How do you take your coffee/tea in the morning? Black coffee with a splash of soy
What is your favorite color? Mint Green
What influenced you to become a social entrepreneur?
Living and traveling through impoverished communities made me realize that a small effort can make a huge impact in the lives of those living in poverty. I was blown away by the all the courageous women and children I met that live in oppression and lack the resources to pull themselves out of poverty. This experience helped me grow a deeper appreciation for all the opportunities I’ve had growing up in America; particularly the chance to get educated and the freedom to explore, learn and create. I believe that it is vital to continue learning and challenging oneself academically but it’s even more important to utilize the knowledge and skills we gain to give back to those who have not been as fortunate.
I founded Oimei with the desire to become a social entrepreneur because this allows me to combine my education with my philanthropic passion and constantly stay creative.
Where is your product created?
Currently, we are sourcing our products from Artisans in Northern Thailand. In the future we hope to expand our product range to textile goods made in other countries around South East Asia (ie. Burma, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia…etc.)
How do you develop and nurture the relationship with the artisans you collaborate with?
I initially developed our relationship with the artisans by visiting them in their villages, spent some time with them to learn their craft and listen to their stories. There is an intermediary between Us and the artisans which is a cooperative that has been set up to help the artisans with product development, logistics and distribution. We strive to nurture our relationship with the artisans by often sending photos of what we’ve been up to with Oimei, videos we make and customers who send us their photos with our products. As our business grows - we look forward to regularly visiting our artisans as a team.
How do you practice sustainability in your everyday?
I practice sustainability everyday simply by being mindful.
I’ve recently become very conscious about the clothes I wear and the impact our shopping habits has on the environment (and my bank account :P ) Since returning to America, I went through a huge “de-clutter, cleansing” phase where I sold and donated a lot of my clothes and shoes; leaving me with just the basics in my closet. I am very conscious of my consuming habits as well - I like to ask questions about where/how things are made. I love to support independent retailers/artisans - and stray away from mass produced goods.
Finally, where can readers get your beautiful pieces?