It's a sweet & spicy story...
Lindsay Jones was raised in beautiful British Columbia, Canada and moved to Victoria on Vancouver Island in 2001 to follow her creative business spirit and big city dreams. She's a self taught designer, entrepreneur, artist and passionate world traveler.
The Ah-Ha moment that defined the next 20 years happened while traveling in India and becoming friends with a local family with three brothers all very close to her own age. The discussion over many (many many) small clay cups of Chai Tea she learned that they were struggling with the small tailor shop owned by the family and could not make ends meet, which meant one would have to leave the family circle and find different work. The desire to help with a long term solution to keep the family together, along with a spark of inspiration meant one more important family meeting, surrounded by stacks of used silk saris and sitting on the tailor shop floor (with more Chai)! She shared with them a possible solution "let’s work together to create a simple clothing line and I'll bring the garments back to Canada and share with friends and family." As they say… the rest is history!
The first line was a big success, sweet and spicy with a balance of East and West. This blend of the brother’s expertise in precise tailoring and Lindsay's eye for fabrics and design created a demand and “Chai Fashions” was born. 20 years later these same partners are thriving together, bonded forever now as family.
Our goal is to continue offering modern unique styles with careful attention to quality, creative details and versatility. Our hope is that everyone who wears Chai feels comfortable, balanced… and always a little sweet and spicy! Namaste.
In the very beginning Chai was imagined by four brave creatives, Lindsay and three brothers in a rural town in India. The local family lived in one small house, each brother with an entire family of their own but all living together under one roof with only a few rooms.
After only three years of working together with Lindsay the team in India were able to rent a small factory space and employ 15 more tailors. The excitement grew, Lindsay hand carted bags of garments back to Canada every year to fill fashion tents at the local markets and the summer dress designs became a hit! It didn't take long before a boutique was the next step because Lindsay's studio apartment was overflowing with silk kimonos (and her friends would always seem to stop by right before the weekend parties to get dressed - but that was one of the fun parts)!
Fast forward 10 years and the team in India was able to purchase land and build their very own fashion production house which now employs 50 local people. Chai is very proud that this part of the business is 100% owned and operated by the original three brothers that she shared those small cups of chai tea with all those years ago. The success continues and with your support the family has now also built a new three story home with plenty of space for each family on their own floor. They have room to thrive but still enjoy the family time under one roof!
Supporting creativity around the world!
This fashion business model is a creative solution that connects families and friends around the world to create an ethical collaboration where everyone grows together to create a positive outcome.
The garments bring joy, the locals generate much needed income, learn english and are trained with new skills to contribute as a team. This is a far cry from the corporate factory systems, we've re-imagined the process and now small businesses across the world from each other using technology to stay in touch and build something amazing together.
It’s been a dynamic journey with a few bumps in the road but one focus that's remained consistent from the very beginning is the importance of the environmental footprint created by our international partnership. There’s now a shared understanding about sustainability and creating as close to zero waste as possible in producing Chai garments. This was a new(ish) concept when Lindsay introduced it to the production team in India but that has developed into a deep rooted cause which has spread throughout their local community.
In fact, the idea to recycle and use the beautiful fabric scraps to create small items such as scrunchies and headbands comes from our team's integration of these belief systems.
Follow your bliss!
Chai was founded on a love for fashion, travel, and a commitment to family that celebrate the creativity of Eastern traditions. We're committed to making beautiful clothing with conscientious foundations because we CAN all grow together - our story is proof of that. We continue to source many unique, sustainable, and recycled fabrics, and develop positive relationships with everyone involved in the production of these beautiful collections.
All garments are sewn in India and Thailand to support small family owned production and design houses that provide ethical working conditions and fair wages to their employees - most who are extended family. It's important to our team that we continue to produce quality fashion with integrity, while ensuring the best possible environment for all the tailors that make them - it's teamwork.
We visit India each year and will continue to work closely with our Chai family for many years to come. Together we can change the relationship to throwaway, fast fashion culture and move toward more green solutions - the future of our planet depends on it. Stay tuned for more ways we will be working towards sustainability in 2021 ♡