On a trip back to his native India after years living in the United States, Manish Gupta was struck anew by the extreme material poverty of his homeland. With deep respect for the rich culture and potential of rural Indians, he began asking questions. After hundreds of conversations and even more glasses of tea, Manish realized that he had a role to play — that he could bridge these two seemingly disparate worlds.
He started partnering with grassroots organizations to transform unskilled women and men into master artisans. He personally ensured that the materials were safe for people and kind to the land. With the help of his mother and sister, Manish established a team in India to guarantee clear, efficient communications and high-quality production. He gathered a team in Austin, Texas, to design collections that entice Westerners while honoring the culture, craft and capacity of Indian artisans. And along the way, he married a beautiful, inspiring Indian designer, Ruchi, who quickly became his partner in life, love and business.
Nearly a decade later, the little company run out of Manish and Ruchi’s Austin apartment has grown into a leading fair trade wholesaler and innovator in ethical, sustainable business. Since then we have grown our network to empower 20,000 artisans in 40 partner communities throughout India. More than 1,500 retailers in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia sell their jewelry, gifts, journals, fashion and home accessories.
Their passion has enabled them to build a credible force in the fair trade market while making critical differences in the lives of partner artisans, their families and communities. And their experience brings the best of both worlds: the trust, reliability and professionalism plus exclusive, modern, boho-chic styles that appeal to ethical consumers. They reinvest 15% of their annual profits in artisan communities through development projects — such as medical clinics, schools and public health infrastructure — co-managed by our team in India and local artisan cooperatives. Some of their achievements to date include:
Established partnerships with over 900 artisans in 12 Indian states
First company to develop a fair trade Artisan Assessment Index, a sustainability measurement tool that quantifies social impacts
First Fair Trade wholesale company in U.S. to publish a comprehensive sustainability report in 2013