It took many months of research during the time of covid travel restrictions to find the right manufacturing partner.
On one hand, we sought a small-scale manufacturer that had experience with handloom fabrics and skill in stitching garments using Indian tailoring methods (known for fine detail and durable french seams).
On the other hand, we sought an ethically run organization that provided access to employment for women and people with disabilities, with a working practice of zero-waste manufacture.
Our research eventually led us to Kumbaya Producer Company Ltd., a grass roots organization operating in the rural and remote areas of Madhya Pradesh.
Kumbaya matched our ethical and practical requirements beyond our expectations, and they were able to accommodate our requirement for small batch production.
We connected first in the Spring of 2021, and from there, we began the journey of our collaboration together.
We sent our paper patterns to Kumbaya in the Fall of 2021. In March 2022, after receiving our first set of beautifully stitched samples, Sarah, our founder, travelled for the first time to meet, stay and work with the manufacturing team at Kumbaya.
'Visiting the various campuses that make up the organization and meeting and working directly with the team of master pattern makers and tailors, cutters, embroiderers, sewists and beyond was an experience I will not forget. I can't wait to return to work on our next collection.'
Sarah Dunn, Founder and Designer at RANI & REINE
Kumbaya was founded 30 years ago and is led by Nivedita Banerji, a wonderfully creative and skilled architect, designer, author and leader, with a focused and dedicated vision.
Kumbaya is a social venture bringing women together to learn skills and earn their way out of poverty, with a deep committment to including differently-abled men and women as skilled producers and high earners, whose inability to contribute manual labour in a primarily agricultural area leads to their marginalisation and abandonment.
Kumbaya has four centres in different villages where employment is available and guaranteed, for almost 300 days in a year to over 100 producers. Apart from the producers who work regularly with Kumbaya, hundreds of those trained stitch from home.
Kumbaya is part of a larger organization, Samaj Pragati Sahayog (SPS), one of India’s largest grass-roots initiatives for water and livelihood security, working with women-led institutions on watershed development, sustainable agriculture, commodity aggregation, livestock, health and nutrition, public education, research and community media in rural Madhya Pradesh.