The China Indigo team is familiar with China and the ethnic minorities where we spend several months a year.
After living in China and building intimate relationships in a Miao village, we have established a partnership with all the craftsmen of this village of Guizhou and that is how we offer you a wide range of their traditional craftsmanship in a totally equitable and supportive spirit.
The Miao, our privileged partners, living in the mountains away from tourist routes and not speaking English at all, even for some not even Mandarin, still have little contact with foreigners and their crafts are largely unknown outside Chinese borders. By offering them a window on the Western world, we contribute together to the maintenance and development of this ancestral art of jewellery, men's work, and embroidery, a traditional activity of women who still make and wear their embroidered costumes.
The absence of intermediaries and the mutual trust that is at the basis of this fair trade allow us to offer you competitive prices for original and authentic products. The distribution and sale of their handicrafts abroad allows the Miao to perpetuate their art and increase their standard of living which is still very dependent on subsistence farming.
Your contribution to this intercultural exchange, through the purchase of their products, reinforces their pride in being appreciated outside their community and allows them to develop their natural creativity.
Véronique, the founder of China Indigo, tells us her story :
"After 10 years of teaching Qi Gong in France, I felt the need to go back to the roots of my practice and move to China to find a teacher in Qi Gong and Tai Ji Quan, to deepen my knowledge of the Chinese internal arts. So I moved to Kunming (Yunnan) where I found a master and learned Mandarin. It was in 2005.
I have been - and still am - fascinated by this part of China, beautiful, authentic and rich of diverse cultures that intermingle with the presence of many ethnic minorities. My many trips brought me to meet the Naxi, the Moso, the Bai, the Yi, the Dai, the Lisu ....
A meeting was decisive and changed my life, that of a young woman named Liu Jie belonging to the Miao people. A strong friendship was formed immediately and thanks to her and her family, I discovered the culture and life of the Miao from within. After a few years of stays with them more or less long, at the rate of visas granted by the government and also money that I managed to put aside (difficult or impossible for a Western to earn money in living with the Miao), I looked for the means at my disposal to help them out of poverty and to promote this beautiful culture that is reflected in their jewellery and their embroidery, living illustration of a know-how and a ancestral crafts.
In 2009, I created Chine Indigo, with the aim of selling Miao crafts in France, spreading their culture and bringing all the craftsmen of my village to life. If I had been told 10 years ago that I was going to trade ... I would have laughed heartily and besides, I did not know anything about it. I, the literary person nourished with spirituality and energy, here I had to confront the matter and the money that represented until then the source of all the evils of this earth! Confront myself with sales, import, customs, management ...!
I can say that we evolved together, my Miao village and me: me by gradually learning all the secrets of the trade and developing my small business to create a company and the Miao by structuring and modifying some of their practices to match western quality criteria.
I did not want to intervene in creation so as not to pollute them with Western inspiration and distort their creativity. I made only one exception but this has deeply renewed their craft. In 2012, during a stay there, during an informal discussion with Liu Jie, we imagined a bracelet with embroidery - must say that I am a fan of their embroidery and I could not help but to buy beautiful pieces, baby carriers, jackets or skirts, for my personal pleasure. This first bracelet, it is the father of Liu Jie who realized it. It was in volume, not practical, cumbersome and hardly portable but the idea was born and the creativity of the craftsmen was then expressed and ultimately created a real rich collection of many models.
During my annual trip to the village in 2018, I had the opportunity to participate in a traditional festival where the women dressed their best, in beautiful costumes, and I was very moved to see several women wearing embroidered earrings. This creation has been adopted and integrated and it is an immense satisfaction for me.
Since 2013, I have also solved a contradiction that disturbs my ecological conscience: I help a minority, but it is at the other end of the world and I consume a lot of carbon to bring their products to our home in France. I know that all do not have these scruples but it is time that the trade is made with conscience. So I chose to calculate my carbon consumption for my travels and my air freight and compensate for it by making a corresponding contribution to the NGO GOOD PLANET, chaired by Yann Arthus-Bertrand, who invests this money towards ecological projects for developing countries. Phew!
My story with the Miao is not over and then I want it to be written in big: the needs are huge and sometimes essential, like a well in the village of origin of Liu Jie's family where there are about fifteen families, or the education of young people who want to go beyond college. My personal means are not enough, so I create an association to federate goodwill and attack other projects to help the Miao, or why not other minorities. "
OUR VALUES AND OUR COMMITMENTS.
u Respect of our clients : every customer participates in every purchase to support the Miao, we consider you as partners, and we do everything to make you happy and proud to wear our jewellery. We are listening to all your individual requests and will do our best to satisfy them.
u Fair Trade: We cooperate with all the jewellery craftsmen of a Guizhou village. The price charged by the craftsmen is paid without bargaining. The relationship of mutual trust guarantees us fair and equitable prices for all. We work directly, without intermediary, with Liu Jie and her father who form a kind of informal cooperative for collecting jewellery made in the village.
u We go at least once a year to the craftsmen. This strong link allows them to ensure a serious, conscientious production. We are constantly working with them to improve quality, however we want to keep the artisanal side of the production. The jewels are not standardized.
u No child works in production.
u Ecological commitment: every year, we calculate the carbon consumption emitted by the trips necessary for our activity (air tickets and air freight) and we pledge to pay the corresponding sum to an NGO that compensates with ecological investments for our planet, currently GOOD PLANET which devotes 85% of its resources to actions in the field.
u We want to be eco-responsible and in this perspective, we are constantly thinking about our impact on the planet. That's why we chose to limit our packaging: no nice little pocket that immediately goes to the trash (the jewellery is sent in a simple silk paper but we gladly make a gift wrapping in kraft paper) and we have a partnership with the post office of the village to recover their small boxes (of forms of recommended, colissimo etc) which serve us to send you your orders except counter-order on your part.
u For the bags and accessories that come from the Hmong of Northern Thailand, we work directly with small Hmong workshops that we know well and we check the working conditions that are applied.
u Our personal commitment to the Miao is not enough anymore, we also pledge to donate some of our profits to an association that will initiate projects benefiting a wider audience than simply craftsmen and their families to lead by example and encourage our customers do the same.
By buying on CHINA INDIGO, you take part in a real step that aims at trading differently, with moral and spiritual values which, we hope, will help to improve our world that needs it!