Art has the ability to move our hearts and inspire us in unknown ways...
The Story of Our Slings
Maaeri was conceived after one of our many trips to Indian artisan villages where we lost our hearts to the simplicity, hospitality, and immense talent of the people we met during our stay.
As joyful we were to be a part of this collage or colors and intricacies that have been learnt and preserved for generations, we were also pained to see the state of the people behind them. It was shocking to learn how little these artisans were paid for work that won not only our hearts but hearts of people all over the world. As we talked more we learnt how many of these artisans were leaving their traditional art forms to take up manual labor and other unskilled work that paid them more than what their incredible handiwork did. The problem was not a shortage of buyers. The problem was that the money went to the businesses and middlemen trying to maximize profits instead of the people who were actually making these beautiful artifacts. There was a great imbalance.
As we sat there in that simple mud house sipping the most delicious tea from these beautiful cups, we knew we had to do our bit. We decided to get more involved and Maaeri was born in January 2016.
It has taken us many months and many failed attempts till we were able to combine the right high-quality fabrics with baby-safe artistry without compromising on comfort. This has been a long and difficult process, but here we are and so excited!
Maaeri is our first effort to proudly present Indian traditional art forms in babywearing like never before. We are making an honest attempt to reach out to struggling artisans all over India at the grassroots level and provide them with new opportunities to shine while bringing lovingly handcrafted products to you at the best price possible. We hope to make the special bond between parent and child a tiny bit more special by wrapping them with honest handiwork of an artisan.
Share the Love Program
While we do our bit to support artistry, we will also be contributing a portion of our proceeds from every sale to support a non-profit that works with women and children. This year we have chosen to provide mid-day meals to children in government-aided schools. We are very excited to be able to make a contribution to an effectively run program by our social partners. My mom grew up in rural India, and I remember her telling us that she only went to school because she would get free hot breakfast and lunch. That was her only motivation :) This cause is really special and close to our hearts.
For every sling we sell, we put aside a portion that goes towards providing much needed meals (& motivation!) for these children. Thank you to everyone who has supported us to make this possible <3
We know that as a two-person company just starting up, times are going to be challenging. We are committed to this journey and our goal is to make Maaeri sustainable enough to provide the artisans we work with an opportunity to earn a living wage for their skills.
All Maaeri contributions are pre-profit. Regardless of whether we are profitable, we are committed to paying our artisans right and supporting the causes we believe in. We understand that this may not be a sustainable model as we grow but we hope that we will be able to reach an audience who appreciate the value of the products we offer, the story & goodwill behind our slings and are willing to support us and spread the word.
Our Artisans take real pride in their work, and the joy on their faces when we demonstrated our first sling made it all worth it. We hope that our customers will share the same joy and come to love our products as much as we love making them.
Big Thank you to Our Village
Lastly, we want to take this space to thank all our family and friends who have gone out of their way to help us. Ginny, Monu, Ring & John, Anneke, Hannah & Darren, Rebecca, Angus & Michelle, my AHmazing group of testers – we HEART you guys. This has only been possible because of you. Thank you so much!
To my kids Miyara & Kiaan who are so proud and excited about mama's carriers and have reluctantly volunteered for countless uppies, to my husband for always having my back no matter what - you make me the luckiest girl in the world!
Quick note about the name...
The word Maaeri (Maa-é-ree) broadly stands for 'Mother', but the affection associated with how it is used in rural India cannot be literally translated to the English language. Let's just say that it envelopes love, bonding and playfulness all at the same time.