How Wray Crafted began and why community is so important to us

Wray Crafted is in some ways, many years in the making and in other ways still a work in progress. But one thing is for certain, we would not be here if not for the generous, amazing community that we’ve met.

The idea for Wray started as something we kicked around as we thought about what else we wanted to do besides our full-time jobs. We knew some things for sure; 

  1. We wanted to start something that wasn’t simply profit driven and that would allow us to contribute to something larger than just selling products to people

  2. The the brand should be one that focused on the real people that made the pieces, placing emphasis on their skills and talent

Blending those two things with our shared interest in the interconnectivity of the world and communities we live in, and Justine’s background as a ethical fashion designer, and voila - our goal emerged; We were going to start an ethical fashion label. 

Big plans for 2 people that didn’t even (and still don’t) live in the same country. Lots of emails and whatsapps ensued, and then in mid-2019, it all started to come together. 

Justine had just completed her move to Udaipur and I had just bought my plane ticket to fly over from Singapore to work on the brand and meet the producers we would be working alongside. 

Just two days after I had booked my plane ticket, I attended an event organised by Zerrin. It was a panel event featuring ethical fashion brand founders sharing their journeys in setting up their brands. Not knowing what to expect,I headed down to find myself amongst some of the warmest, most generous people. The founders were steadfast in their commitment to doing their part to help make fashion more purposefully while also being forthcoming about challenges, not afraid to share missteps and most importantly, were encouraging of attendees looking to start their own brands and people who had questions about ethical fashion.

It was also really heartening to see that everyone there was interested in learning more about how to reconcile our love for pretty things with the impact our buying has on the environment and garment making communities. 

It was kismet, this was a community we wanted to be part of. 

Filled with this renewed assurance that the universe was giving us a sign, we set out planning with vigour. Once together in Udaipur, we surrounded ourselves with post-its and mindmaps and spent any spare moment we had trying to figure out all the bits and pieces we needed to come together - What did we want Wray to stand for? Who were we making products for? How low impact could we make our production? What styles we were making…

We worked alongside a community of talented artisans and entrepreneurs to sketch designs, make patterns, select fabric and watched happily as our first production run was completed.

Then, just as sales started coming in for our first collection - India’s first round of Covid lockdowns hit. With Udaipur facing strict lockdown measures, all our stock was stuck there. As we sheepishly told customers about the wait, we were greeted with utmost understanding and support; showcasing to us once again that we were surrounded by a community of amazing people. 

To be completely honest, the pandemic has changed the way we intended to run Wray Crafted. If we had it our way, we would love to be able to meet more of you in person. 

Fortunately for us, through the wonders of technology, we’ve still managed to get to know some of you and continue building a little community of our own. And in the way only fate could orchestrate, things have come full circle; through Zerrin Lounge (our physical stockist) we’ve had the chance to actually meet some of you in person.

As a salute to the magic of community and a reminder that we are not alone in exploring our place in this world and what brings us joy, we’ll be introducing some of the amazing women we’ve had the pleasure of crossing paths with to you. Stay tuned!

- Nicolette & Justine 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Wray Crafted