Mission & Values
At Norlha, we believe in the exceptional qualities of a rare fiber, in the skill of our dedicated artisans, and the creation of superior products. We also believe that the success of such an endeavor relies on a happy and empowered workforce, one who can stay rooted in their culture while gaining exposure from the world around them. We honor each of these guiding principles equally and without compromise.
The story of Norlha
A short film by Oscar-winner Ruby Yang
Norlha Artisans & Their Families
Sangye Dhondup & Dugmo Kyi
Sangye Dhondup and his wife Dugmo Kyi were the first two nomads to be recruited and trained by Norlha. Today, Dugmo Kyi is one of our most skilled weavers and Sangye is the production manager.
They have three daughters, and through their hardwork at Norlha they have become one of the most affluent families in the village. Their dream is for their daughters to get the education they never had the opportunity to receive and travel the world.
Serwu Kyap & Lumo Tso
Serwu Kyap and his wife Lumo Tso are two of the first ten nomads recruited by Norlha in 2007 to train as artisans. Today, Serwu Kyap is Norlha’s bookkeeper and his wife is a tailor at Norlha.
They have three sons, the eldest of whom became a monk at the age of 13. Their second son also urged his parents to allow him to follow in his brother’s footsteps and pursue a life of monastic studies. Serwu and Lumo’s youngest son is currently in school but often expresses his hope to be a monk someday too.
Wandi & Rinchen
Wandi lives with his mother, wife and two children. He has worked at Norlha for ten years and today is the head dyer (as well as part-time model). Wandi’s wife Rinchen is a weaver at Norlha as well. The couple met at Norlha and today have a daughter and a son.
Prior to working at Norlha, with no schooling and a very small herd of animals, Wandi and his mother were struggling to make ends meet. Today they have renovated their house, own a car and are one of the more affluent families in the village.
Jigshe Tso started working at Norlha when she was just 18 years old. She is one of the first ten nomads that Norlha recruited to train in 2007.
When Jigshe Tso was just 2 years old, she was struck with meningitis and while she recovered she lost her hearing. Today she has two children, lives with her parents and is one of Norlha’s most skilled and highest paid artisans.
Jamyang Dolma & Johor
Jamyang Dolma and her husband are an exemplary couple at Norlha. They are highly motivated and dedicated artisans. Dolma is Norlha’s most skilled tailor, and Johor works in the felting room specializing in carding and cross-lapping yak khullu.
They are both players on Norlha’s basketball teams. Dolma works as one of Norlha’s main models. She also practices yoga and studies English in classes offered by Norlha. They have two children and live with Dolma’s parents.
About the founders
Kim Yeshi, President & Co-founder
The concept behind Norlha was formulated and implemented by Kim Yeshi. Kim studied anthropology at Vassar College (BA) and Buddhism at the University of Virginia (MA). Kim has lived for 30 years in Asia where she has researched and produced textiles and handcrafts.
DECHEN YESHI, CEO & CO-FOUNDER
Dechen is the product of two cultures, Tibetan and Euro/American. She makes a perfect bridge between the Tibetan village community and the demands of the modern luxury market. Dechen and Kim are a close-knit team who work together seamlessly.
Dechen graduated from Connecticut College where she majored in Asian studies and film. She has lived in Amdo since 2005 when she began to research the economics and dynamics of the region. She single-handedly trained all the staff and established the infrastructure for the Norlha workshop.