Many of you might have seen or heard that I spend some of my time on the beautiful island of Bali, and you might wonder why?
I’m going to try to share my story about why Bali is a place close to my heart.
As a small business owner I tend to put business first and have a hard time to take some time off just to relax. My big problem is that I got my big hobby/passion as my job and my business – Yay!
That can sometimes be hard to separate, what is work and what is my spare time since I really love every aspect of my work/job =)
It took many years until I dared to take some time off, like several weeks in a row. My dream was that I wanted to go somewhere exotic, experience a different culture and I also wanted to see white sand, palm tress and to see the blue ocean. Not so high expectations, right… =)
I then figured out that some of the products I was buying from wholesale companies in Europe were actually made in Bali, and I realized that I wanted to be able to buy these products directly from the artisans that make them and be able to get to know the story behind all the goods that we sell, and the people behind.
It’s also very important to me that there are no kids working on the goods that we sell because I believe deep down in my heart that all kids really deserve to go to school, get a chance in life and to be just kids. School is a really big part of someone changing their future.
My husband and lovely co-worker had been to Bali once before and told me that he thought that many of the things that we offer could be found in Bali.
So being the Google maniac that I am, I sat by the computer for one night and started to search for information and he was right, almost all of the goods we sell come originally from Bali. So tickets were booked, I had my addresses and names of different villages where they make different kinds of stuff, and so we went off on our Big adventure.
The plan for our trip was that we would be very happy if we could find 4 different handicraft families that we could buy directly from.
From the moment we landed I was like in another world, but at the same time I felt like I was at home. How strange it is that you can travel for 24 hours to the other side of the planet and feel completely relaxed and at home.
As soon as our taxi started to take us thru the island to the creative town of Ubud my jaw was almost down to the ground!
All the culture, houses, statues, colors, plants, temples, smells etc. I didn’t really know where to start to look, and how to take in all the impressions I got =)
The first days were overwhelming I might add, just walking around, tasting all the new food, checking what’s available in the stores, basically just trying to get a good vibe of it all.
After a few days we ended up at the Gili Islands and yes, the clear blue water really exists!
After a few days of relaxing, snorkeling an eating =) we ended up back in Bali where we went to a homestay up in the mountains. There we had a really good driver that helped driving us around the island and to all the small villages to see what is available.
Would we find the goods that we were looking for?
Oh yes! No problem at all =)
After a few days of driving around in a car, walking around in small villages up and down, meeting happy faces, seeing the kind Balinese working and (seeming to) enjoying themselves in their everyday chores, we got invited into the their homes and they really wanted to share how they live with us. The children were waving and wanted us to speak English with them and all of them were smiling and shouting – Hello! =) I’ve never felt so relaxed in a place before. It’s really a big difference when people look at you with interest in who you are, instead of with judgment in their eyes.
So when we came back from this trip we had a dream in our minds to open up a store in Stockholm, which we did. We were lucky and found a nice place in the Old Town in Stockholm.
After that first trip we went back to Bali a few times and bought jewelry, interior design things etc. from the handicraft families we had found.
After three years we realized that having a shop in the Old town of Stockholm was not our passion anymore, instead we decided to concentrate our whole business to the webshop we’ve been having for some time.
We still work with some of our Balinese craftsmen and all that stuff is available in our webshop.
We also make all of our knitted hats and headbands in Bali. We work with a small knitting factory there that we found on our second trip to Bali, and now we have a really good collaboration. What I love about working with them is that they are very accurate in their craft and they are really good at making, producing, all of the designs I come up with.
What I love about this whole experience is that me, as a small company owner, actually can make a difference in people lives by doing all of this.
I make you, my clients, happy by providing you with dreadlock related accessories and I give work to people that are in big need of it, which makes a big impact on their lives.
So everyone is happy!