Meet the founder - Ratri Maria August 11, 2015 09:58 1 Comment

Tell us Ratri, how would you describe your personal style?

Effortless with a side of bold!

What does fashion mean to you?

To me, fashion is about confidence. I see it best described as elegance with a bit of daring, staying true to yourself and expressing who you are to the rest of the world. When you walk into a room with confidence, being empowered with the way you look and feel all the while honoring your own personal beauty, then you are treading into the world of fashion. I believe taking control over how you intend to show up in this world is the core to fashion.

What is it like starting a business rooted in sustainability as opposed to something more conventional?

Personally, I didn’t intend to be in the fashion business, but instead wanted to use our business as a vehicle for change and empowerment across many sectors. As fashion is very important to so many people globally, I saw it as the perfect channel through which we could make a difference in the sphere of sustainable development. Establishing long-term projects that support sustainability, such as The Nomadic Trails, is vital to ensuring the continuous growth of developing local communities. This approach that we have keeps us in close contact with our artisans, which I believe is a very beneficial way of working both for us and for them. Working so closely allows us to create a story, an eye into the crafts of these artisanal communities.

It feels very natural to start a business with this in mind, with the opportunity to benefit so many people substantially all the while offering our customers something really unique and with purpose.

How did you begin to develop this more sustainable approach?

When I first started, such a mission sounded quite idealistic and the whole enterprise felt like searching for a needle in a haystack. At the time, we were limited to only one product and one artisan located in a remote area of Indonesia. Just to give you an idea, the country has more than 17,000 islands and our first artisan resided in its eastern part, an easy 10 hours of flight to get to! Though it was an ordeal to start out with this distance and location, I believed that there was a much deeper story behind the products and artisans who made the artifacts than if I had chosen to work with a more accessible, factory-like establishment.

How do you believe this approach is beneficial to your artisans and their, as well as your own, local communities?

The Nomadic Trails focuses on a bottom-up approach that provides opportunities for individuals to expand their reach through to an international market. This step that brings them from local to international recognition empowers these people and communities in the developing world, both financially and socially.

Our socially motivated platform does this by building a bridge between artisans in the emerging economies and larger mindful fashion and lifestyle audiences having started with Singapore. Through our fair trade fashion and lifestyle products we help artisans to build and invest in their own local communities.

It’s all about connecting, person-to-person, community-to-community, nation-to-nation, heart to heart.

We want to continue our quest of full-circle empowerment, whether that is expressed through new creations, new experiences, or many other things! We have always been big dreamers and are always excited to delivering the style you have come to trust and a story you can truly join.

What is something unexpected that you have learned from your time spent working alongside artisans in Indonesia and India?

It has been absolutely incredible. Working with our artisan partners, both in Indonesia and India, I find that I am in a constant learning process. We are humbled with all the support given to us by our artisan partners who practice a beautiful traditional craft. The way they are determined to grow their businesses, all while working from within their local community, is something that never ceases to amaze me!

 Our artisan partners are incredibly giving of their time and knowledge.

This allows us to gain a better understanding of the stories behind each and every one of their items, as well as getting to know their production process. To us, this is what completes the story we seek to tell.

When local artisans and designers create high quality, purposeful items, I can’t help but be continuously impressed. I realized that I wanted to share these pieces with people around the world that valued handcrafted items that have such undeniable authenticity, as much as I do. 

 

Tell us a little more about your favorite, or go-to items, in The Nomadic Trails collection?

I absolutely love the green canary clutch, the blue stone earrings, and ready-to-wear dress!  It’s so hard to pick just a few…

What's something most people don't know about you?

I’m a flea-market devotee!  My perfect weekend usually includes some combination of treasure hunting, carouselling or going to a garage sale to find new goodies for our eclectic, museum-like home!