Today we’d like to introduce you to Dawn Schuster.
Dawn, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I started The Rags Tribe (www.theragstribe.com) a Fair Trade boho clothing brand to empower brave women who have been rescued from sex trafficking.
We give them the skills and opportunities to start new lives. And the girls make all of the one of a kind garments for me.
In return, the exquisite, handcrafted clothing they create will make those who buy The Rags Tribe pieces feel beautiful, confident and proud. My dream is to create a tribe of women worldwide who make each other feel fabulous!
So, how did it all begin? Well, one day, I was scrolling through Instagram and I came across a post in ‘Official Humans of Bombay’ of a woman around my age sewing. I clicked on it and saw that she had been rescued by an amazing organization, Purnata (www.purnata.org) from the dangerous Red Light District in Mumbai and brought to safety. She was then trained to sew. I immediately contacted the organization who said that they were looking for a small company to work with who could employ the girls – it was perfect! A month later, I was on a flight to Mumbai to set up the workshop!
Has it been a smooth road?
Amazingly, everything has been incredibly smooth. From the moment that I arrived in Mumbai at the charity Purnata, I felt welcomed and loved. Meeting the girls was an incredible and very emotional moment for me. Hearing their horrific stories was truly heartbreaking but their strength and determination to make new lives for themselves were (and still is) so inspiring and gave me even more determination to make The Rags Tribe succeed. I write about their stories in detail in my blog which you can see from my website.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
The Rags Tribe is a bohemian Fair Trade clothing brand, which makes one of a kind kimonos, dresses, skirts and pants. All fabrics are sourced by me from around India and are made from vintage silks and handmade, hand stitched fabrics, not one piece is the same.
I am most proud of being able to pay fair wages to the amazing women that work for me. This is enabling them to move to safer areas to live, look after their children and look to the future with hope. I am also very proud that the women that buy The Rags Tribe pieces feel fantastic, unique and special. In terms of the garments themselves, each one is like a piece of art and no two pieces are the same.
I think that what sets The Rags Tribe apart is that it is a particularly personal project. I am involved with every single step of the company, including the photoshoots, design, and production. I travel back and forth from India and when there I spend a lot of time in the Red Light Area. I get to know the women and children who still live there. I have made these women a promise that they too can escape to lives of freedom and work for me, and my dream is to build my business to employ as many of them as possible and give them hope.
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
I think LA is the city of dreams, and from the time I have spent in LA myself, the energy is strong and makes you feel more determined to succeed. LA is also the perfect climate for The Rags Tribe garments. The boho scene has grown massively in LA also in recent years.
- Kimonos: $150-$180
- Skirts: $90
- Pants: $80
- Website: www.theragstribe.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: theragstribe
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theragstribe/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/theragstribe