We design with integrity, creating beautifully handcrafted products to be treasured season after season. Central to our ethos is nurturing long-lasting relationships with our producers, and we are on a quest to develop our most ethical and eco-friendly supply chain possible. We use the below principles to guide us along our way...
PEOPLE - Community is everything to us: there is no business without the people who make our products and the individuals who buy them. We are grateful to be able to share our passion for everything handmade and connect our customers with the people who make their products.
INTEGRITY - ‘Namaste’ is a Nepalese greeting which means ‘An expression of appreciation and respect to one another’ - this is our mantra. We have worked with some of our artisans for over ten years and these relationships are built on the ‘Namaste’ spirit of respect and trust. We endeavour to provide our producers with consistent orders through the good times and bad, to give them security, we provide them with routes to market and opportunities for growth.
We are a proud member of the British Association of Fair Trade Suppliers (BAFTS) and meet their rigorous ethical policy standards. Our suppliers range from World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO) members to Nepal Fair Trade and charity groups, as well as some fantastic small family businesses, all of whom have a people and community-centred ethos.
Collaborating with artisan groups often presents its challenges: there can be miscommunications and mistakes but we always work to find an amicable and fair path forward considering each supplier's strengths. This requires patience and time but we believe it is the right thing to do.
PRODUCT - We treasure the unique handmade qualities of our products, valuing the time and skill devoted to creating each piece. We strive to incorporate local and sustainable materials where possible and our design process is led by traditional methods mastered over generations with some modern tweaks along the way!
Our commitment to generating jobs means we use handmade processes wherever possible, rather than machine manufacturing (which would be cheaper...and easier!),this is reflected in the individual style of our products. We are rigorous about our quality standards and our pieces are designed to be used season after season.
IMPACT - At AURA QUE, striving to provide work and economic security for the people that make our products is our number one focus, but we are also truly committed to evolving all areas of our business to reduce our impact on the planet. Here are some of the measures we have taken and will build upon:
> Slow fashion - Our products embody everything that is not ‘fast fashion’, they are built to last and designed to be tasteful and timeless, bringing joy season after season.
> Recycling & zero waste - This runs deep through our design process. Recycling and reusing materials is second nature to most of the Nepalese people we work with, who waste nothing! Our products optimise fabric usage and we minimise waste wherever possible. We have recently developed a beautiful zero waste knitwear range using leftover wool from previous productions. Look out for much more of this in the future!
> Responsible materials and methods - Our focus is natural fibres, which are renewable and biodegradable wherever possible. There is minimal machinery used in the manufacture of AURA QUE products, with most of the sewing machines relying on motion foot pedals. Handmade artisan processes such as hand-weaving on wooden looms, and knitting and crocheting by hand in family homes, have minimal impact upon our planet. There are no huge polluting production plants here!
> Packaging - We try to keep our use of paper and plastic packaging to a minimum and we reuse all packaging materials that we receive from suppliers. When customers receive a product from us it is not always in a shiny new box but perhaps in a slightly battered one that has been around the world! We hope our customers agree that it is what’s inside that counts, and that they go on to recycle our packaging too. We have recently moved to our own warehouse to allow us to better control our packaging and reduce waste even further.
> Transport - Our materials are sourced as locally to the producers as possible, we do have room for improvement as some materials that are (currently) integral to keeping the Nepalese handicraft sector alive necessarily have to be imported. Bulk transportation for these imported materials is used to minimise the impact of this. We are always on the lookout for local alternative materials that don’t compromise the quality of the product. Before Covid struck, we were about to ship our first container by sea; this is our plan for the future which will drastically reduce our transportation impact.
CELEBRATION - ‘’Same, same but different’’ is one of our favourite responses from our Nepalese team… At AURA QUE, we love the quirks and characteristics between different cultures and the fact that we are all ‘same, same but different’.
We celebrate artisans and individuality; this means being tirelessly innovative with an unfaltering can-do attitude and a love for people, often having to ‘roll with the punches’ and ‘think on our feet’ (all of the cliches!) We are not perfect but we are constantly striving to improve. We aim to demonstrate that ethical collaborations can be successful by making the most of the challenges and adventures along the way!