Lydali is an online store that sells ethically produced unique pieces from around the world. Based in San Francisco, founders Ali Price and Lydia Harter work closely with talented artisans and take us (the consumer) behind the scenes by introducing us to the producers. We got a chance to speak to Ali to learn more about the company’s roots and find out what we can expect from Lydali in the years to come.
How did the idea for Lydali come about?
My background is in microfinance and microenterprise, and the idea for Lydali came to me when I was traveling with my former employer, Kiva, in Indonesia. I had always been interested in how fashion and international development could intersect, and as I was meeting with artisans and entrepreneurs in Bali, I started to see a real need for a website that brought together products from around the world that would normally only be available to travelers who stumbled across these artisans and their products. Back home in San Francisco, I talked to my friend who had a background in e-commerce at a large home furnishings company, and together, we got started working on Lydali.
Why the name Lydali?
Lydali is actually a combination of the two names of the co-founders – Ali and Lydia. We came up with the name Lydali after trying a zillion other names that didn’t work, either because the website URL was unavailable or it didn’t sound right. We wanted a name that had a global chic feel, and when we landed on Lydali, it felt like a good fit.
Did you face any obstacles setting up business foundations in different countries?
So far, we’ve only set Lydali up as a business in California, and we’ve simply partnered with artisan producers from small businesses and co-ops in 25 different countries around the world. That’s made it really easy for us to scale up quickly, and we didn’t face all the challenges of setting up groups and headquarters in all the countries we work in. Our biggest challenges have been figuring out how to scale with all of these different groups.
What has been Lydali’s greatest achievement?
Our greatest achievements have been building connections that wouldn’t have existed outside of our website – linking people here in the western world with men and women from all over who are making beautiful products but have limited access to western markets.
How important is Ethical manufacturing to Lydali and how do you infuse it into your business practices?
Ethical manufacturing is hugely important to us. We operate Lydali under the belief that the retail landscape is poised for change, as consumers are starting to think more about where their products are coming from, who is affected by what they buy, and how they can act ethically, responsibly, and sustainably with their shopping. We are careful about who we partner with, and we believe it’s important to share the stories of the individuals behind the products we sell. We have information about the artisans we work with on each product page, as well as in blogs and other sections of our website.
Where do you see Lydali in 5 years?
We envision Lydali becoming a large retailer, partnering with hundreds of talented artisans around the world to help provide them with an outlet to sell the products they create.
Anything thing else you’d like to share with Akatasia readers?
We’ve been so inspired by connections that people have made with us throughout the early days of our business. If you have ideas of groups we should be working with who are making incredible products, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What can we expect to see from Lydali in future?
We’re working on designing and launching our own line of products, collaborating with a few of the artisan groups that we’re already working with. Keep checking back… there’s lots of exciting stuff coming!
You can get in touch with Lydali via the following links:
Images Courtesy of Lydali