It’s with a heavy heart that I write to my dedicated and committed circle of followers with news that the little workshop we use in Lucknow has been forced to close at the end of this month.
This doesn't mean Carlie Ballard is going anywhere, and we have found a wonderful new workshop (more on that further down). But we will have new tailors handcrafting our pieces going forward.
COVID-19 has hit the area quite hard, and whilst I am so very grateful that each of the staff thus far are safe from contracting the virus, the situation continues to worsen. A few months ago, the government segmented the country into different zones depending on the severity of the cases. Lucknow unfortunately is in a red zone, with neighbouring roads to the workshop being shut down and boroughs closed off due to an outbreak of cases. Add to this the drop in order's from international designers, who are also feeling the struggle of the pandemic and associated recession, and it is no longer feasible for the workshop to stay open.
My passion from the inception of this brand has been PEOPLE. When I met Penny (the Australian woman who started the workshop), our values were like two peas in a pod. And so when I visited the workshop for the very first time in 2012 I knew it was the right fit. Staff were happy working there and many of them have remained with the workshop for the whole 13 years which is testament to what Penny and Pragya have created.
Penny opened the workshop in 2007 providing staff with safe, dignified, empowering, reliable and secure work. Pragya, who has been the local manager of the workshop, has been like a mother to so many of the staff. Her local knowledge of the culture has been invaluable to ensure the workshop is culturally sensitive and understanding of local traditions. Female managers in India need to be firm, and Pragya managed her role so beautifully balanced.
Pragya tells me via Whatsapp today that the tailors will find work, and Pragya has already got strong leads for them as they are skilled. She also explains that the new work will be an adjustment because they have been ‘pampered’ here.
So here I am sharing this news with you. I wish I could tell you that a financial angel came along and changed the outcome, but what I can tell you is that your support over the years has given these beautiful people ‘pampered’ working conditions, above and beyond anything they would have had previously. It has also given them work ethic and skills required to work with international clients, a supportive and nurturing space to come to each day, the knowledge of empowerment and self worth. Skills that make them very employable moving forward.
Penny has put together her own words for the closure which I would encourage you to also read here. I admire Penny’s tenacity to open a business in India, with its constant red tape struggles and bureaucracy. Her financial, emotional and supportive energy will never be forgotten by the staff and designers who were lucky enough to work in this space. Her social good will continue to benefit the staff forevermore.
This leads me to offer you a final opportunity to have something made by these tailors BESPOKE, just for you, with 30% of the funds going directly to them (no fees taken out) to help until they find new employment. Choose from our entire back catalogue of styles and choose from the below fabrics. As always, one tailor will make your garment and their name will be listed on the swing tag.
We have managed to find a new workshop in the south of India which shares our high standards of pay and working conditions and we will slowly start to show you Carlie Ballard 2.0 over the coming months.
As always, I encourage you to ask me any questions you may have after reading this. Just reply to this email and I will do my best to respond as promptly as possible.
Thank you with all of my heart for your support so far. My mission hasn’t changed, and I look forward to bringing you more beautiful, transeasonal everyday luxuries with my next collection. Together we will continue to improve the lives of creators and artisans in India.
All my love and thanks,
WE ARE OFFERING FOR THE NEXT 48 HOURS A CHANCE TO HAVE SOMETHING MADE JUST FOR YOU. WITH 30% OF THE SALE GOING TO STAFF AT THE WORKSHOP TO HELP THEM FINANCIALLY DURING EMPLOYMENT CHANGES.
YOU CHOOSE THE STYLE AND YOU CHOOSE THE FABRIC.
1. CHOOSE FROM THE FABRICS BELOW
2. CHOOSE FROM THE STYLES ON OUR WEBSITE. OUR ENTIRE BACK CATALOGUE IS AVAILABLE.
3. CHOOSE THE SIZE YOU REQUIRE.
4. EMAIL ME THESE DETAILS AND I WILL SEND YOU A PAYMENT LINK. (YOU CAN REPLY TO THIS EMAIL)
WE'LL MAKE YOUR SPECIAL PIECE AND SHIP IT TO YOU IN 4-6 WEEKS.
CHOOSE FROM THESE FABRICS
STEP 2 - CHOOSE THE STYLE YOU WANT. YOU CAN BROWSE OUR COLLECTION ONLINE NOW.
STEP 3 - EMAIL US YOUR FABRIC AND STYLE CHOICE ALONG WITH YOUR SIZE AND WE'LL GET YOUR ORDER STARTED!