說起馬達加斯加，大家會想到丁滿與彭彭 lol ~
直至2003年，熱衷社會公益的藝術工作者LaurelBrandstetter 來到了馬達加斯加，感受到當地人生困苦，同時發現這充滿民族風味的包款，看到別人看不見的特色，決心將它發揚光大，於是成立了Mar Y Sol，並建立共同開發與貿易的機制，用教育的方式和銷售能力的裁培來代替援助。Laurel將這些工匠視作合作伙伴，而非簡單的勞動力。
Mar Y Sol希望透過加強產品的國際時尚美感，帶動銷售。從技術指導到與織品專家合作，Mar Y Sol 協助婦女們發展具有時尚氣息的包包款式；同時，定期與她們分享國際的時尚資訊，在保留原始和傳統的特色同時，加強產品的時尚美感，將這些手工產品推廣到國際市場。
Mar Y Sol
Mar Y Sol works with artisans in Madagascar and Kenya to create vivid, original handbags from renewable materials, enabling families to gain economic independence and education, and promoting environmental conservation.
Founder Laurel Brandstetter saw a chance to reduce poverty through the socially and environmentally responsible sale of handmade products and collaborates with artisans to create pieces with an innovative blend of traditional and contemporary design.
It all started in 2003, when Laurel Brandstetter traveled to Madagascar as part of a community outreach initiative. There, she met native craftspeople interested in selling their wares internationally, and the idea for Mar Y Sol, a line of eco-friendly, fair-trade beach bags, was born. Using raffia palms and organic tanned leather, local artisans hand-dye and hand-weave each colorful Mar Y Sol beach tote, fringe-trimmed clutch, and shell-shaped cross-body bag.
A family of leather workers’ crafts all of their handles and tassels by organically tanning the hides by hand. They work with a family who hand dyes all of the raffia used in their crocheted products. Then women in rural villages and surrounding Madagascar’s capital city weave and crochet the totes and clutches. The company has worked on a variety of projects in Madagascar and Kenya, such as developing clean water wells, providing education funds for school supplies, and donating eyeglasses as well as art supplies whenever given the opportunity.
感謝台灣網紅 Iris 對 Ibiza Tote藤袋的熱愛，
Let's know more about Mar Y Sol by reading this interview from" mood of living":
MoL: Where did you grow up?
LB: Cleveland, Ohio
MoL: Where do you live now?
LB: Brooklyn, NY
MoL: What were you doing before your current occupation?
LB: A city planner
MoL: What inspired you to make your raffia hats and handbags in Madagascar?
LB: I wanted to do a sustainable economic development project and I had a relative doing community development work in Madagascar. Itraveled there and was mind blown by the talent of the artisans and the beautiful basketwork.
MoL: What is so special about the artisans of Madagascar?
LB: Broadly, they have an interesting eye for color and pattern, their technical skills are incredible and they design beautiful things. They use a diverse range of materials and techniques from woven raffia to carved woodtohand spun wild silk
MoL: How is your company giving back to the local community and artisans?
LB: What grew from a small family of artisans with one sewing machine has grown into collaboration among hundreds of artisans in rural and urban areas. Mar Y Sol pays fair prices for our goods and treat our artisans as partners, from the design level to the finished product. We do our best to source our raw materials responsibly and use only what’s locally available in Madagascar.
We don’t view the artisans as strictly a labor force. None of what Mar Y Sol has accomplished would be possible without teamwork. We’ve worked with dozens of community groups and organizations in the capital city to provide foreign market, product development, export readiness training to lots of groups outside of our team. We’ve worked on clean water projects, education and environmental initiatives. We’re always trying to figure out the way to be most impactful.
MoL: Where do you look for inspiration?
LB: I look for inspiration from our artisan partners,fromtraveling in Madagascar, from what other innovative companies are up to and from life in general.
MoL: When was the moment you realized you could really do this?
LB: Maybe in 2004 when a high profile magazine called me to source a Kenyan tote and I put a ridiculous amount of money on my credit card to have one express shipped to NY from a not for profit group we were working with there at the time. They printed it and we had a ton of sales on our website for the first time. I realized I had a natural entrepreneurial spirit in that moment.
MoL: What is your favorite quote?
LB: “Do or do not. There is no try.” –Yoda
MoL: Do you have an influential figure in your life that inspired you?
LB: I have a handful of badass women who have served as mentors throughout my life, including my own mother. They make me feel empowered and energetic.
MoL: What is the best advice you’ve ever received and from whom?
LB: I guess it’s a tie. My mom’s best friend discouraged me from wanting to be a social worker because I get too emotionally invested in things. I was really young at the time. It was very insightful. And an artisan in Madagascar during one of our early meetings expressed that I should go back to NYC and focus on sales and stop trying to save Madagascar. She felt that if I did what I could do best and she did what she could do best, given what we each had access to, we would both succeed. She was right.
MoL: If you could have a conversation with any living person, who would it be and why?
LB: Jay Z. He’s had an incredible diversity of life experience and seems extremely balanced. Plus, his poetry is incredible.
MoL: What is something you know now that you wish you knew before?
LB: I’m finally getting old enough to have better self-esteem. That’s pretty nice.
MoL: Do you have any words of wisdom?
LB: Keep it moving.
MoL: Where do you go to for a peace of mind?
MoL: How do you achieve a peace of mind?
LB: I rarely do. I’ve got a lot to work on in that department. I feel pretty peaceful when I’m gardening. Otherwise, my mind is racing.
MoL: What advice can you give to anyone interested in starting his or her own business?
LB: Be sure you have an entrepreneurial spirit and not just a good idea. Be willing to take big risks but make sure they’re smart ones.