Green onyx. It has a beautiful finish, great detailing (like even the clasp has a mini-elephant dangler), really light-weight and very sturdy. The versatile design can be styled either with a formal evening dress or with jeans for a casual lunchdate with girlfriends! Overall a totally charming necklace and very well made!
|SPOILT FOR CHOICE - BOLD STATEMENT PIECES TO CHIC AND ELEGANT|
|A CLOSE UP OF THE HIDDEN CAY NECKPIECE.......AND THE NEXT IMAGE IS OF ME SPORTING THE CASUAL-CHIC LOOK WITH MY VERY OWN HIDDEN CAY NECKLACE|
I wish Mela Artisans all the very best in their endeavor to support such a wonderful cause!
As for you my lovely peeps, have a wonderful week ahead!
(Image Courtesy: Mela Artisans but for the last image - Sruthi Singh)