Lisa and I were so excited when ISHKAR agreed to work with us. For us they represent a very special approach to sustainability and high ethical standards. ISHKAR was launched in 2016 by Flore de Taisne and Edmund Le Brun after having lived in Afghanistan for three years. Their aim was to create a brand that would redefine the way the world saw countries torn apart by war. Initially doing this through a curated collection of high-end craftsmanship from conflict zones, ISHKAR's work has since expanded to hosting informative events and organising pioneering trips to destinations such as Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraqi-Kurdistan. We encourage you to engage with ISHKAR's events, which are always a truly enriching experience, and when this current global crisis is over we hope to see you on one of their amazing trips, too.
ISHKAR and our key values:
What are the three things about ISHKAR that make your heart sing?
- The way in which these objects are able to tell unexpected stories. Stories of an individual, stories of a country, and stories that can help to change perceptions of regions that have been affected by conflict.
- The fact that through the work we do we can help to preserve tradition and craft that might otherwise be lost.
- The incredible skill and craftsmanship of the artisans with whom we work.
What are the sustainable and ethical focal points of ISHKAR?
ISHKAR’s work focuses on people and cultural heritage. The objects we sell have been handcrafted in places that are, or have been, affected by conflict or political turbulence. Cut off from international markets and unable to sustain their businesses, many artisans have downed their tools. By supporting these artisans we are able to bring vitality to our shared global heritage.
Do you have a signature product, something that really sums up what ISHKAR is about?
ISHKAR Glassware. For two thousand years, Herat’s distinctive coloured glass was traded along the length of the Silk Road. The artisans that we work with are some of the last in this ancient line of glassblowers. In a mudbrick workshop at the base of Herat’s ancient citadel, their work is keeping this precious industry alive. Through ISHKAR we are able to create vital market access for these artisans.
What about Plum & Belle feels like it has particular synergy with ISHKAR?
The belief that through small business and conscious trade we can have a positive impact.
What would you consider the business’s greatest success so far?
Building a great team, and that the work we do together contributes to the artisans with whom we work being able to employ more people and generate sustainable livelihoods!
What are the future aims for ISHKAR?
With exciting projects on the horizon in Yemen and Myanmar, we are always looking to expand our offering and develop product ranges in new regions, showcasing diverse craft processes and materials.
Across ISHKAR's site you can see various references to Turquoise Mountain, so we were fascinated to learn more about them and their relationship to ISHKAR, too. Turquoise Mountain was founded in 2006 by HRH The Prince of Wales to revive historic areas and traditional crafts, to provide jobs, skills and a renewed sense of pride.
Since 2006, amongst other amazing works, Turquoise Mountain has trained over 6,000 artisans and supported and generated over $15.5 million in sales of traditional crafts to international clients, including Kate Spade, London’s Connaught Hotel and now Plum & Belle through ISHKAR.
Flore and Edmund both worked with Turquoise Mountain when they were based in Afghanistan. Through these relationships, they have worked closely with the organisation since ISHKAR's inception and now produce many of their product lines through Turquoise Mountain.
To see ISHKAR's full collection, just click here.