Artists in Kashmir
For some two decades we've been working closely with a social enterprise in Kashmir, India, called Persian Dowery, whose artisans make all of our beautiful Easter Eggs and Artist Collection gift boxes.
Helping traditional skills to flourish
Our business has helped Persian Dowery grow from a team of 30 artists to an enterprise that hires approximately 150 people. Together we have given a real boost to the declining Kashmiri industry of papier mache production and decoration.
When we began working together the artistic industries in Kashmir were in decline, largely due to a downturn in international tourism caused by years of political unrest. Now Persian Dowery is helping to inspire the younger generation; encouraging young people to take up apprenticeships with older, skilled artists who are making a healthy living from their art. In this way we’re helping traditional, ancient skills and artistic techniques to flourish again.
More than just a business
Kashmir is one of the few places in the world where handmade work still dominates over industrial mass-production. All of our boxes are made, painted, lined with velvet, checked and packed by hand. Many of the artists involved work from home, which is important during the freezing Himalayan winters, when families need to support themselves but would have difficulty travelling to and from work in severe weather conditions.
Working from home is also useful when periods of civil unrest lead to curfews. Persian Dowery works creatively to continue to supply people and support as many families as possible, even during these difficult periods. This sustainable model means that people are able to work from home and stay with their families, and support each other in a cooperative, community-based way.
Persian Dowery plays an important role in the lives of the people it employs; as well as giving them work, it often assumes responsibility for caring for their essential needs. This approach has won the company awards within its region for its success and ethics.
We deeply value our relationship with Persian Dowery, which is why we continue to sell our beautiful Kashmiri Easter Eggs and The Artist’s Collection range of chocolate gift boxes.