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Artisanal Goods and the Story Behind Them

Artisanal Goods and the Story Behind Them

Artisanal Goods and the Story Behind Them

Who

Sheeva Sairafi, founder of Local + Lejos, an artisan marketspace

Designer
Where

Sheeva Sairafi's California home, designed by Homepolish's Haley Weidenbaum, is a trove of artisanal pieces. In a three-part series, she tells us about the products in the space and the story behind them.

Photos by Tessa Neustadt.

When Homepolish designer Haley Weidenbaum finished designing my California Spanish-style home, she captured exactly what I wanted in my home with a simple phrase: “Each room tells a story.” But I would take it even a step further, saying, “Each piece of décor tells a story.” If you look around my home, many of the products are sourced from artisans across the globe.

I was born with an innate curiosity about other cultures, and even as a child, I was mesmerized by handcrafted goods I found during family travels. My company, Local + Lejos, was a natural combination of that love. Local + Lejos is a contemporary home décor company that works with artisans in developing nations to create modern product, using traditional techniques. The mission of the company is two-fold: provide accessible prices to consumers and support women artisans through sustainable work and empowerment training. And beyond that, it makes us more mindful of where we source our goods. Let’s start in my living room and delve into the stories behind the artisanal goods.

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You’ll notice the beautiful woven baskets on the wall. Handwoven in the hills of Rwanda, I had never seen such amazing weaving work until I met this group of artisans. Using all natural and sustainable materials, the baskets are made up of field grass and sisal, woven with traditional techniques.

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When people buy these baskets, the women artisans use the income from the sale to buy health insurance, animals for their farms, and school supplies for their children. For example, the Akazi Bowl pays for the health insurance of a family member for a whole year, and the Neri Tray allows an artisan to buy a chicken or rabbit for her farm (I’m not making this up!).

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Across the room from the baskets, I have two beautiful Cambodian throws in the corner. These beauties are made on a traditional foot loom in the outskirts of Siam Reap in Cambodia. You can see the intricate diamond details peeking through. This delicate weave takes over two weeks to make. Made out of 100% cotton, these throws are next level, and they make it undeniably hard to get off of my couch.

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Each sale of a Seka Throw allows our artisans to have enough income to pay for one month of electricity.

Check out the slideshow to see even more pictures of the faces behind Local + Lejos products.

In this tour:
Living Room