Well we hit the mark! HOWEVER, we'd like to drum up some business for the families we source the ethically made paper mache pieces from.
If we hit $35,000, we'll give everyone that bought a shawl A FREE MEDIUM SIZED PAPER MACHE BOX! They are all unique, so the design will change, but rest assured, they are all hand painted and gorgeous!
**NOW SHIPPING FROM CANADA AND UK! CHOOSE "SHIP TO CANADA" IF YOU'RE IN THE UK FOR FREE SHIPPING!**
We have been lucky enough to have some really great press pieces written about us!
The Good Wardrobe (thank you Zoe!):
The Frisky (Thank you Claire!):
Accessories Magazine (Thank you Jeff!):
mmminimal (Thank you Dennis!):
Lucky Magazine (Thank you Dalton!):
WearHouse District (Thank you AGAIN Dalton!):
We sell ethically produced, handmade, pure Pashmina (think cashmere wool) shawls and scarves produced by artisan families in Kashmir, Northern India. We pride ourselves on our socially responsible and sustainable business model, which gives back to those families and communities we work so closely with.
The shawls and scarves are amazing. I don't say that conceitedly, I say that humbly, as those that produce them are masters of their trade. Not only are our shawls buttery soft and intricately woven; these pieces of art are handcrafted by men and women surrounded by mountains in the Valley of Kashmir; the birthplace of Pashmina.
All Shawl Wallah shawls are sized 80cm X 200cm. These are typically called "stoles", but can also be called "shawls"
For our Imperial friends, the measurements are approx. 31" X 78". Wrap up in some ridiculously soft material!
Shawl Wallah was born of Greg Doudican's work in India with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR), his personal travel, and subsequent need to advocate for Kashmiris. Since returning to Canada after his first trip to Kashmir in 2011, Greg spent time perfecting the relationships and production processes needed to bring these artisanal pieces to the global market. In late 2013, Greg took the plunge and created Shawl Wallah.
Shawl Wallah is now at a turning point. Kickstarter was the logical choice to help push the brand into a competitive stance. Along with typical small business challenges, Shawl Wallah adds another layer of complexity with its sustainable business model.
Today, Shawl Wallah is looking for your support to:
1. Build Sufficient Order Quantities. Help us build order quantities large enough to ensure our artisan families have steady and worthwhile work and income. Conversely, with larger order quantities and a more secure outlook for the future, price can be lowered to help bring the Pashminas into an affordable range.
2. Branding and Marketing. The fashion industry is a ridiculously competitive market. A large amount of work that has been put into Shawl Wallah already is the branding strategy. With a clear business model, and a professionally produced logo and website; we are sticklers for branding, and feel this coupled with marketing are priorities for growth.
These two key goals for the Kickstarter funds help us grow the business and put it in a better position to exact positive change. Because the reason we do all this? Kids. It's always was, always has been, and always will be all for the kids.
What is Pashmina?
Often misused throughout the world, Pashmina is actually a breed of goat. Pashmina, or "Changthangi" goats are a specific breed originating from the Himalayan Mountains surrounding Kashmir, Ladakh, and Nepal. These particular goats live in high elevation climates (read: really friggin cold). As such, they grow an undercoat of extremely fine hair under their chinny chin chin, and along the bottom of their neck and under-belly. This undercoat keeps them warm in the winter months, and is shed in the spring months. Pashmina goat shepherds collect this hair as it is shed, or use a special comb to remove it when the weather is warm enough. This is how Pashmina goat hair is collected. Each goat will produce between 3-6 ounces (85-170 grams) of this wool per year. As you can imagine, many goats are needed to make one authentic pure Pashmina shawl. Not only the scarcity of the wool but the production process itself makes these items expensive and time consuming to produce.
Another term used liberally (and mostly incorrectly) around the fashion world is cashmere, as in "cashmere wool". Cashmere is another way of spelling Kashmir. So technically, cashmere wool would be any sort of wool product coming from the Kashmir region. However, what makes cashmere such a popular term, is when it is associated with the very fine, very soft Pashmina wool. So, we see terms like "fine cashmere", "cashmere", and "pure cashmere". These terms can all mean very different things.
At Shawl Wallah, we like to keep things simple. As such, we carry two different qualities of product. Both are hand spun and hand woven into beautiful shawls and scarves (using the same environmentally friendly and fair trade techniques); but the differences come from the type of wool used. We call our top-of-the-line pieces "Pashmina" because that's what they are made of; pure Pashmina wool. These are identifiable by their buttery-soft texture. Conversely, our basic line of pieces we call "Cashmere", because thats what they are; pure wool products from Kashmir. However, they are still made from the wool of the Pashmina goat, but a thicker and therefore less soft wool. These are not as silky as their Pashmina counterparts, but are still surprisingly light and soft.
The shawls themselves are priced according to fair trade practices and real costs. The rarity of the wool, and the difficulty in working with such a fine thread means these shawls can take up to 2 weeks to produce! So, when looking our items with an average price of $150, it becomes clear as to why these literal works of art are priced as such.
Save the Children Focus
"Proceeds" is a very fluid term. To keep it simple, we commit 20% of the sale price to be sent back to Save the Children. These funds help bring child development and protection projects to the Kashmir region.
<NOTE on Save the Children>
Now, as this is a Kickstarter campaign, we cannot donate any of the funds raised here to Save the Children. However, with the bump that this campaign can provide to our brand, this means potential growth of our business, and subsequent jump in future donations on all items sold.
Well, that's our story. If you've made it this far, thanks for taking the time to read about our story, and the product. And thanks for your support!
Risks and challenges
We have given ourselves a 5 month window from end of campaign, to delivery date (February 2015). This gives us a buffer when looking at large order quantities, and the fact that these items are hand-made. We feel this deliverable time is reasonable, and maybe 1-2 months on the conservative side.
Our ongoing work with the families means the necessary tools are in place to be able to deliver on our orders.
A Volatile Region
While Kashmir should be known for its stunning vistas and eco tourism, unfortunately it is better known for its conflict and decades of instability. However, over the last 5-8 years, the region has become relatively more stable, ensuring more open lines of communication, better conditions for the artisans to work in, and improved methods of goods transportation and delivery to us.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)