Bobbi Paidel, founder of Tribe of lambs is a Canadian Nonprofit company working to empower and enrich the lives of at risk children in India. Through the sale of their ethically made, high quality jewelry line. Read more about Bobbi and her work!
How did you get involved with ethical and sustainable fashion?
I ended up in India for 7 months after I worked in the fashion industry in Toronto for a few years. I had become a bit jaded with the superficial and unethical sides of the mainstream fashion scene.
It wasn’t who I wanted to be, so I ended up in India. I was volunteering in an orphanage, when I really began to recognize the situation for children there. At the same time, I started working with jewellers and artisans making pieces of jewelry, clothing, and accessories. We decided to make a difference by having a crowdfunding campaign for the kids. The campaign was such a success we decided to launch a full non-profit. When I returned back to Canada, I partnered up with two friends Dani and Phil. Together we started what is now Tribe of Lambs.
What do you think is the most important part of ethical and sustainable fashion now, especially with being jaded?
People are focusing more on things that are organic, how they’re living their lives, and living in compassionate and meaningful ways. It is trickling down into ethical and sustainable fashion. People are really asking themselves important questions…Why does this shirt cost this much? Who made it?
Before, we never thought twice about it. It is an exciting time to be a part of sustainable fashion because it is progressing so quickly. People are turning towards that rather than bargain sales and mass produced products.
What was the origin of the title Tribe of Lambs for the company?
The name came from brainstorming with my friend Sarah who encouraged me in India (and also designed our logo and website with her company Superfein Creative Agency). The name stands for the tribe or the community that we’re building of conscious shoppers and people into social causes, and the togetherness.
The lamb is representative of the kids we’re supporting. Standing alone and; not supported, they can be weak and vulnerable, but together we can help empower them to have a strong and powerful life.
What are its feature products at the moment?
We have sold a lot a variety of jewelry and; accessories. However, we are currently streamlined to focus on rings. We use a motto: “One ring, one heart.” Each of our rings are named after children that we support so that we can honour their stories and; keep connected to our mission of supporting children living with HIV. We have unisex rings as well as bracelets, necklaces, tote bags, and scarves.
What other work are you involved in now?
Tribe of Lambs, as part our business model, focuses our funding on our Compassion Projects, which works for the support of at risk and HIV positive children through partnerships in India.
We are currently partnered with Ray’s Home for HIV Positive Children in Jaipur and together we have launched our 6th Compassion Project; the School Scholars Project. We’re raising $13,000 to send 54 kids to school for a year. That’ll be tuition, books, bags, and uniforms. Everything that they’ll need. We are at 65% of our goal since launching in the summer.
We also have a sponsor who is supporting our mission and projects. It’s a heating and plumbing company in London, UK called Ramki which is run by a friend of the Tribe who uses the buy1give1 model for his business.
The Compassion Projects are really what we’re focused on besides selling jewelry and fundraising initiatives to maintain a sustainable income for our organization
Where do you hope Tribe of Lambs goes in the future?
Our two big long-term goals are on either side of our business model. Firstly we would like to create our own jewelry cooperative in India to train and employ HIV positive men and women handcraft our designs and offer them independence through employment.
We are currently outsourcing our jewelry. I go there and design it, but I work with a small family operation who produce everything. I trust them completely to work very closely through the process but we want to offer the same opportunity to adults with HIV, as well as have complete transparency of our supply chain and production methods.
Our other goal in the next five years is to expand Ray’s Home. They currently have space for only 57 children, it is our goal is to help them increase the capacity by double or triple, as well as increase the living conditions of the children currently there. There are 3000 children living with HIV in Jaipur city alone, with enough housing for 200. It’s a scary statistic. We want to work to improve it.
Any thoughts or feelings in conclusion?
It is to have the opportunity to share our story and hopefully to inspire people to shop ethically with other products. There’s always an avenue online. Consumers have such options, limitless options, to buy products that are made ethically or have an after-impact.
You can buy something you’re going to buy anyways and can empower the life of somebody else while you’re at it. Why not do something good with the power that you hold when you purchase something?!
Thank you for your time, Bobbi.