I founded Talis in 2001 out of a deep wish to be an integral link in the process of elevating marginalized artisans out of poverty through their traditional handicrafts. My dream to start an import business grew out of my travels through Southeast Asia, India and Nepal starting in 1990. Building on a lifelong involvement in Buddhist culture, I was immediately drawn to these tribal peoples' expression of art through jewellery and textiles. I have been dedicated to preserving the indigenous art forms of Thailand and Cambodia by bridging traditional techniques with western aesthetics and establishing inroads to the larger western marketplace ever since. Talis has been following fair trade principles in its business practices since the very beginning and, as of January, 2018, it officially broadened the ranks of Fair Trade Federation Members.
Since 2003 Talis has travelled to Northern Thailand, and worked with the artisans of the Karen hill tribe people. This village has been making tribal silver jewellery since the 1970’s using traditional methods. I was enchanted by their beliefs in nature spirits that come through in their lyrical tribal jewellery. Upon discovering how this village was working as a Fair Trade co-operative it became clear that these were the people I would come to work with.
In 2009 Talis joined Faces of Fair Trade, a group of socially concerned entrepreneurs based in Toronto, Canada that follow Fair Trade principles in various countries all over the world. At that time, I met Diane Strong, the owner of Cambodhi Silks, and one of the group's founders. Diane and I shared a common passion to help and empower women, and to seek spiritual growth in Southeast Asian Buddhist countries.
I had the pleasure of working side by side with Diane extensively over the next four years. In January of 2013 Diane chose to retire, and I had the privilege of becoming the owner and sole supplier of Cambodhi Silks. Having worked solely with silver for so long, I was thrilled to be once again surrounded by the colours and textures of all the textiles, one of my early passions.
Following the motto "Fair trade for the people - fair trade for the planet", I have been always actively looking for new lines of products that are made of reclaimed or reused materials. Every single time I went to Cambodia I was attracted to the accessories made of re-purposed netting. I loved how upscale and elegant they were and I would always go to the same shop and take their contact information. However, I had just started working with Cambodhi Silks producers and I wanted to cement our business relationship and secure sustainable supply chain first.
A few years had passed before I felt confident to expand Talis offer by products made of netting. During my buying trip in 2017 I placed my first order with Peace Handicrafts. Talis is now the exclusive supplier of re-purposed net products for Canada.
I invite you to become the next link in the chain, a participant in this worthy endeavour - a catalyst in the evolution of the fair trade movement.
Sylvia Biro Price