Kairaasi was founded by Julie Sumner from the UK as a way of contributing to the preservation of the traditional Indian arts which are rapidly disappearing in the current world of fast technology, urbanisation and industrialisation.
She co-directs the Kairaasi project with Sujatha and Karthik. Through their eleven year friendship formed during travels in India the project was conceived as a way of developing our potentials and creating a sustainable income both for the amazing craftspeople and the growing team we work with.
‘Our collaboration is giving me opportunities to meet people and make journeys I wouldn’t have dreamed possible. Many threads of experience and skill from my life so far are woven together in this working together.’
Julie sources beautiful well crafted products from all over India. She visits the makers once or twice a year to develop a collaborative relationship and works with them to enable them to access the global market through Kairaasi and independently. She curates the products on the Kairaasi website and London market stalls and manages Kairaasi Imports Limited in the UK.
Sujatha manages operations in Tamil Nadu, South India where our products are collected from many artisans and despatched either to individual customers buying from our on-line shop or to the UK for sale on London Markets. India has many languages and, as well as English, Sujatha speaks Telugu and Tamil, the languages of our South Indian artisans. She says,
‘The door opened to me as an opportunity to come up in life. People never thought the skill is hiding in me but it’s a really super role. Running the on-line shop is my dream job!’
Karthik manages the finances, IT and business development. He speaks Hindi as well as Tamil and English. He communicates with our North Indian artisans. These are some of his thoughts on the project,
‘Kairaasi means ‘magical healing touch’. To me Kairaasi means giving hope, confidence – that’s what I experienced. Kairaasi was started to strengthen our bond of friendship and as a medium to grow to make a living. I like it as it is a project that touches the lives of many people and helps me realize the values India has. Kairaasi means a lot to us and to many – creativity, hope, care, a platform for the traditional arts to the hearts that will appreciate’
He founded Kairaasi Exports in Chennai so that we can export products from anywhere in India to anywhere in the world.
Many other people in India and UK give their time and skills including Selvaraj, Saravanan, Kumudha, Dinesh, Ramo, Oli, Ruby, Liam, Chris, Ruth and Laure