Here at Peachtree Roadies, we will come up with the occasional random BRILLIANT idea that we’re going to turn into a real business someday. We have no skills to really turn the idea into anything more, but we like to brainstorm and talk about what we’ll do one day when the blog takes off and we’re famous and can quit our jobs. (Usually after a couple margs.) We are however the first people to give props to those who actually TAKE the risk and go out on their own for something they LOVE.
My friend Meghna is a perfect example of someone living her dream right here in Atlanta. After graduation from UGA, Meghna got a good corporate job in NYC and was living the life when I first arrived in the city (we met in NYC through mutual UGA friends). We even got to spend the best.new.years.eve.ever. at her office building in Times Square in 2010 – things were good! But Meghna always had the feeling that she wanted something a bit more creative in her life. Her parents own an eclectic costume design company, focused on global textiles, fashion and design, in Georgia, so fashion, design, and fabric have always been part of her life, but not the focal point.
Then in 2011, Meghna saved up her money, quit her corporate job and set off to backpack around Asia – all with the goal of exploring the real world. She spent a bit of time travelling around India visiting family and friends and gathering inspiration (and fabrics) for her soon-to-be line of scarves. She fell in love with the unique prints and traditional methods of natural dying found around the country and in April 2012, Maelu was born.
Maelu is an environmentally conscious clothing company centered upon sustainable textiles made with natural fibers and vegetable dyes. Maelu items are all handmade and hand block printed, making each item a one of a kind work of art.
Her method: “Wooden blocks are hand carved out of teak wood and then applied with natural dyes before being stamped on cotton or silk. Our natural dyes are made with a variety of materials including jaggery, pomegranate skins, alum and indigo bush. Each color and design in the pattern requires a different block, resulting in an incredibly intricate process. After being stamped the printed fabric is laid out in the village field to dry in the sun and set the color. The fabric is then steamed, washed and ironed to permanently fix the colors.
Meghna decided to get things going in Atlanta (with frequent trips to NYC) where she is closer to family and it’s a heck of a lot cheaper than the Big City, which I’m sure went into her decision.
Her work is absolutely gorgeous and it is SO impressive how much her business (which started out as an Etsy shop) has grown in the last two years. She is also incredibly passionate about following a sustainable business model. The company directly supports the artisans in India that block-print the beautiful fabric and also donates a portion of all profits directly to www.globalfundforwomen.org, a non-profit foundation supporting the advancement of women’s human rights around the world.
*Peachtree Roadies readers can use the coupon code PROADIESLOVEMAELU to receive 20% off at www.MaeluDesigns.com.