The Best of 2018
2018 has felt like a big year for AMMA, we have made some giant leaps forward in becoming the social enterprise that we set out to be and it feels right to share and celebrate those moments out loud with everyone who has supported us on this journey.
1. Tea Leaf Vision
We started working with Tea Leaf Vision, drawing on their expertise of working amongst Sri Lanka’s tea picking communities they have provided invaluable support in growing AMMA over the last year. Helping us secure further funding, hire a workshop manager and staff coordinator as well as move AMMA into a bigger workshop. What superstars!
With the help from TLV we applied for a grant from a UK based textile recycling charity called TRAID. Through their network of second hand clothing shops they provide a way to recycle unworn clothing and then invest profits into international development projects around the world that work to solve issues within the textile and fashion industry. This grant has allowed us to move into a new workshop, hire a manager and in the next few months purchase AMMA’s own tuk tuk!
AMMA founder Josie recently wrote a blog for TRAID you can read it here.
3. The AMMA Workshop
This time last year we were bursting out of our tiny garage space, too many mothers and not enough chairs. Thanks to our TRAID grant we are now in a beautiful, light filled workshop that has tea bushes behind and waterfalls in front. We have space for our shop & office, and its provided us with the opportunity to run experiences, allowing tourists to discover our dye process for themselves.
2018 has been a year of learning how to manage a bigger team. In July we welcomed our new workshop manager ‘M’ and in August we recruited ‘A’, our staff coordinator. This was a big deal for us, it meant that founder our Josie didn’t have to spend every moment in the dye kitchen and that there was now a fluent english speaker who could translate the details. AMMA is starting to feel like something ‘proper’ thanks to these two. Along with our core team we also welcomed two younger girls into AMMA (who are not mothers, controversial!) we noticed a flaw to our business model, in order to provide flexible employment to mothers we needed some key people who could commit to AMMA full time. So we have backtracked, we are building the ark before we welcome the rest on board.
5. The Weavers
Back in June we started working with a women’s handwaving cooperative in Sri Lanka’s north. Lead by a wonderful female entrepreneur, this group work to rebuild their lives after the devastation caused by the civil war. They weave all of our fabric, it gets couriered to us and we dye it in our workshop. We spent our first year sourcing whatever fabric we could from Pettah market, this move to handloom, although much more expensive just brings us so much joy and provides us with a reliable good quality carbon neutral fabric.
It feels unreal when we think back to the wonderful like minded businesses we have had the chance to collaborate with this year. The ever faithful Wonder Workshop who have been a constant support keeping AMMA afloat, Three by One, WYKE and Sambol Setting who let us loose on their beautiful coastal villa. We are already excited about the collaborations we can add to the list in 2019 along with finally launching our online shop!
7. Helpful People
When we started AMMA, somebody mentioned that when you step out and do something interesting good people will come around you, and 2018 could not have been a better example of that. AMMA has been supported by incredible people volunteering their time to help with marketing, photography, business planning and finances. So pretty much everything! Thank you so much, you know who you are. Unbelievable people.
2018 was the year of blue (albeit light blue), which in turn allowed us to mix colours to produce lilac and green. We are still learning and practicing our indigo dyeing skills (its a tricky process and very different to the rest of our colours, especially when you don’t use nasty chemicals!) maybe 2019 will be the year of dark blue.
Don’t let this list of positive stuff fool you into thinking AMMA is a stress free idyllic enterprise in Eden, its not. It has been excruciatingly tough at times, we have cried many tears and stressed out over buckets of coloured liquids. It has rained for months and we’ve seen houses be destroyed, children fall ill and babies be born malnourished. But it is these bad things that require us to celebrate the good.
From everyone at AMMA we wish you a happy and healthy 2019.