The man responsible for the majority of our high quality textile products lives with his wife, their two sons, and their extended families. Nearly this whole family has had a hand in making Dekko products, from hand stitching the details to machine sewing the seams. This is one example of Dekko helping to employ an entire family in order to provide an opportunity to improve their quality of life.
We particularly love to work with fabrics that have been printed by hand. For several years our block printed fabric artisans have been a group of men who live and work near the outskirts of town. Amit, shown here in the center, runs the shop and employs many men from the community. They have a fabric shop where they make and sell their own products, and down the alley from their shop is a long room where they roll out great lengths of fabric on a table and print them by hand using carved stamps. Each fabric represents layers upon layers of this laborious, hand-printed process, meaning there are unique variations in every inch of fabric that we use.
Dekko seeks to work with individuals who possess a wide level of skills, including ladies who have never worked outside their home or had the opportunity to gain employable training. These ladies meet us at our workspace and help us with all our product packaging. The Dekko India team has spent many happy hours enjoying conversations with these ladies as we work together to package up all the beautiful products we ship to the States, adding those last touches to make them stand out on the shelf. The money they earn is nearly double the local hourly rate, but that’s not the only benefit they receive. Our local team also helps them learn business skills such as accounting, calculating and other abilities that we hope helps make them more employable.
The 2018 Christmas ornaments were hand stitched by a mother and daughter team. We provided the pattern and materials, and over a few months’ time these ladies created completely unique birds and stars that possess a life of their own. Not only did our artisans hand stitch each ornament, but the daughter was also responsible for quality assurance and accounting for their small family business. We hope to leave the artisans we work with not only in better shape financially, but holistically as individuals who can better provide for their families in the long run.
We have developed a strong relationship with a local pillar of the community, a hardworking man who owns one of the high quality silver jewelry shops in the local market. Like many men in India, he employs primarily family members in his business, and our work provides him the opportunity to provide work to more and more men who otherwise wouldn’t have such a rewarding job prospect. We can rely on him and his employees to take our designs and create durable, beautiful jewelry that have just the right combination of an American look with an Indian influence.
Another product we love at Dekko are the rugs made from upcycled saris – so much in fact that we use them as a raw material for several other products. These rugs are handmade in a village several hours from our workspace using traditional and very labor intensive methods. The saris are braided together then stretched and woven over a large loom. This process results in bright, unique rugs that vary from earth to jewel tones to metallic gold and copper.