Why are our prices are higher and we are proud of it!

Brijesh, chindi basket artisan and entrepreneur. 

Brijesh, chindi basket artisan and entrepreneur. 

Brijesh is a mother of 2 and a young homemaker in a small village in NW India that has about 200 houses. Most men in this village are involved in agriculture but at times they move to larger cities to find other types of jobs. As for women, they have the option to work in fields during harvest time; however, the majority of them are home makers and are dependent upon their husbands and families for income.



Brijesh had other aspirations though. She’s alway had an entrepreneurial spirit and wanted to start her own business. One day she found a basket in a market and came home and reverse engineered it to realize that she could learn how to make them and sell similar baskets. She sought help from an expert basket maker in a nearby town to learn the process.

 After her training, she then created a small collection and set up a booth in a local art fair. She was quite nervous since it was her first time doing this and also afraid to lose her investment. Her family was not supportive of her starting the enterprise and investing the money.




This local art fair is where Matr Boomie’s India team met her. She was very suspicious of our product designer, Riya - who started talking about partnering and producing a large number of baskets. Brijesh, however, was very entrepreneurial and undeterred, and agreed to make some samples for us based on our design specifications. The samples turned out great and when we placed orders with Brijesh, she was ecstatic! As the news of her getting Matr Boomie business started to spread, the basket maker who had originally taught Brijesh contacted us to offer the same product at a lower price.


When Brijesh found out what happened, she was horrified and assumed that we would move our business away from her but we made a conscious decision to keep doing business with her. We supported her in developing her business, improve her product design and quality which has helped her to start marketing her own product locally. This collection has done great for Matr Boomie and has resulted in good business for Brijesh.



She now has a team of 15 women producing these gorgeous baskets and her family supports her 100%. The entire community is very proud of her for building a sustainable enterprise where women now have another option to make an income. As Brijesh builds her business, we will continue to work with her to gain efficiency and make her pricing more competitive. It is a process which takes time but she needed a chance to get started. Fair Trade is that chance.

- Manish Gupta

The Invisible Damage of Poverty: A Letter from Manish

Before I became involved in Fair Trade, any time I would see a child working somewhere, I used to feel angry towards the parents of the kids for sending them to work at such a young age. Also, it was upsetting to hear about trafficking cases where parents would trust their kids with strangers on promises of good jobs in far away cities. I somehow blamed the parents for being greedy. 

Working closely with artisans in rural areas, I observed artisans’ children at varying ages supporting them in production. Having in-depth conversations with artisans, I realized that just like any other parent, artisans also want their children to get a good education and just be a child. They don't have their children working in order to make extra cash to spend but simply because the artisan cannot afford to send their children to school. In absence of education, artisans feel that learning art/vocation will allow the child to make a living.

Just like us, parents in India simply want their kids to get an education and just be kids.

In desperate times, parents often have to take huge risks and make sacrifices in hopes that their children will have a better life. 

In desperate times, parents often have to take huge risks and make sacrifices in hopes that their children will have a better life. 

Sometimes in a family of many children, the eldest kids start working early on so together the family can afford to send the younger kids to school. Similarly, I realize that in cases of trafficking, though the parents are suspicious of strangers claiming to find a "good job" for their kids in far away cities, the alternative of not sending the child is a life of poverty and hopelessness. In that desperation, parents are willing to risk the unthinkable outcome by sending their children with strangers.

It makes me emotional, thinking about such brutal face of poverty and how it can strangle human spirit, especially when combined with lack of education, awareness and opportunities. We need high level policy changes to make a profound shift, but one of the key elements in reducing this risk is to strengthen rural economies by supporting rural businesses and artisans. Fair Trade is one of the few strategies that I think can make a significant impact on artisans and the overall economy of their communities through:

  • Connecting rural artisans to trade allowing them to make a sustainable living for their family through support in design, quality and logistics (Read More)
  • Long term trade relationships allowing artisans to plan for their future
  • Providing art form training for youth to enter trade, creating new jobs.
  • Focus on empowering women and marginalized artisans who are more at risk (read previous blog for details)

Once the cycle of poverty is broken, there is hope for, and confidence in, a strong future. The most efficient way to stop trafficking is not by intercepting traffickers at borders but by empowering the ones at risk and stopping it from ever happening in the first place.

-Manish Gupta, Matr Boomie Founder

Let's do what we can to break the vicious cycle of poverty for the sake of our most vulnerable world citizens. 

Let's do what we can to break the vicious cycle of poverty for the sake of our most vulnerable world citizens. 

Would you like to add to the conversation? Comment below. If there are topics you’d like us to explore in a future blog, comment or send an email to marketing@matrboomie.com. It is our goal to inform people on Fair Trade, our mission, and the global artisan community. As always, we'd love to have you join our social media communities. Find us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram