mela logoThe Company: 

Mela Artisans, Inc. is a luxury lifestyle brand that promotes and sells traditional Indian handicrafts on an e-commerce platform, as well as in stores around the United States. I was part of the four-person team that launched the company and the brand in 2010. The company’s headquarters are in Florida, USA.

The Project: 

To help launch Mela Artisans (formerly called MyMela) in India by building a handicraft producer base, managing logistics, and creating online content to promote artisan work on an international e-commerce platform.  

My Responsibilities:

As the company’s Country Manager, I travelled extensively to build a strong handicraft producer base. I established relationships with new artisan groups across India, also spearheading the company’s online micro-lending program inspired by the Kiva model. I managed the procurement of handicrafts and production channels, and also oversaw the early stages of exporting the finished products. I regularly wrote editorial posts and contributed travel photographs for the company’s blog and social media platforms. Over the course of two years, I produced 14 promotional videos on the lives and livelihoods of artisans now affiliated with the company. 

 

Leatherwork

A female artisan in Maharashtra is cutting leather that she will use to make handbags and shoes.

Gujarati embroidery

The state of Gujarat is known for its exquisite embroidery.

Children in Rajasthan

While the mothers sewed, children gathered to play together in this Rajasthani village.

Microfinance

Handicrafts is not always a sustainable livelihood. Here, I am discussing micro-lending with a villager.