We had the chance to interview the inspiring Krista. She and her friends launched the Ayu Sewing Project in Indonesia. Giving young Indonesian mothers the opportunity to support their families by making handsewn Indonesian accessories, such as scarves made out of cotton, chiffon or batiks.
What is the meaning behind your brand?
Our logo is written in the traditional Javanese script for the word “Ayu” (Ah – U), a Javanese word that means “beautiful”.
This Javanese word fits who they are and what they are to their families each and every day. Ayu not only captures the essence of the artisan women who create beautiful handmade scarves but also their hard work and purpose – leaving something better for their children.
What is the story behind the company?
The Ayu Sewing Project was founded to help support young Indonesian families. Young mothers, who cannot work outside of the home because they stay home with their children, get the opportunity to earn an extra income for their families through this project.
The husbands only make about USD 100 per month which is very difficult to live on even in a third world country. So this helps support the families’ income, paying for necessities such as food, education, and medical bills.
This company began because Kalyn, my teammate, and I had many friends that were struggling to survive and feed their families every month. They always needed to borrow money.
We personally felt their need of extra income and decided to create a way for them to make more money, rather than to have to borrow it all the time.
Kalyn loves scarves and thought they’d be easy to sew. So, a seamstress in town taught our friends how to sew their first scarf and the project continued from there.
Now, we have ten ladies sewing for us.
Why do they make handsewn Indonesian accessories?
They all make artisan scarves because they are easy to make in their homes. They can be at home with their children and still earn money.
We also have taught a few of them how to sew using sewing machines. These ladies are now creating placemats, table runners, and napkins.
Soon we hope to be creating laptop, iPod, and tablet covers with the sewing machines.
Where do you find inspiration to create the collection?
Our inspiration came from our friends who were always struggling to make ends meet. We desperately wanted to help them, but not in a way that they would depend on someone else.
We wanted for them to be able to help themselves.
What is the best part of your job?
Spending time with the artisans – working, sharing, and laughing together. Also when one of the artisans tells me what she was able to buy with her income, her first washing machine, her kids’ school fees, her medical expenses.
Her’s a short video made by the seamstresses of the Ayu Sewing project explaining what the project has meant for them.
What is your dream? Where do you see your company in the next few years?
Right now, we only have ten artisans, but I’d love to be able to hire many more. I have already had numerous requests of women wanting to join the project. Unfortunately, first, we need to get a bigger market.
My dream is to have a steady market that would ensure constant business. Once this is done, we’ll be able to add more women whose lives can be changed through the Ayu Sewing Project.
I also want to add at least one new product per year. This year we added placemats and napkin sets, and hopefully, next year will able to add laptop and iPad covers.
Finally, I would also like to provide all the women in the group with a sewing machine, so eventually, they can create their own source of income without having to depend on the Ayu Sewing project.
We would love to see this business expand and grow!
Thanks Krista for this inspiring interview! We do hope we can create that growth and impact together.