New York — At this year’s NY NOW trade show [Jan 31-Feb 3 at the Javits Center] a unique company is spanning the worlds of modern fashion and ancient tradition by bringing together two cultures to make stunning designs and gifts a double blessing.
Matr Boomie – which means “Motherland” in Hindi is a boutique supplier that uniquely adapts authentic Indian styles to Western tastes. With each purchase of a Matr Boomie fashion accessory one is preserving future generations the unique beauty created by authentic Indian artisans.
Aspirational consumerism has become popularized with huge successes like Tom’s Shoes. But Matr Boomie goes several steps further in both fashion and social entrepreneurship. The company’s offices straddle two continents, with a boot in Austin and a sandal in Mumbai. It is a combination as unique as their vision.
“We have hundreds of examples of how dignity and success go hand-in-hand,” says Manish. “A community of jewelry makers in a low-income urban area of Delhi called us on the verge of giving up on their art form,” says CEO Manish Gupta. “Exploited and impoverished, their workshop was a small room in their house without even a single window. But they had pride in their art. That is the motivation we look for – we developed some products with them that did very well when launched. “Now they have thirty-five artisans working together and have actually bought their own airy workshop. With wages four times higher they are sending their children to school. One girl is already going to college, despite that not being the previous custom of their conservative Muslim community.”
Yet, while Matr Boomie is a mission-based company, their mission encompasses the creation of new designs that are stunning and attractive worldwide. Their lead designer, Ruchi Gupta, has dazzled consumers all over the world.
In India new artisans are being trained all over the country. Matr Boomie estimates that they have been able to help over a thousand artisans. This year’s main initiative is a partnership with Uncommon Goods – a health and sanitation program. Both companies give a dollar for every product sold that goes towards health checkups, disease testing, eyeglasses, and sanitation in artisan communities. As living conditions improve, master Indian artisans are able to concentrate on passing on their knowledge and raising up the next generation.
In America, Australia, and New Zealand Matr Boomie has gone beyond boho chic to create their own fashion category of Indian-Western fusion with a fair trade twist. Now, the little company started by the newlywed couple out of a small Houston apartment is supplying thousands of boutiques around the world.
What’s next for Matr Boomie? “While remaining committed to deepening our social impact, Matr Boomie is also ready to open the floodgates and bring their products to the larger marketplace,” says Manish. “We are looking to partner with larger retailers so more consumers can enjoy the kind of work that only traditional Indian artisans can produce.”