Do you ever hear a story that is too good not to share? Well, the origin story of our Wooden Nose Glasses Holder is one of those stories and we are so excited to share it with you on our blog. The glasses holder happens to be one of the bestselling items created by our artisan partners at our Fair Trade certified Atelier Ouest Inde. It changed the life of the artisan who designed it and continues to impact the lives of families in the small village of Northern India where it originated.
The nose holder was created by Yuri, an artisan based in a small village in Northern India. At the time that he started at Atelier Ouest Inde he was in a lot of debt and struggling to provide for his family. At the time, he was creating products and supplying them to a local exporter. Unfortunately, the exporter, as with most exporters in India, did not pay in advance for the products. This means that Yuri was taking out loans to pay for all the materials to create products in hopes that they would sell. The exporter would then take all the products he created and pay him after 60-90 days for only the products that sold.
At some point, the exporter ended up stealing all the products and vanishing, taking with him a large stock of product that Yuri had just supplied to him. Yuri was not able to get his money or repay his loans, leaving him and his family in a vulnerable state.
It was after this happened that he got to know about our fair-trade partner atelier from one of the staff members who was living in the same village. The atelier hired him and began selling the wooden puzzle games and coasters he was creating at the time. Unlike his relationship with the exporter, Atelier Ouest Inde paid him up-front for all the products he was to create so he could buy materials and no longer must take out loans.
The origin of the Wooden Nose Glasses Holder
In 1998 he designed and created the Wooden Nose Glasses Holder, which became a huge hit almost instantly. Over the course of the next 10 years, he had sold over 200,000 pieces. Due to its success, Yuri was able to get out of debt and our partner atelier was able to help him set up his own workshop, which was his dream. In 2012 Yuri sadly passed away from a heart attack, leaving behind his wife and 5 young children. Since the workshop, under the guidance and certification of Atelier Ouest Inde, was his only source of income, the atelier helped guide his wife on how to take over the business and keep the workshop alive.
Today, the workshop is run by his two oldest sons in conjunction with Atelier Ouest Inde. They employ many artisans who still work to create the unique, handmade nose glasses-holder designed by Yuri all those years ago. While Yuri is no longer with us, his legacy and impact live on in this design—still as beautiful and modern as it was when he created it.
We are proud to partner with such caring, considerate, honest, and dedicated partner ateliers such as Atelier Ouest Inde. The story of the Nose Glasses holder is truly a testament to the long-term relationships and positive impact that fair trade can have on the lives of artisans worldwide.