A conversation with Timbrel Chyatee
Lush Bazaar is a socially conscious fashion label that began over three years ago. It has grown from an accessory label to a clothing label and the best is yet to come! Lush Bazaar sells handcrafted, Indowestern clothing that tells a story of empowerment and inspiration. Our employees are single mothers and underprivileged tailors, in need of a stable income.
I employed 7 individuals, but a few months ago our workspace was vandalized and robbed and we had to regroup, rebuild and unfortunately lay a few employees off. As of right now I have two employees and I am working hard to try and get all my staff back together and wiring for me. I want to be able to empower and inspire my employees and my customers through handcrafted clothing.
Addressing the need
I was working in an underprivileged school in India watching mothers who could barely afford to give anything to their children. Mothers who were living with alcoholic or abusive husbands who did not provide for their families and mothers who felt helpless. I saw children quit school so they could work a job to help their mother and it all just made me realize how much the women in less fortunate families need help. My very first employee was a mother of two boys who was married at the age of 14 and widowed at the age of 24, with two sons to raise and a husbands debts to pay. She was left alone, with no skills, no livelihood and a dream to help her boys not live the same life as her alcoholic, gambling husband. She taught me so much about a world I barely understood and it actually heightened my desire to help more women and provide more incomes for women suffering like Divya.
Ethical business standards
I do my very best to be as socially conscious as possible. Working with under privileged individuals who are in need of a fair wage and better life, each piece of clothing and accessories are handcrafted and made with a story of empowerment and inspiration. Most of our products are handy dyed, and hand stamped. I make it a point to use fabrics from local weavers and sustainable fabric markets.
Identifying the right audience
In the beginning it was a lot of trial, error and case studies. I had all my Facebook friends fill our surveys tell their friends to fill out surveys etc., until I finally figured out my target audience. I knew that Lush Bazaar had a story and I knew that many people wanted to hear it, and others wanted to buy a piece of the story and my job was to tell it the best way I could, through each piece of clothing and accessory.
Many individuals were team-Lush Bazaar from the very beginning and wanted to be part of the story that encompasses strong women. It took awhile for others to catch on to the story, but they finally did.
Engaging the conscious consumer
I would love to work with other boutiques who have the same desire that I do. I would love to have like minded business owners give Lush Bazaar a chance to tell its story along with theirs, through pop-up shops, or even as a part of their closet. My dream is to see Lush Bazaar worn all over the U.S.A and someday world. Unfortunately, I have noticed that many people love my designs, creativity and story in each product, but refuse to pay the price for the item, a price which provides a thriving wage job for an individual. I have seen many people buy a piece almost like what I designed, but far less quality and pay 1/3 the amount. When I see that, my heart drops to my stomach. It’s sad, and I just wish consumers understood what they are doing and how they are hurting our planet and human beings.
Success and challenges
Completing Lush Bazaar’s first clothing collection, Summer 2017: Floral DayDream in less than 3 months. It took sleepless nights, sacrifice, energy and many tears to finish the collection, but it was all worth it. One of the proudest moments of my life. Almost one month after the Summer 2017 collection launched in the U.S.A, my workspace in India was robbed and I lost over $5,000 worth of equipment and fabric and I felt absolutely devastated. It was a tough loss and unexpected. I did start a GoFund Me page: but did not make the targeted amount needed to gain all that was lost in the theft.
As the year comes to an end, I would like to have a chance to share Lush Bazaar’s story to other boutiques and magazines, the possibility to grow, share, empower and inspire.
To support Lush Bazzar visit: https://www.gofundme.com/lushtheftfund