Norlha is located on the Tibetan Plateau the region otherwise known as the Roof of the World, an area populated by more yak and sheep than humans. Since few can come this far to view our work and buy our products, we sought a means to reach clients beyond the pasture. We didn’t have the resources to open stores in the world’s capitals, so we opted for the next best solution, one made possible in our cyber age.
Our first e-commerce website was functional in 2014, the year we decided to launch our brand. It initiated us to the complexities of e-commerce, and was a great learning curve. The second website followed the next year, an improvement on the first, then the third last year. We were beginning to sell, but this was not enough; we needed to develop the ability to communicate Norlha’s story and present the products to people who often had no idea about yaks or their khullu.
This year, we decided to get serious about our website, and pull in more resources. Early in the year, Dechen and Bill, the Website Manager appealed to web designers, videographers, developers, merchandisers, photographers and art directors to come to Norlha and give us a hand. In the first wave came videographer Crispin Hutton and photographer Dan Paton from the UK, followed by Merchandiser Anita Wong and copy writer Kwei Chee Lam from Hong Kong and Beijing, and photographer Matt Linden from Finland. Then came web designer Samantha Gaghan from Australia/Canada, Videographer Steve Pierce from Oxford, photographer Axl Jenson and Art Director Nicole Hardt from Berlin and Developers Melissa Johnson and Chris Dunder from Seattle.
All offered their time on a voluntary basis. While the first group endured extreme conditions in Spring snow, it was this last team that came under the most pressure, looming under a self-imposed deadline of September 1st. The work load was intense: The 400 studio pictures of the products involved turning our dining room into a studio, further training our studio photographer Lhabum to shoot the products on a background of white paper, getting up at 4 am and freezing in the pre-dawn fog waiting for the first, perfect light of day, and enduring rain and a drone that refused to work in wet conditions. Then Sam designed and Chris and Melissa developed, lending their genius to create a flexible and deeply functional website. Everyone but Sam left on the 2nd of September, after a weekend celebrating the new website at Norden Camp. One detail: We had to push back the launch date two weeks, during which Bill, Dechen and I sat around a table to complete the work. The good news: the website is up, come and see it!!! www.norlha.com And a great thanks to you all for helping us make this happen!