With less than a week before I board a flight for another meet the Maker trip, I find myself in a combined state of excitement and nervousness. I am of course excited because I can’t wait to meet our new makers in Cambodia and India. They are all inspiring artisans who have been given a second chance - by learning new skills they have a better chance than most to strive for some financial sustainability for themselves and their families.
Their silversmithing skills are outstanding and world class and the work I have seen so far is magnificent. My curiosity gets into top gear whenever I visit there and I find my head swirling with the hundreds of questions I wish to ask them.
But it’s always at this point before a trip that I start getting nervous. As a start up, I wear many hats, so my attention is split across many to do lists. As I have booked travel for wrong dates before, I have to triple check everything, many times. I want to make sure I don’t forget any equipment also. A single missing cable can present a huge missed opportunity - the difference between having a story on video or none. For me, telling the stories of my makers is as important as representing the beautiful products they create.
The more I travel the more practical I get with what I carry, travelling lighter and bringing the things that remind me of home like my ground coffee and plunger (I’m a real coffee lover!). I can never leave without some great inspirational reading for the plane though and still lug old school books with me (rather than digital). At the moment I'm enjoying People Over Profit by Dale Partridge. So far it's a great read because we share the same philosophy on running a social impact business and I feel like I'm in like-minded company as I read about his journey.
I do always anticipate bringing things home so I like to squeeze in some gifts from Australia for the flight over. Our beautiful country is known around the world for clean and green food, so edible goodies are always welcome. This time I am taking raw honey from one of the best places in the world, Western Australia. My dear friend Julie runs a business called Honey in the Garden and she has jumped out of her corporate suit and into the world of beekeeping with her husband Shane and friend Kim (find them on Facebook @honeyinthegarden). Their honey is like no other and I can’t wait to gift this sweet, luscious sticky nectar from the happiest bees on the planet.
When I started Finders and Makers, our purpose was to bring the makers closer to YOU. There is a special connection that develops when you can connect a face and a story that you know and identify with, to your favourite necklace, ring or bracelet. Knowing the piece’s origin story adds to its value, because you know how much has gone into making it. We want you to feel proud of what you’ve bought, to hope people will ask you about it so you can share what you know and to wear your pieces often with a sense of pride, because slow fashion is not just about how it looks, it’s also about how it makes you feel and how you made your buying choices matter.
So, stay tuned as I take you on my trip to meet the makers over the next few weeks.
Please share travel tips if you have them, especially anything to reduce cankles!
Until next time,
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Photo credits in order of appearance: Florian Hahn, Finders and Makers.