Ahh India…magical, hectic, colorful and loud. It’s a land of contrasts, where every sense is overwhelmed, and you wish your brain would keep up with what you are experiencing. Nicole and I were lucky to get to travel to India in October to visit some of the artisans that produce Olive and Poppy products. Here are a few of our favorite moments.
Delhi was our first stop, where we got to see firsthand how our Barrel Bracelets are produced…each piece carefully cut and melded together with colorful Lucite segments. We stayed at the Leela Ambiance Hotel, which I would highly recommend, as they make your entry into the hectic world of Delhi serene and calm.
The majority of our trip was spent in Jaipur, which is world-renown for jewelry and textiles. Its beautiful cut gems and block printing skills make it a great place for us to produce our cotton totes and jewelry designs.
We stayed at a lovely little hotel called the Royal Heritage Haveli, which lived up to its name. The gracious owners made the rounds at dinner and told us stories about the property’s regal background as a hunting lodge for the king, as well as sharing their plans to attend a Diwali party at the royal palace with the queen-mum of India at the end of that week. If you go, make sure you experience the banana pancakes, the Ayurvedic spa for a 90-minute spice massage and petting the hotel basset hound.
Supporting other women-owned businesses is part of the fabric (quite literally) of who we are at Olive and Poppy, so a goal for this trip was dedicated to finding a group that educates and creates job opportunities for women. We were extremely lucky to connect with Vatsalya, which runs a school for rural kids, established and run by an incredible woman named Jaimala. Vatsalya is a Sanskrit word meaning 'unconditional motherly love.' Jaimala’s vision of running a school for children who wouldn't have a chance to be educated otherwise, due to poverty and family circumstances, morphed into creating a work skills program for many of the women in the village as well. Not only does this allow them to have a place to see their kids learn and grow in a safe and sustainable environment, but it allows them to learn a trade such as sewing and block printing. Look for products created in partnership with these incredible women early next year!
We like to say that we reached 'Intermediate India' status with our second trip this time…we are by no means experts, but we can navigate getting around and where to go. If you ever find yourself wanting tips on travel to Delhi or Jaipur, reach out and ask us!