The Batik Boutique was founded in 2009 when Amy Blair, an American expat living in Malaysia, became friends with Ana, a single mother who was looking for more income to support her family. As they began brainstorming ideas, they decided to buy some batik fabric which Ana could sew into gifts for Amy to give to family and friends.
As word spread and demand for Ana and Amy's designs grew, The Batik Boutique was formed. Amy founded the business in the belief that women like Ana deserved the chance to earn a fair and sustainable income, and the ability to provide for themselves and their families.
The Batik Boutique works with more than 50 artisans, training women from low-income backgrounds to create fashion and accessories from batik fabric.
First, they work with artisan families in rural Malaysia to create batik textiles on natural fibres, including cotton and silk. This fabric is then sent to the Batik Boutique sewing centre, where it is transformed into bags, accessories and clothing.
We love that the Batik Boutique puts its artisans at the heart of their business - they established the sewing centre in the community where their artisans live, eliminating the need to travel long distances and giving people more time to spend with their family.
In addition to paying artisans fair wages, the Batik Boutique invests a portion of their profits back into artisan communities to provide health care, financial literacy and continuing education.
Empowerment is a central value of the Batik Boutique, reflected in the fact the seamstresses set their own wages and hours. Artisans are trained in business development and some have left to start their own business, growing the local economy and becoming part of the new generation of Malaysian female entrepreneurs.
Discover our Batik Boutique collection here.
All images courtesy of The Batik Boutique