White Tree & the Prabal Gurung Creator Collab on Etsy
Little did we know when we began making masks in 2020, a few weeks into forced temporary closure owing to Covid-19, that the decision would put us on the path to realising many of our dreams. As a small apparel design firm with a team that has been with us for years, some even decades; going into lockdown meant struggling to sustain our people, many of whom are migrants from far-flung states and have families to send money back home to.
We decided that combining the relevant need for breathable fabric face protection as a substitute for disposable masks, with our decades-old expertise in tailoring and embroidery might help us deliver on the commitment to our work family – that we were with them in this time of need and together, we could ease the unforeseen burden that the pandemic had brought. With this in mind, we forayed into crafting organic cotton masks, embroidering them with our signature nature-inspired motifs and ensuring we were constantly incorporating guidelines from health authorities to perfect what was to be as much a safety accessory as it was a consciously made aesthetic piece. Introducing what would hitherto have been considered a bizarre product category, we dove right into this new but necessary territory at a time when few others had perhaps thought about it – a risk that many questioned for good reason.
One thing led to another and we set up shop on Etsy soon after, opening up our latest product line under the White Tree label to a global audience. As is the case with most new sellers, we knew very little of the platform and found ourselves learning on the go. We pushed ourselves to acquire e-commerce skills alongside introducing newer, more varied designs of the product itself, figuring out sustainable but durable packaging for international shipments and ensuring we were prompt in our communication with customers in different time zones. Orders went quickly from a trickle to a pour, and before we knew it, we were a 5-star rated Etsy seller, having fulfilled over 900 orders and shipping thousands of face masks to different corners of the world in a matter of months.As a small team that could have in no way foreseen the kind of response and sense of accomplishment we’d get from our journey with Etsy; we were beyond thrilled. Not only did the success of our Etsy store help us adequately sustain ourselves and our team, but it also got our creative juices flowing and led to more cherished additions to the White Tree product line - our much-loved embroidered linen stoles and highly popular signature neck ties for men.
Sharing his thoughts on the collection with Etsy, Prabal states, “This collection welcomes you to take a seat at the table and celebrate the art of living, with a worldly sensibility that shines a light on the diverse independent makers in the global Etsy community…The Prabal Gurung collection connects cultural explorers and adventure seekers with talented artisans from all over the world, who tell their stories through their luxurious and colourful creations.’’In an interview to Vogue, Prabal, who was raised in Kathmandu, Nepal before beginning his design career in New Delhi and therefrom turning into a global nomad through his work; states, “I wanted to partner with Etsy because they have this incredible group of independent business owners and artisans, and I just wanted to be able to learn from them, to share my space and my access and my audience with them.”
Image Source: Etsy