You've probably seen the adorable block printed, hand woven bags that I've been posting this week. I'm pleased to introduce you to my dear friend and incredibly creative businesswoman with a heart of gold, Rikki Marler, the production manager of JOYN:
Counting the hands to JOY.
More steps. More hands. More JOY.
That is the philosophy behind every JOYN product. Our vision is to creates as many jobs as possible and that is why we decided to produce a product that could be handmade from the ground up. When someone looks at a ﬁnished clutch or purse, it can sometimes be hard to visualize how many hands were involved in creating a beautiful stylish handbag that you can call your own. When someone purchases a JOYN product, our hope that is they are able to see the hands behind the details that go into each product. Each hand represents a livelihood. A purpose. A break in the cycle of poverty.
Each product has a story and several beautiful sets of hands behind it. For instance, the stitcher you see in the photo (above) is Rajong, We usually call him “Acoo”, which means uncle in Tibetan. He took a long journey to become JOYNʼs master stitcher. About 30 years ago, he started out on a trek that took him across the Himalayan mountains (40 days on foot), and into the promised land of the Dalai Llamaʼs exile in India. He took this trek with the hope of ﬁnding a better life for he and his family. Upon getting here, he found that work was not that easy to obtain. He worked in odd jobs all around northern India until we were lucky enough to snatch him up last year. Acoo has become a dear friend to us and a true uncle, a part of the JOYN family. When you hear him laugh or see him act out segments of his favorite TV personality, Mr. Bean you would never know that he once faced more hardships than most western minds can comprehend. Acoo has become a mentor and has truly grasped the meaning of why JOYN exists. Last week at our Monday morning meeting we asked him why he does what he does. His answer was clear, albeit in his native Tibetan tongue, “To make high quality products that will sell and create more jobs for others. Acoo, my dear uncle, enjoys working for JOYN because he can be a part of something bigger than himself, bigger than his work.
That is the true JOY of JOYN. We can all be a part of this blessing, from the block printer who used to be a former street beggar, to someone who works in a coffee shop in the United States. The more hands that touch our products, the more hands that are able to see hope.