Every AURA QUE design is developed in collaboration between UK designer Laura Queening and the small producer groups she works with in Asia. We look to use traditional skills and local materials as much as possible, aiming to encourage empowerment through work for the individual producers who make our products.
Each product is brought to life in various charity handicraft units or WFTO producer groups that employ local people that may be affected by discrimination or disabilities, providing an income for themselves and their families according to fair trade principles.
Designer Laura Queening is passionate about working directly with small producer groups and charities, thriving on the technical challenges throughout the creative process, whilst working face to face with interesting people from different cultures and feeding her wanderlust!
We really hope to create beautiful quality products and gifts that can be treasured and used season after season, whilst considering ethical and environmental principles as much as we can. The people we work with are important to AURA QUE, with our main aim to encourage empowerment to disadvantaged people in countries such as Nepal.
We hope that you enjoy using our products as much as we enjoy designing and making them!
After a voluntary English teaching job in rural Nepal and then completing her fashion degree in London, UK designer Laura Queening wanted to combine her love of Asia, seeing new cultures and people and her creative skills by starting her own brand AURA QUE. With the enthusiasm of a new graduate and naturally gravitating towards Nepal after her previous travel experiences, she sourced and worked with various charity handicraft units and WFTO producer groups in Kathmandu, to bring local materials and designs to western markets.
AURA QUE was founded by Laura Queening (from which the AURA QUE name was taken) in 2008, working directly with producers developing new patterns and ideas as well as organizing production runs. Having lived in Nepal for several years, she now lives in South London and visits Kathmandu for a few months every year to source new materials, sample new designs, maintain quality control and catch up with old friends!
Deisgner Laura Queening has also worked with Oxfam on her own range of up cycled handbags made from recycled leather jackets and fabric offcuts, such as Harris Tweed and Liberty curtains, which were styled and made in London. She has also been invited to work on private labelling projects for other brands, combining her ethical beliefs with her creative and business skills.
AURA QUE strives to conduct business to the highest ethical and environmental standards, with designer Laura Queening working directly and closely with manufacturers that share the same ethos.
AURA QUE still has a way to go in finding its most ethical supply chain, but we are working towards our goal by creating strong relationships with suppliers and manufacturers - to demonstrate that ethical collaborations can be successful - and by making the most of the challenges and adventures along the way.
Working in a developing country like Nepal is forever challenging but is made all the better by the warm friendly people within the organizations that we collaborate with. It is important for us to continue to provide these small producer groups and handicraft units with work to empower the people who work these as well as help the charities and projects affiliated with these organizations.
> Working with Fair Trade Principles
AURA QUE works closely with small producer groups that are WFTO members to ensure healthy and safe work environments and payment of living wages. We also encourage trade for small Nepalese family businesses and charity handicraft units, aiming to slowly build long term relationships with these suppliers, under the same fair principles. AURA QUE aims to make a difference to underprivileged communities by investing in equipment, encouraging return orders and developing the skills of the producers.
> Minimising Environmental Impact
Reducing Carbon Footprint: Although AURA QUE uses airfreight to transport products to the UK, we aim to carbon offset all air miles in order to reduce the carbon footprint of the company. We will look at continuing and improving this procedure as the company grows. There is minimal machinery used in the manufacture of AURA QUE products, with most of the sewing machines relying on motion foot pedals without using energy supplies.
Recycling: We try to reduce all wastage by reusing and recycling as much as possible, both in the office and the workshops. Our preferred method of communication is email, but where necessary, all paper correspondence is printed onto recycled FSC certified paper.
Use of Materials: Most of the materials used in AURA QUE products are sourced locally, not only to promote traditional skills but also to reduce the transport of materials to manufacture. We are constantly reviewing and refining our supply chain, finding the most ethical solution without compromising on quality and the brand aesthetic.