In 2014, we wandered down an alley in Patan’s Durbar Square and wandered into the surprising studio and passion project of Pravin Chitrakar called Yala Mandala. As CEO and Founder, Chitrakar has spent nearly 29 years growing his collective with the intention of perpetuating local cultural heritage, promoting it on an international level, and lifting up local art and artisans.
Craft Yala is one of four different companies under Yala Mandala, with a focus on high-end jewelry that is inspired by local art, culture, and heritage. The metalsmiths that produce all of MULXIPLY’s jewelry have a space with a garden in the middle so they can work in an airy space with ventilation and sunshine. It is details such as these that demonstrate Pravin Chitrakar’s investment in the people he works with.
Two indispensable people on Pravin’s team are Mahendra and Julia. Mahendra started as a security guard for Pravin’s studio and, after confessing his desire to study metalsmithing to his boss, became one of Yala Mandala’s finest artisans. We also love that Pravin’s sister, Julia, is Yala’s Chief Financial Officer. She is a calm, yet driving force in the business, and is a fierce advocate for women’s rights in Nepal.
We were introduced to Bijaya "Bj" and his team of leatherworkers in 2015 and were struck by the extraordinary talent of their team. Working in a family-style atelier slightly off the beaten path in Kathmandu, their setup makes sense, as it is a family-run business. Their primary objective is to simultaneously provide high quality leather goods and also provide a healthy work atmosphere for their employees.
Bj was born in a remote mountain village near the Tibetan border. Without much of a "normal" education, he fell in love with leather crafting and taught himself how to make "things." He's extraordinarily talented with an eye for design and detail. Bj met his wife Maya, who is from the Netherlands, while she was volunteering in Nepal. Maya now runs the business side of things. Together they are growing a successful business creating designs for local hotels and shops, as well as designers around the globe, MULXIPLY included. We admire and support AKU’s dedication to creating a nurturing workspace, which epitomizes "slow fashion."
Starting with just 10 employees in 1994, our felting team has blossomed into a globally-accessed company of approximately 500. It provides dignified work opportunities particularly for women in both rural and urban areas of Nepal. This design-focused handicraft business utilizes eco-friendly, fair trade practices, that support the national economy by promoting the export of Nepalese craft to counteract the import-based economy. 80% of their artisans are women.
Our partner's focus on creating employment opportunities for women to become self-dependent, and therefore less susceptible to human trafficking, caught our founder's attention when seeking to find a felting group that was not only talented and reliable but also transparent in their practices. We have been so impressed with the joy seen among the artisans, the bright workshops, and the ethos set forward by the leadership. "If they are happy, we are happy!"
Our Pom Pom Slippers, hand-felted animals, and the wool components for our bags are all made by this team.
Né Nepal + MULXIPLY
In 2018 Ishu Dhakras and Tulja Kedia launched Né Nepal as a love-letter to their home—Nepal. Inspired by cultural intricacies combined with a love for artisan handicraft, they launched a brand dedicated to modern products made locally via traditional methods. We are honored to carry a curated collection of their handmade jewelry pieces. Always sustainably sourced and ethically crafted, each piece tells a story of quaint corners contrasted with the vast Himalayan landscape, at once carefully nuanced and yet wild with organic movement.
Ekadesma + MULXIPLY
Founded by sisters Anuza and Alpaja, Ekadesma Nepal is the brand behind each piece of our capsule collection of carefully handmade apparel designed and produced in Kathmandu, Nepal. Each garment is artfully crafted with hand-loomed cotton and bamboo, often finished with hand-stitched details and buttons carved out of coconut shells. Our collaboration with them is a natural alignment and celebration of ethical fashion and Nepalese handicraft. The touch of the artist is evident in these pieces.
Dinadi + MULXIPLY
Founded in 2016 by Preston and Mirjam Thiessen, Dinadi's vision is to create fair employment opportunities for Nepali women and produce timeless, high-quality knitwear. With a team of over 40 knitters, Dinadi has developed a gorgeous model of artisan-driven sustainable change while designing luxurious knits sought after by customers who care not just about the quality of a product, but how it's made. Our customer looks forward to the winter season as an opportunity to invest in Dinadi's collections of fine merino wool and yak cashmere sweaters and knits.
Neba + MULXIPLY
Neba is a beautifully crafted collection of small batch apparel designed by Ilse Bos. Inspired by the intention of slow living, each of these pieces is a seamless marriage of European luxury, Japanese functionality and Nepali craft. Ilse works hard to source the finest fabrics which are then dyed by hand with plants. Due to their limited production, these styles are offered only for a brief time. We are honored to be the exclusive carrier of these pieces in the United States. Each garment feels as good as it looks and is made in Ilse's small atelier in Kathmandu.
Are you a brand or artist interested in co-creating with us? We'd love to hear your ideas.
Please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.