November 12th marks the day when 13 years ago, we completed the Norlha Atelier building in the village of Ritoma, the day we now know as Norlha’s anniversary. Today, we are proud to celebrate the Norlha community, one with a mission to create and run a business with a conscience, that makes a product of provenance, one that truly emanates from its place of origin. Though Norlha’s anniversary marks a beginning, the seeds of the enterprise were planted much earlier.
Norlha was born from co-founder Kim Yeshi’s love of textiles and her recognition of the need for products of provenance in an increasingly globalized world. In 2004, Kim Yeshi encouraged her 22-year-old daughter Dechen to travel to the Tibetan Plateau, meet Tibetan nomad families, and research the properties of Yak Khullu. From these first steps, Norlha’s vision has been to work hand in hand with the local people, respecting and preserving the nomad’s delicate balance between nature and community.
After several years spent in research as well as building relationships to gain the trust of the local nomads, in November of 2007, on an icy, windy Plateau fall day, Norlha’s 60 employees moved into the newly built atelier where many would work side by side together for many years to come. The functioning atelier symbolized the completion of our first milestone, one of acceptance by the local community, of Norlha as a family, of people working together with the common goal of building a business with a conscience.
Today, 13 years later, Norlha is a Tibetan lifestyle brand with an atelier of over 100 local employees, 65% of them women. We have reached into the global community to spread our vision of a conscious and responsible business creating products with a provenance.
With the challenges that COVID-19 brought on the world, the Norlha community has become closer in the face of uncertainty and what began as an ominous year turned out to be one highlighted by solidarity, trust and perseverance. The challenges we face with the pandemic have strengthened our conviction to stay true to running a business with a conscience, one with positive impact on our planet. We remain committed to our employees, the local community, the environment and our customers and thank everyone in the global community who has supported us throughout the year.