Our story begins in India where we source our materials by working with India’s informal recycling communities. We pay these hardworking women and men fair wages for their labour and give new life to truly eco-friendly and unique fabrics that would otherwise go to waste
From there, we transport these wonderful fabrics back to the USA where we make them into beautiful lallitara products. We believe in transparency and dignity in manufacturing. All of our products are handmade in the USA in sweatshop-free facilities, keeping dignified jobs local and supporting the revival of American manufacturing. Learn more about our manufacturing process [here]
Finally, when all’s said and done, we give back 5-10% (depending on the product) of our sales back to organizations who support the communities with whom we work. Through groups like SAATH.org, we’re helping educate families to bring them out of a vicious cycle of poverty.
How it all started...
Until fall 2009, Bijal Shah (aka Bee) was comfortably living in San Francisco. She had a great job, a nice apartment of her own, and… well, the dream boyfriend was still to come. And while things were rosy, it’s always hard to foresee what can happen to shake a person to her core. A family tragedy reminded her that “life is short,” and it was time to do more.
For Bee, this meant doing good and giving back to the world. She packed up her things, traded dresses for tunics, and moved to India as an American India Foundation – Clinton Fellow. There, she worked in slum development with an amazing NGO, SAATH, helping underprivileged communities get access to basic services like water and electricity. It was at SAATH that she was introduced to a community of men and women who made a living going door-to-door collecting saris, the traditional wear of Indian women.
These saris were beautiful with many in like-new condition, but demand for them was dwindling. As India has gotten richer, people who used to buy saris secondhand were no longer interested. Unfortunately for the sari collectors, men and women who have made a living in this trade over the past century, this was a terrible reality. Bee wanted to change that. She recognized the tremendous value and beauty in these fabrics and started making her own dresses from reclaimed saris. When people begin to ask her where they could purchase the dresses she was wearing, she realized she was on to something. With the help of the Stanford D.School and a course called LaunchPad, LALLITARA was born.