We are so proud to bring you The Bali Artisan Collection, part of our Global Communities initiative where we source gorgeous, handmade items direct from local artisans and inject much-needed funds into the local economy of developing nations.
It feels so good to be the change we want to see in the world! To support our fellow humankind. To share the love and prosperity we are all fortunate to enjoy, and that others in the world have not received an equal share of.
We also get the opportunity to support good, kind, caring peaceful human beings and reward them for the positive contribution they make to the world. There are not enough people out there like them and we want to be a part of growing this side of humanity!
The Bali Artisan story
All of our handwoven clutches are sourced directly from a lovely man in central Bali called Mozzare who hand weaves his clutches at home on the floor, surrounded by his children because he spends his days (7 days a week!) in his store talking to people like me!
When negotiating a price with him, my driver Alessandro's words were ringing in my ears, "Corney, you're too nice. You running a business. When they give you price, you divide it in half and you go from there.".
So when negotiating with Mozzare I tried to be bold. I tried to make sure I was getting a fair price for him, and for all of us. We quickly arrived at an agreement and, not having card services (because they don't deep in Bali!) I caught a cab to the nearest ATM (25km away) and took out the cash.
When I got back to Mozarre's store I gave him the money we agreed, then I asked him if he had children. His face lit up, "Three. I have three children" he said. I could see the love in his eyes. And perhaps a slight bit of pain that he spends all his days in his store trying to make a living for his family when they are at home longing for his undivided time and attention.
I then handed him the difference between his original asking price and the price we had negotiated and said "This is for your children, Mozarre. Buy them something nice from you, or take them to do something they'll love, and tell them Papa works hard for them every single day and his friend from Australia thinks they should be so proud of him." The tears in his eyes said it all.
And this is why we do what we do, folks. I will carry that moment in my heart for the rest of my life. One day I will day happy with the knowledge of the type of person I was and the friends I made along the way. The way I touched them and helped them in any way I could.
And this is the same gift we give you with The Bali Artisan Collection. This is what you support and are a huge part of when you buy from The Bali Artisan Collection.
All of our genuine leather shoes are handmade in Bali from two different suppliers, Nico and Eddy. Nico handmakes every item himself whereas Eddy has a factory employing local Balinese artisans in Denpasar and produces a much higher volume than Nico. Nico's goods are often one offs and we took as much as we could because the craftmanship is exceptional!
The quality of Eddy's shoes surprised us as well! For handmade, they are extremely similar from pair to pair which is almost unheard of! Eddy's employees are incredibly good at what they do!
Me being me, I was happy buying from Nico! It's just Nico! He loves what he does and it shows. All of our money goes to supporting Nico and his family, and in turn their local community.
But Eddy runs a business of his own. I LOVED his shoes but I was over there to help the little guy, not a guy who's clearly doing OK. I said "Eddy, what are your employees’ conditions like? Do you pay them properly? Are they happy?" and he said "Yes, yes, Miss Courtney! All fair pay. They love making the shoes. We all happy".
So...straight from the horse's mouth. Next time I go to Bali I will be doing a tour of Eddy's modest factory to make sure for myself but given he hand delivered samples to my hotel and was always dressed modestly, travelled on foot or scooter and was the kindest man to deal with, I trust that we are supporting excellent artisan producers here as well.
All of our Balinese fine silver jewellery is sourced from a distributor called Wayan, who is a beautiful person. She worked in the jewellery industry for over a decade and started her own store 7 years ago. It's a modest store in the heart of Bali and she sources all of her gorgeous silver jewellery exclusively from 5 independent silversmiths who live and work in Denpasar. They rely on her, and on us, for their livelihoods and I travelled ALL over Bali trying to find beautiful fine silver jewellery and this was the absolute best quality we found! Wayan shines her silver every single day. She is that dedicated to her beautiful industry and to making her business a success for her silversmiths and we love that sort of passion and dedication. She's also just a beautiful, kind, softly spoken woman. I was making such a large purchase she called her brother in off the street to help her count it all and calculate it to make sure she was getting it right. As I left about an hour later, I was approximately 500m down the street and I hear "thank you, Courtney" and see a man bowing towards me from a discussion he was having on the streets with a group of Balinese men. It was Wayan's brother. Our purchase from Wayan's store doesn't just help Wayan. It helps her family, the families of the silversmiths she works with and the wider local communities they are all a part of.
This is the Bali way. And it's beautiful. Inspiring. And we are honoured to be a part of it.
This is what you support when you buy from The Bali Artisan Collection. Be the change you want to see in the world. Together we can make a difference!
Enjoy being a part of this incredible initiative and thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to exist and make some of the changes to the way we do business in Australia, and the way the fashion industry can have a positive impact on real lives, communities and economies! When we strengthen local economies we have a direct impact on poverty, disease, education, human rights and living standards. It's incredible what a small move like this can do for a community especially if we all get behind it and it continues to grow!
Lots of love
Courtney, Lily, Sally, Dani and Ebony xx