Wandering Silk

Wandering Silk, Sari portions modified to scarves | WEBO Power

“You never achieve success unless you like what you are doing.”— Dale Carnegie.

Katherine Neumann not only likes what she is doing, she loves it. Little wonder, she relocated to a foreign land to follow her calling.

Katherine always knew she wanted to make a difference to peoples lives. Her commitment and passion drove her to start “Wandering Silk” in India in 2011. The House of Wandering Silk is a social enterprise that provides dignified, sustainable and fairly paid employment to disadvantaged women of rural India. This fair trade organisation is built around the core principle of recycling and using environmentally friendly materials to create valuable products.

Wandering Silk specializes in scarves and throws made from vintage saris that are sourced from various parts of the country and then sent to Murshidabad in West Bengal, where under-privileged women further embellish the sourced materials with ‘kantha’ embroidery.

An Australian by birth but a true world citizen by virtue of her education & travels, Katherine recalls, “I have always been fascinated by India. The first time I came to India was for an internship with an NGO.” At the time when Katherine was making a decision about commencing her venture, India was an obvious and preferred choice. She shares, “I chose India because I was familiar with the country. I had a love for textiles and logistically I thought it was much easier working in this country than any where else in South Asia.”

Wandering Silk, Sari portions modified to scarves | WEBO Power

Given Katherine’s extensive experience with various NGOs across the globe, she applied her learning’s and focused on empowering women rather than just helping or assisting.

She handpicks beautiful old saris from scrap traders in Delhi. The sari portions with stains are removed and the remaining pieces are sent to West Bengal where under-privileged women do ‘Kantha’ work on these.

Katherine stresses on good business practices like minimizing wastage, and has started alternate product lines like patch work quilts and necklaces, which are made of wooden beads covered with silk material. She explains, “I was looking for products that could creatively utilize some of the otherwise-waste material.” For this product line, Katherine has partnered with Delhi Foundation for Deaf Women (DFDW), where she is training deaf women to produce these necklaces.

Katherine’s commitment doesn’t end here. She is working towards removing inequalities by contributing a percentage of her sales towards the education of tribal and minority children through the Adharshila School in Madhya Pradesh.

Wandering Silk is weaving fine fabric and beautiful craftsmanship in an eco-friendly and sustainable way, empowering under-privileged women lead better quality lives. Wandering Silk is weaving new dreams and aspirations for several women inspiring them to follow their calling and passion. WEBO Power salutes Katherine’s enterprising and infectious spirit!

Interviewed By: Sakshi Aggarwal, Team WEBO
Posted On: November 06, 2012

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    July 30, 2013 at 8:49 am Reply

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