Sustainably Chic

A Journey Through the Beauty & Art of India

LifestyleNatalie Kay

Mela Artisans

A NYC luxury lifestyle brand, Mela Artisans combines traditional handcrafting techniques with modern design to bring us some of the most beautiful & unique products straight from India and their talented artisans. By bringing their art to the Western market, what once were off-the-grid artisans now have a way to preserve their age-old traditions while creating economic opportunity & supporting sustainable livelihoods. As someone who appreciates handmade and the sustainability associated with the preservation of culture and traditions, it is so great to have a platform like Mela Artisans making this all possible. Not only is this a platform for selling the artisans' goods - 1% of the company is set aside for the well-being of the makers. The funds are used for basic needs, such as healthcare, vision exams & even solar lamps. 

Fun Fact: Mela (may.lah) is Hindi for Festival

Founder Navroze S. Mehta became familiar with India's unique array of handicrafts growing up beside his own father's collection. Through Mehta's travels {particularly in India}, he witnessed many beautiful skills which were passed down from generation to generation. Unfortunately, several of these artisans were not making a living because the local demand for their products were not there. Many master craftsmen could no longer keep working with their craft & moved on to work as unskilled workers in India's urban centers. After his daughter {the Co-Founder}, Sonali, sent him an article of more artisan groups leaving their work with the lack of local demand, he knew something needed to be done. He started working on partnerships with these groups to help bring the products to new markets. This was the beginning of Mela Artisans.  Sonali explains - even though we are oceans apart, we can respect & appreciate the crafts the artisans have to offer, and build a strong relationship between the hands who make it and the ones who enjoy it. Technology is so amazing in that way, and brands like Mela Artisans make us feel connected to the world. Sonali had spent many summers in India working with social enterprises, and now devotes her time to empowering underserved populations. I love how she puts it:

"Creating more opportunities for those who have been underserved by the current system actually benefits every level of society, globally and locally."

How beautiful is the Graymercy Tray? I've been wanting a tray for a long time -& I had several ideas for using one - like hostess with the mostest ;) - , so I thought I would show you a few {this is their size "small", by the way}. This tray is made from grey bone and resin - which contrast to make the awesome honeycomb pattern  - & completed with brass handles for easy carrying. The process in which the artisans create this piece is amazing, yet intricate and time consuming, taking a whole day to complete only two designs. Sambhal, the city where the tray is made, is the heart of India's horn and bone industry. They upcycle the waste, and turn them into decorative pieces. The villages in this city have been working at this art for generations, and the craftsmanship is just stunning. In the beginning, the horns were sourced from dead animals, and as time went on supply became limited and they turned to upcycling bone, as well - {*all bones are a byproduct of the meat industry}. You can find this same pattern in larger trays, boxes and frames. Perfect Holiday gift, right?? I have some more gift ideas for you below - a few favorites of mine! 

The Imperial Beauty Collection

The Monroe Collection

& YES, they have jewelry

Interested in learning more about their artisans? You can read all about the triumphs and struggles, as well as ways you can volunteer to help support their mission on their blog. There is a great article on why they invest in their artisans' healthcare.

Make sure to keep up-to-date with all the gorgeous collections & products on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter & Instagram

** Guess what?! Mela Artisans is giving away a $100 Gift Certificate to one lucky winner who signs up for their Newsletter by Sunday at midnight EST. You can enter at the bottom of their website. Plus, you get a 15% off coupon!!! YAH! **