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Nest visits Eileen Fisher’s shibori partners in India, to chart a plan for sustainable advancement

Last month, Nest’s Director of Artisan Compliance and Programming, Sara Otto, traveled to India to visit with an artisan enterprise creating stunning shibori craftwork for Eileen Fisher. Alongside Eileen Fisher and its artisan partner, our goals were to implement Nest’s assessment program for homes and small workshops to help chart a roadmap for supply chain improvements that have potential to further advance the rights and wellbeing of the shibori artisans.

While the artisan business’ central workshop is based in an industrial part of Jodhpur, it employs a network of more than 50 handworkers throughout the greater region, who perform the shibori craft technique from within their homes. At the central workshop, Sara spoke with the artisan business’ leader, Abdul, to lead him through the assessment process and helped to provide him with a refresher on some the lessons worked on during his pre-assessment training months prior. In particular, Sara and Abdul reviewed strategies for optimizing time motion studies that can be used to help benchmark fair artisan wages.

Says Sara: “reviewing the production record system that the business has adopted since our training in January was an exciting moment. It was rewarding for me to see how Nest’s partnership has helped the business to make tremendous progress across its record keeping processes.”

Sara’s meeting with Abdul was supplemented by her interviews with nine shibori artisans working for his enterprise. One of these artisans was Farida, who has been doing shibori work for 30 years as the primary breadwinner for her family. Her ability to earn an income from home has proven critical in recent years, as she must split her time between shibori and caring for her husband who is sick and unable to pursue employment. For Farida, shibori has been an empowering life line and point of great pride.

Moving forward, Nest looks forward to continuing its work alongside Eileen Fisher to analyze the assessment findings and put additional supply chain improvements into motion.