Tokyo is where this all started. I have lived there three times, for a total of 8 years. I love the place, and am especially enamoured by the beautiful maiko and geisha who inhabit the old streets of Kyoto. While in Japan I did endless reading about these beautiful creatures, their art and their costume. Their mystical world has for many years been called "The Flower and Willow World". It is a beautiful, creative and enigmatic place.
15 years ago I bought my first beaded bracelet from a glorious department store in Tokyo. I had so many people comment on my bracelet, and was excited when 10 years later and back living in Tokyo, I found more beaded bracelets. There began a giant search for the producers of these lovely pieces of adornment. I found a group of women in Nepal who make them from home. Mostly housewives, they set up their own small businesses, making bracelets to order. It gives them income, and a means of supporting their families. Each bracelet is hand-crocheted and beaded using cotton and fine glass beads. Sweatshop-free and proud of it :-)
I am a free-lance florist, and manage a floral design school (Vida Flores Flower School). Many of the bracelets are named after my favourite flora and fauna. I love design, and have worked in fashion marketing, fashion show production and styling. I'm a complete and utter fabric junkie (my sewing room cupboard is bursting with pieces of beautiful fabric I will probably never manage to use), and I especially love making my own clothes and creating things in natural fibres. I have recently taken to hand-dying silk in botanical dyes. I fossick through my garden for leaves, ferns and anything that might give me some pigment. I love using berries, tea, coffee beans and vegetables to make stunning dyes. All of our orders are wrapped using these beautiful hand-dyed silks.
As the mum of four young kids (and wife of a lovely fella), I'm only too aware of how important happy and healthy parents are to their children. With each bracelet purchased I donate 15% of profits to organisations supporting those with perinatal anxiety and depression. It's my way of looking after the sisterhood.
The Flower and Willow World is a culmination of many of the things I love and care about.
Sarah Barry x