This week’s brand highlight features Purnaa! Purnaa is a little different from the other companies I’ve mentioned because they produce custom items for other businesses. For instance, if you need a t-shirt made for an event, you can go to them and have it custom designed. But they also have a small line of items available at their store. What I love about this company is that they are a fair trade organization that focuses on how their employees are treated as well as their environmental impact. Check out my interview with Corban Bryant, the co-founder of Purnaa…
Tell me a little about yourself…
I’m Corban Bryant, from Colorado in the United States. I’ve lived in Nepal for 8 years with my wife and three kids and am the co-founder of Purnaa. We love living in Nepal and find the people here to be so amazing. It’s our pleasure to work with a number of wonderful staff members in our company.
What is your brand called and why did you name it that?
Our company is called Purnaa, which is a Nepali word that means whole or complete or perfected.
What does Purnaa make?
We are a contract cut-and-sew manufacturing company, which means we make many different products, most for other brands and according to their designs. We do, however, maintain a small Purnaa Collection of products, mostly bags and accessories that we sell in Nepal through our factory outlet and a few local retailers.
What inspired you to come up with Purnaa?
We are a social enterprise with a mission to create jobs that empower marginalized people to fresh starts and fulfilled lives. As such, we felt the name Purnaa was a fitting description of how we’d like to describe the wellbeing of people that work with us and our philosophy of doing business. We are a cut-and-sew factory because it is a highly labor-intensive business and our goal was to create good jobs in Nepal so fewer people felt desperate to look for work outside the country, which often makes them vulnerable to various forms of exploitation.
How are your items produced?
Our company is a member of the World Fair Trade Organization, so we run our organization according to fair trade principles, ensuring fair treatment of workers and care for the environment. We try to produce products as sustainably as we can. We source sustainable materials like organic cotton or bamboo, or recycled polyester from around Asia.
What makes Purnaa’s products special or unique?
Many of our customers submit one of a kind designs that they cannot get manufactured easily in other factories around the world. We’ve made many kinds of products from custom baby moccasins to stuffed animals to baseball caps and we walk our customers through a thorough product design process to make sure it’s exactly what they need for their market.
What is the price range of your items?
If you visit our factory outlets, you’ll find simple products like our new organic cotton washable face masks for Rs 200 (about $2 USD) up to fancy travel bags that retail for over $100 in the US.
How many people do you currently employ in Nepal?
We have about 75 people in the company.
Where can people buy your items?
You can find our items in our factory outlet in Bhaisepati, Timro Concept Store in Bakhundole, or the Five14 Guesthouse in Jhamsikhel. You can also find us on the Local Project’s Online Store and soon on Daraz.
What does the future hold for Purnaa?
We are always working to grow so that we can create more good jobs in Nepal. We are planning to set up a new digital printing production unit soon.
What is the best part of running your company?
The best part is watching people from marginalized backgrounds and often situations of significant abuse, find dignity in their workplace, new skills, and independence through a living wage. We love seeing people change their lives through the opportunity of a good job.
Check out Purnaa online…
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your brand?
We’d be happy to have guests at our factory. We give tours to teach people about fair trade business practices and how products are made. People can contact us at [email protected] with questions.
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Michelle Della Giovanna
Writer at Full Time Explorer
I’m just your average New Yorker who quit her job in the fashion industry to explore the world. Come find out what it’s like to trade in five-inch heels for squat toilets.