Wednesday, December 22, 2010

New beginnings

Vida Bags

The New Year is fast approaching, days will be getting longer and as we review the past year our thoughts are turning to new beginnings and the birth of the New Year.

In 2010, we strengthened our partnership with CARE. And the more we learn about CARE's key program areas, the more we support their efforts to address some of the most basic problems ... like Maternal Health. 

Here are some facts:
  • Every minute a woman dies during pregnancy and childbirth.
  • 99 percent of these deaths occur in the developing world and 80 percent are preventable.
  • Maternal mortality rates have not improved for 20 years.
  • Over half a million women die each year, 400 in the US alone, leaving more than a million children motherless and vulnerable.
  • Pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death and disability for women in developing countries.

And we are so inspired by the action Katherine Schwarzenegger has taken to support CARE and the White Ribbon Alliance in addressing this issue:

After attending a meeting between her mother, Maria Shriver and activist, Sarah Brown, Katherine Schwarzenegger was inspired to help address the issue of Maternal Mortality. Having had no prior knowledge of the overwhelming number of mothers and children that die of pregnancy and birth-related causes around the world, Katherine researched the devastating statistics – every minute one woman dies in childbirth and every year over 1 million children are left motherless.

Katherine decided to take action and the VIDA bag was born. VIDA means life in Spanish and the logo on the bag represents a mother (big heart) and a child (small heart). Sales of the bag benefit CARE and the White Ribbon Alliance, organizations that work to raise awareness of and address the problem of Maternal Mortality.   And the bags were crafted in India by women survivors of abuse and homelessness.

Join us in following Katherine Schwarzenegger’s inspiring lead and help save the lives of Mothers worldwide by purchasing a VIDA bag.


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Join us for a Holiday Celebration. December 13, 2010.

Join us for a festive evening -- drinks, nibbles and shopping! Featuring a new, unique collection of hand crafted creations ... wearable, functional and decorative.

when:      Monday, December 13, 2010, 5:00 - 9:00 pm
where:      Society of Illustrators 128 East 63rd Street (map)

This holiday season, Original Women is offering gifts in all price ranges that make the world more beautiful. We've traveled the globe to bring you new artistry from Chile, Argentina, Honduras, Burkina Faso, Congo, Haiti, Laos and India. Everyone on your list will be inspired by the artistry that improves lives, families and communities.

Can't wait or can't make it to our event?
Shop online and get a 10% discount!

Coupon Code: "HOLIDAYS!"
Valid for 10% off through 12.25.2010

Join us, celebrate and spread the joy!

Become a fan of Original Women on Facebook. We will be featuring special holiday offers and gifts, just for Fans!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Women's Conference

In late October we partnered with CARE at the Women's Conference in Long Beach, CA. Their mission "We empower women to be architects of change."

It was truly inspiring to hear the speakers and meet some of them.

And also to meet the women and men who attended the conference. From the speakers to the woman who recognized us from the More Reinvention Convention in NYC the week before to the women who learned about CARE and Original Women for the first time -- all made our trip to California an outstanding experience.

And the connections keep growing.
We just received and email from someone purchasing holiday gifts on our site.
She said: "... I met you at the Women's Conference... you have a wonderful organization!"

Thanks for the feedback!
It inspires us to keep going and to be the architects of an even more wonderful future.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Shop Original Women online from BLACK FRIDAY- November 26, on SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY Nov. 27 through CYBER MONDAY- NOV. 30, 2010.

Use coupon code SBS11.27.10 for 10% off your purchase.
Valid November 26th through November 30th.


We are thankful for ARTISANS AND ARTISTRY and all the rich and diverse beauty in the world that human hands create.


Saturday, November 17 is SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY, a day to support small businesses.

When we founded Original Women, we wanted to support small businesses around the world owned or run or that primarily employ women -- businesses where women have economic and creative opportunities to use their skills and geritage to improve their lives, families and communities.

One example is Lila in South Africa.

Lila, a Sanskrit word meaning ‘the play of universal creativity', was started by designer Manya as a small textile handcraft project in South Africa working with disadvantaged women. Lila enables the team of dedicated crafters to change their lives while developing skills. "At Lila creativity finds expression through many hands; customers who love and appreciate our products and the heartfelt diligence and willingness of our crafters."

So if you become swept up in the shopping excitement this weekend, we hope you will support Original Women and in doing so you helping to sustain small businesses like Lila, all around the world.

We think that is worth getting excited about!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010




HERE for our email announcement

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Celebrating Atistry @ FIFA

While many eyes are focused on the fields of play, others are reveling in the incredible artistry of South African women. ATASA Trust is hosting an exhibition of artisans' work. Stop by 54 Jeppe St, Mary Fitzgerald Square, Johannesburg to see the artistry of Ndebele artists, Lesotho handcrafts, fabulous beadwork and wooden products from the Wild Coast, Pondoland and work from northern KwaZulu Natal. Craft and art shown is predominantly made by women.

We are particularly fond of the traditional beaded necklaces. And if, like us , you are following the football from afar and can't get to the exhibition, do stop by our gallery for our selection of South African artistry.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Conscious consumption

A while back, we read a blog post by Seth Godin, where he commented on conspicuous consumption. He notes (emphasis is mine)

"Rich people will always indulge the desire to stand out, but I wonder if there's a new version:

Spending on and investing in time, not stuff.
And it's not so wasteful, this focus on craftsmen.
The new trend in spending money is to buy things that are painstakingly handbuilt instead of efficiently mass produced. It might not be a better price than what you could buy at Target, but the very fact that you can pay for an artisan to create it, an artist to design it, a talented worker to bring it to life--that act makes a powerful statement about what you can afford and what's important to you. Instead of a bigger house, it's a house that's built from scratch by craftsmen. Instead of a bigger steak, it's a handmade dish of local poached vegetables."

Thanks for expressing what is important to us. For us artistry is not a way to impress or show off; we believe in the inherent value of something hand crafted. It is conscious, thoughtful consumption.

Original Women celebrates the artistry of human nature -- all the creativity, thought, skill, effort, imagination, time and heart that goes into handcrafted creations. Artistry changes lives and communities, connects people and expresses the cultural richness of our planet. 

Friday, April 2, 2010


We met Shaune at the MORE Reinvention Convention in Washington D.C.

Shaune is a very talented professional makeup artist and has a wonderful perspective on beauty. She did the makeup for the speakers and presenters at the event. They all looked terrific. (I'm hoping she'll do our makeup next time we meet ...)

And she has a great blog, Blended Beaute filled with interesting tips, comments and thoughts and fablous visuals!

Shaune returned home and bought another recycled billboard bag.

She just emailed us:
"I just received the cosmetic bag and it is too cuuuuuuuuuuuute!!! OMG! Talk about one of kind and gorgeous. I can't wait to feature it on the blog since it's Earth Month too .... You all are truly my latest favorite online stop. I look forward to trying more unique pieces from your company."

THANKS Shaune!
We strive to make the world more harmonious, happy and beautiful! We know you do too!
And your enthusiasm and beauty keep us all Celebrating the Artistry of Human Nature!

Monday, March 29, 2010


Recently we met Sandra Niessen, a freelance anthropologist who just published a book on the Batak textiles of Indonesia. At 568 pages and the culmination of 30 years of work, all we can say is WOW! Of course I carried the very heavy book with me all day long and spent hours into the dawn reading and studying the beautiful images.

Our conversation was wide ranging and generated so many ideas of ways to collaborate. Our most ambitious: plan a conference on preserving living weaving traditions. So all my weaving friends in India, Guatemala, Peru, Laos and Borneo: Save some room on your calendar for 2011!

And with all the reinvention we've been thinking about, we talked about how traditional weavers can keep their art alive and evolving ...
Any thoughts?

Friday, March 5, 2010

Earthquakes and REinvention

Earthquakes are shaking our planet and people in two countries are faced with literally rebuilding their foundations.

We are getting ready to go Washington DC to participate with CARE in the expo @ the More Magazine Reinvention Convention. There, women will gain new perspectives and be inspired to re-invent some aspect of their lives -- health, finances, career, family ....

Which is why we've been thinking a lot about REINVENTION again.

It requires us to look at aspects of our lives and our world that seem reliable and solid in a new way. The ground can literally disappear from under our feet.

It takes courage, flexibility and sometimes tenacity and resiliency.
It takes dedication and it is much easier with optimism and a sense of humor.

Reinvention is an ever-ongoing process.
Maybe it happens daily, in small ways.
Maybe it is evolution?

Maybe that is why when we look at the artistry of many of our artisans we are deeply inpsired. They create beauty out of discards, remnants and leftovers. And in each piece, we see the transformation. Their artistry presents us with a new of seeing.

And that is a beautiful gift that helps us to reinvent our world.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010



I just went to a delightful and insightful presentation by David Wolfe, Creative Director of the The Donegar Group.

He quoted some amazing statistics:

Women in the US, aged over 50 make or control over $19 Trillion (just how many zeros is that???) and spent over $19 Billion on apparel in one year!

So this year, let's get those insightful, caring and dedicated over 50 year olds to spend and direct a bigger portion of that Purse Power towards artisans and sustainable, artisan products that make the world more Happy, Harmonious and Beautiful!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Thursday, January 14, 2010


We are so saddened by the news of the earthquake in Haiti. This country, the poorest in the western hemisphere, has been struggling to get a firm footing. Now the ground has literally been pulled out from under their feet and survival is the immediate concern. As we have seen from the all the haunting images of the destruction and human suffering - water, food, medical care and sanitation are critical needs that will help the survivors and prevent the situation from deteriorating.

We are helping by donating to CARE and so can you. Just go to: and click on the Donate Now button.

They have been in Haiti since 1954, have a team of over 130 people there and are expert in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

We've been following updates on their website and on their fan page.

A number of our friends in the crafts/design field have worked with organizations in Haiti. We will be posting additional links to those organizations that will help with income generation as the immediate crisis subsides ...

Sunday, January 10, 2010


The New Year has started with a deep freeze blanketing the US and we've just seen this wonderful article in the WSJ about one of favorite groups, Kala Raksha.

In fact, Original Women launched our first in-person Celebration with Kala Raksha.

The design school for working, traditional artisans is having a real, positive impact: preserving traditions in a way that allows them to evolve and artisans to innovate,
artisans are proud of their skills and talents, and communities are earning more income!

One of our favorite Kala Raksha products are these beautiful and warm shawls. Based on traditional Rabari wedding veils, they are resist dyed on a ground of finely woven wool (which is made by another artisan group in another part of India). The vibrant embroidery is enhanced with mirror work, all very skillfully and artfully positioned on the shawl.

Click HERE to view and purchase ....