May, a frequent traveller who constantly seeks to experience life outside her comfort zone, was travelling in Manali, India, when she chanced upon a jewellery shop. Crystals and stones became her best friends (and the shopkeeper too!), and her newfound fascination egged her towards setting up her own brand — Tesselate. Co.
Combining business and travel, Tesselate. Co’s handmade and handpicked accessories feature stones with healing properties, and uses the finest materials of 925 Sterling Silver and Brass. However, her love for jewellery was not the only thing May stumbled upon during her travels. She also got to know Fior Di Loto, a non-profit organisation in India that improves the lives of over 500 village girls.
As a strong believer in giving back to society, the opportunity to combine her passion with doing good was definitely the universe’s way of telling her to pursue what her heart truly desired. As of 2016, Tesellate. Co have sponsored the education of two girls for a period of five years!
We talk to May about Tessellate. Co’s partnership with Fior Di Loto, and her Howlite Collection.
Hi May! Tell us how you became acquainted with Fior Di Loto and their work.
I was in India, and heard a lot of good things about Fior Di Loto from the locals, so I visited the school to take a look for myself. I met the girls there, who are all really polite and warm, and saw how the organisation operated. I trust that Fior Di Loto will do their best for these village girls, and I feel comfortable working with them!
How was the atmosphere and culture in Fior Di Loto?
The students show a lot of love for one another, as well as respect for the teachers and volunteers. They learn a lot of things in school that build their knowledge and confidence. For instance, they start with meditation in the morning before having various subject classes (English, Math, Science, Arts) and sometimes get to learn third languages from the volunteers that come from other countries.
The donation goes to a lot of different things, such as the girls’ education fees (the girls receive free education, materials and are provided with lunch and transport) as well as food rations for the less privileged families. Fior Di Loto also improves the villages by building wells for the community as well as houses for the poor, and offers medical treatment for the sick.
Tell us more about Durga, the girl you’ve sponsored.
Compared to her peers, Durga is quite the introvert. She is one of the best students in class, and is very hardworking. She loves to draw, and has many books which are filled with her illustrations! She even sent me some of her drawings; feel really touched and proud to receive them.
Why is education important?
Education develops one’s character and mentality. In India, education is one of the key factors in helping people break out of their poverty cycle. I’ve heard that some of the girls graduate from Fior Di Loto and move on to become teachers, nurses and even doctors. All these would not be possible if they were not provided with education.
Although there are free public schools available in India, it is difficult for these village girls to get transport into town. A lot of them miss the chance to go to schools for this very reason. This is where Fior Di Loto comes in, to provide education and transport for the girls. I am so happy and proud of Durga, as she is doing very well in school and is likely to better her job prospects in the future.
You’ve chosen the Howlite gemstone, as the star of your latest collection. What do you love about it?
I wanted to create a minimalist collection, and I found Howlite to be perfect due to its simplicity and elegance. Howlite is also known to be a stone with calming properties, and it helps wearers to relax and be at peace with themselves.
Tell us more about the fair trade artisans aspect of your business.
Most of the artisans I work with actually work from home, and run their own business instead of working in big factories that might underpay them. In our discussions, they have the final say on whether they want to take up the job or not, and they quote the fees for their work. This allows them to have better working conditions and receive fair wages. I find this to be a sound business model as it is more sustainable in the long run.
Be sure to check out updates on Tessellate’s full range of collections at their online store.