DISCOVER SOMETHING EXTRAORDINARYHand-craft has always been at the heart of what we do. Helping to sustain age-old hand-craft techniques and traditions, our beautiful new ARTISAN collection showcases truly wonderful work by skilled craftspeople across Asia.
We don’t run our own factories or directly employ the artisans who hand-craft and embellish our most exceptional pieces. But we do ask every single one of our suppliers to commit to the UpTop Designs, Inc. Code Of Conduct. It’s based on ETI standards, and aims to protect workers by setting out minimum requirements on working conditions, pay and employment rights.
This is just a starting point. To us, ethical trading is all about building long-standing, sustainable relationships. Although we’ve worked with many of our suppliers for over 20 years, we never ever turn a blind eye. To ensure we drive meaningful and enduring improvements in working conditions, our response to any issue is collaborative. Wherever we find a problem, we work together to put things right. And we monitor progress through regular visits to suppliers’ factories from our own audit teams plus external experts too. If a supplier doesn’t come up to scratch within a reasonable time frame, we can and will move our business elsewhere.
Our efforts don’t stop at the factory gates. They extend to the artisans and other skilled workers who help create some of our most special things – often in small local workshops or even their own homes. We require all our suppliers to ensure these craftspeople receive fair ‘piece rates’ for their wonderful work. And this is closely monitored by our ethical compliance team.
Working with small communities of craftspeople in faraway places is a complex process with lots of challenges. But it’s always been an important part of who we are and what we do. We’re proud to help generate incomes, sustain livelihoods and preserve age-old hand-craft techniques.
We believe in the impact and enduring benefits of trade over aid. But we don’t just aim to help sustain artisanal communities by placing orders for the beautiful and unique things they produce. We strive to do more. So we also help the people in these communities build better lives by supporting initiatives that improve their families’ access to healthcare and education – as well as creating income generation opportunities.
Our community programme specifically supports the following collectives and projects:
SEWA Embroidery Centre –a women’s co-operative providing access to education, training, micro finance and fair wages for over 500 disadvantaged embroidery workers in Delhi. Now fully integrated into our supply chain, SEWA is responsible for at least five different styles within our ARTISAN collection each season.
Stree Shakti – a women’s quilting co-operative in the foothills of the Himalayas. We fund education, transport and support for product development.
Barabanki Weavers Project – an initiative to improve livelihoods of hand-loom weavers in an area outside Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh). We fund education, training and healthcare.
ASK Sarai Tareen – a ground-breaking project to recruit children out of child labour and into education in an area renowned for metal handicrafts and jewellery production.
Afghan Silk Project – a project with Christian Aid to help revive the silk industry in the Herat province of Afghanistan, providing income opportunities for local women.
Turquoise Mountain Foundation – a project in Kabul to produce jewellery with women artisans, in collaboration with jewellery designer Pippa Small.
ASHIANA – a not-for-profit organization creating livelihoods in jewellery-making for women affected by HIV/AIDS in a Delhi slum area.
SADHNA – a collective in Udaipur (Rajasthan) which provides income opportunities for desert artisans specialising in intricate embroidery.