Holi Boli Fashionz (Holi Boli) was created out of the mix of doing what you are passionate about and wanting to leave a positive footprint on this Earth.

Holi Boli began as an idea for empowerment through sewing classes as vocational training. There were a number of failures when the first class finished early because the owner sold the building. Two weeks into the second class Ana sat alone in our new building with no students wondering if the dream was all a big mistake – “what have I done?”

 Eventually, perhaps out of feeling sorry for the foreign lady walking to an empty sewing class, two village ladies turned up for class. It was a beginning. The smallest humblest type of beginnings. The class grew and the need for a translator was apparent with seven different languages were being spoken in one village. Friendships were formed and the first classes graduated. At our graduations the ladies tearfully tell stories of how their families were amazed that they had learnt to stitch and how they were able to work and contribute to their families. Holi Boli had begun. A small positive footprint had begun.

Negotiating the government offices to obtain the required permissions to run Holi Boli was a massive task especially outside of the main Indian cities (note that the latest Indian government is making huge strides to simplify the process). It was soon realised that even if the process was tedious we made some important relationships through it. Our sustainability in India begins in our relationships that we make. Trust is equally important on the production side of the fashion industry as it is on the retail side. Trust in India is gained in relationships, sitting and taking chai, having a house visit from the local police to dancing in the dust under the full moon at a village wedding. Holi Boli has gained trust in that we are what we say we are and do what we say we do. No hidden agendas. Holi Boli makes beautiful quality dresses and empowers women through vocational training and meaningful work.

It’s a beginning. Holi Boli hopes to increase the positive footprint. Selling more dresses equals more employment opportunities and more subsidies for students. To be a business that has a heart – to care. To profit our people. Holi Boli is just a drop in the ocean of change to build a better world. One drop by itself has little impact but many drops create a flood that changes the landscape. We are proudly a part of that movement.

Love your sisters!

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About the Author

Ana Wilkinson and her husband Daniel founded Holi Boli. Ana is passionate about fabrics, design and empowering women. Ana graduated from the College of Fashion and Design (now called Design and Arts College) in Christchurch, New Zealand in 1994. After a tour of India in 2006, it was time to realise her dream to create a company that offered the chance for women to have a respected niche in their village and money to feed their families. Holi Boli empowers women in villages through sewing training and employment.

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