KARUNA, a young lady of Chiang Mai, Thailand, has been designing and making handbags for over six years. Since she lives in a small city, communication is such that we can talk frequently by telephone, as well as by email.
Karuna, having grown up within the medieval walls of town, lives unlike the artisans of deprivation from the nearby Hill tribes that come to the Night Bazaar.
Karuna can speak and write English since she was lucky enough to go to school. Even with that life benefit, she has had her challenges, such as securing her quality materials and creating styles to meet the satisfaction of various cultures of buyers. With her perseverance, she now has accumulated two importers in the U.S. and one in Japan, as well as tourist shoppers from all over the world.
Linda Edwards, the founder of A Fair World Designs, met Karuna one fall evening in Chiang Mai, while Karuna was selling her hemp handbags at the Night Bazaar. Since those early days, Karuna has developed her handbag business to have a permanent stall in the Night Bazaar. She mostly sells the quality handbags one at a time to visitors to Chiang Mai.
Her line has developed to over twenty products, including backpacks, shopping bags, satchels and change purses. Karuna has turned into an entrepreneur and has engaged a few other women artisans to sew with her. She has improved her Quality of Life with the help of women from across the globe and by participating in Fair Trade and through receiving a Living Wage from A Fair World.
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