Ethiqana is starting an artisanal revival in the world of children’s toys and other homewares and accessories.
This social enterprise works with small artisan producers, known as Ethiqana’s Artisan Heroes, carefully selected based on the eco-friendliness of their methods and the need for creative and economic empowerment.
These include the famous toymakers of Channapatna, India, who create colourful, tactile and durable wooden toys following fair trade values. These toys are 100% natural, handmade from sustainably grown wood and coloured with natural non-toxic dyes from plant-based sources.
A huge part of Ethiqana’s mission is to preserve traditional, nearly-extinct art and craft techniques. Many of the toys are made using methods passed down through generations of artisans over the course of 200 years.
By preserving these traditional techniques, Ethiqana challenges modern manufacturing methods and provides sustainable livelihoods to the artisans.
They also strive to give their Artisan Heroes opportunities to travel and connect with a worldwide audience. This helps makers evolve their art and practices, which is key to preserving them for the future.
The seed for Ethiqana was planted in founder Arshad Khalid’s mind when he was just 12 years old. He saw how Indian farmers were helped by co-operatives, as well as how the traditional crafts and techniques of artisans were in decline as cheap plastics became the norm.
After more than two decades working in IT, Arshad returned to his childhood idea and made it a reality in 2016. When he saw how the livelihoods of the famous toymakers of Channapatna in the south of India were impacted by cheap plastic toys, he decided they would be the first artisans Ethiqana worked with.