November 13th, 2022 marks the completion of Norlha’s 15th year in Ritoma: Fifteen years ago, we pitched our work tents in the valley at the entrance of Ritoma village, marking the beginning of Norlha’s artisan training. As the trainees, all from pastoral backgrounds, familiarized themselves with flying shuttle looms and chakra spindles, the atelier was being built across the small dirt road from the tents. It was a unique spot, tucked in the flank of a hill looking south, facing the yak-dotted pasture and Ritoma’s highest and most revered peak, Amne Tongri. This was the start of our journey as the Norlha community.
Over the course of this journey, Norlha has survived a global economic crisis as well as three years of a global pandemic. Despite the challenges presented by the markets, we have managed to evolve from being a supplier to the world’s luxury markets to a representative of Positive Luxury. In 2019 we were officially recognized as a ‘Business as a Force for Good’ by B-corp. Since then we have received two awards for being ‘Best of the World’ in community from B-corp. Our success lies in the team we have  built  and the deep sense of trust and responsibility that we share. Today, 63% of our 96 local Ritoma village employees are women. As we mark  the close of our 15th year, we wish to acknowledge 20 among  our valued employees and artisans who have been with us for the past 15 years and with whom we have grown as a family and community.Serwu and his wife were one of the first couples to join Norlha in 2007. Today, Serwu is Norlha’s main representative in Ritoma village, head of HR and our Cashier. His wife is one of Norlha’s most skilled tailors.Dorjee was only 21 years old when he was recruited at Norlha as one of the rare locals to speak English. Today, in addition to heading Sales and Marketing with a special focus on China, his extensive experience at Norlha sees him supervising production and being sought after for  consultation in most matters of management.Dorjee Dhundup, Rinchen Dhundup and Lama Tashi, all ex-nomads and grandfathers in their 40s and 50s, have been unwavering in their dedication towards Norlha over the last 15 years.Wandi Kyi and Pema Tashi met at Norlha and were married in 2008. Wandi Kyi is one of the head weavers at Norlha, and Pema Tashi is in charge of Raw Material Inventory. They have three children.Sangye Tso, Tashi Tso, Pagpa Tso, Dugmo Kyi and Guru Tso are all dedicated artisans and proud grandmothers. Many of their children or close relatives have since begun working at Norlha.
Wandi and Rinchen Kyi were married after joining Norlha independently. Wandi modeled for Norlha over many seasons and years, and Rinchen Kyi works in the weaving section where she specializes in thread preparation. They have two children.Jigshe Tso was 19 years old when she came to Norlha. She has a hearing disability, but is a quick learner and today, is one of our most skilled artisans in the weaving section. She has a son and a daughter.Pagpa Tso, Sonam Tso, Rinchen Tso and Yimtso Kyi are all weavers at Norlha who have persevered for many years and became highly skilled in their professions.
We thank them all for their trust, resourcefulness and dedication all of which contributed to making Norlha what it is today.