As we come toward the end of 2016 we thought it was about time to say a massive thank you to our fabulous team who, along with the brilliant production and logistics team in Madagascar, have all helped in many different ways and have all played an integral part in making up the Ravinala community.
Together we have all made it possible to deliver a fabulous eye-catching collection of stunning hand crafted pieces recognised for their qualities, that can be genuinely called ethical, hand crafted and fair-trade from the raffia roots upwards, and have happily sat alongside other major high street and premium collections. We hope we have inspired many more businesses and individuals to consider the true value and source of their wears before they buy, and to include ethical quality as a standard requirement in their daily choices.
From supportive stockists, to website designers, and inspirational stylists, to talented models, and to a dedicated whatever-it-takes-to-get-the-shot photographer, to the busy bodies around the office, and production workshops who just get things done and make Ravinala a fantastic place to work, we are very grateful for each and every person who has made the last year so enjoyable and worthwhile. Unfortunately there are too many to list in person, but you know who you are, so thank you, for everything. Here's to the next year and new collection (available for wholesale trade to order online now)!
Its finally here! The Ravinala team have been beavering away on something exciting and here's a sneak preview. The new collection has some fantastic new pieces that exude the style, ethos and inspiration of Ravinala and we hope you will love it just as much as we do.
If you're a current stockists, or interested in becoming a stockists and working with us, please get in touch and we'll happily send you a copy of the new 2017 lookbook in the post or by email. You can also preview and pre-order the full wholesale collection in the trade area online.
Keep an eye out for more info and designs in the coming months. The new collection is available to pre-order now for delivery from February 2017 onwards.
Meet Jermain. He's the man who supplies all the raffia for our crochet bags.
Jermain and his team dye all the raffia in batches by hand using traditional artisan methods. With a background in chemical engineering, his attention to detail and exacting standards mean his raffia colour dyeing is second to none!
Here's a few photo's of Jermain and his team at work.
Natural raffia, ready to be dyed.
Powdered dyes, weighed and ready to be used.
The dye is added to large steel pots full of water over an open fire ready for the raffia
Raffia is added to the water/ dye solution and boiled over an open fire. Jermain and his team keep a close eye on the raffia, stiring and checking at regular intervals.
Dyed raffia is dried in the sunshine on the grass outside Jermain's workshop.
All the raffia is weighed in bundles and bagged up ready to be delivered to our crochet team.
Here's a little video showing what goes into preparing and dyeing the natural Madagascan raffia for our bags and hats. For best results watch full screen, enjoy.
Here's a little video showing what goes into making each and every wooden button and toggle on our bags. For best results watch full screen, enjoy.
Marthe has been with us from the very beginning and was one of our very first makers, she now works as a teacher in our on site pre-school, which many of our staff team's children attend.
Marthe also runs craft classes open to the local community, and for our new team members, teaching them the production skills they'll require to work with Ravinala. Grateful for the opportunities she's received through working with Ravinala over the last 10 years, Marthe loves the fact that she can now invest in others too.
Marthe teaching some of our current trainee basket makers.
Playing tennis with some of our pre-school children.
Amongst other things, Robb Research make children's educational app's for tablet computers under the name 'Unit 11 Apps'. They asked if it would be helpful to the school if they were to donate a number of tablets pre-loaded with their educational app's. And they very kindly gave us one to take with us to see what the children and teaching staff thought.
Many of the children of our team of artisan makers' attend the school and pre-school, which is on the same site as our Ravinala workshop. The school aims to provide the children with the highest standard of education possible and the pre-school is already being recognised nationally as one of the best in Madagascar. The school is funded entirely through charitable giving and the children receive their education for free. As such the idea of purchasing tablets for our students is a distant dream, so the prospect of having some donated was very exciting indeed!
The children at our pre-school and primary school all learn in Malagasy, French and English. They cover a broad curriculum of subjects including computing, which up until now has been on second hand lap tops and old desk top machines that have been donated by people in the UK when they've upgraded to a newer computer.
The feedback received from teachers and pupils alike was that the apps and tablets would make a huge difference for computing lessons, but also for other curriculum subjects like literacy and numeracy. We want to encourage and inspire our students to be all they can be, to broaden their horizons and to help them see the opportunities that may be available to them if they can get through school. Part of that means preparing them for a future where technology plays an increasingly important role.
Robb Research have kindly donated another 12 tablets loaded with app's and our teaching staff and students can't wait to start using them in the new year.
Thanks Robb Research!
If you'd like to find out more about the school, or even to find out how you might be able to help, please get in touch we'd love to hear from you.