Social Enterprise Spotlight: Anchal Project

Photo: Leah de Leon

Photo: Leah de Leon

Social enterprises and non-profits have a special place in my heart. Social enterprises are companies that create strategies to maximize financial, social, and environmental well-being. Their bottom-line looks at people, profit, and the planet equally. One day, I hope to start one, but in the meantime I like searching for innovative social enterprises to support that are making a difference in the world. 

Instagram has been a great tool for me to find non-profits and social enterprises that promote sustainability, ethical fashion, and women empowerment. I search the hashtag #socialenterprise and #ethicalfashion to identify new companies to support. I was more than happy when I stumbled across Anchal Project, a non-profit social enterprise that believes design can change lives. 

Anchal uses design to create innovative products and sustainable employment that empowers exploited women worldwide. I was moved by their twofold mission of women empowerment and environmental preservation. (The products are also super cute, unique and well designed)

"We use a unique business model to empower women through economic opportunity while simultaneously addressing the environmental issues of the textile industry. It is estimated that over 30,000 women are part of the commercial sex trade in Ajmer, India. These women endure dehumanizing working conditions in order to provide a small income for their families. These women are trapped in a vicious cycle that not only limits their access to education and future opportunities, but their children’s as well."

Social enterprises have the power to save lives, by providing women with the means to support their families and escape slavery and poverty. Anchal Product founder, Collen Clines was inspired by her Design for Development seminar class in India after seeing the lack of programming and dire conditions. She knew she couldn't turn away and started a fundraiser to establish 501c3 status and create Anchal in 2010. 

All of Anchal’s home goods and accessories are entirely hand-stitched by Anchal’s 130 artisans in Ajmer, India with layers of the softest GOTS certified organic cotton. The home textile range includes bed quilts, pillow shams, throw quilts, decorative pillows and table linens. In addition, Anchal offers a variety of fashion accessories including scarves, tote bags and pouches.  All of Anchal’s heirloom quality pieces are artfully crafted with the highest quality craft and attention to detail.

Anchal products have been sold in Urban Outfitters, featured in Harper's Bazaar, Better Homes & Gardens, Brit + CO., and Design Sponge. Most recently in February 2017, Anchal’s Sari Quilt from the Narrative Collection was honored by NY NOW® and Apartment Therapy with not only "Handmade Global Design - Best New Product”, but the “Best in Market” award.

Below you can see me pairing my Anchal Small Patchwork Mint Pouch with a fully thrifted outfit with jeans and shoes from Goodwill and Plato's Closet. I encourage you to follow them on instagram, shop on their website, and get to know more about Anchal Project and other social enterprises like it! When you buy products from social enterprises, you're making the decision to support a cleaner earth and a better, more equal, future for people all over the world.