About us and what makes our product green
In the early 90s, when zen zen was young, we used to tell people that we only used natural, ecologically sustainable materials and they mostly had no idea what we were talking about. Thank goodness, terms like recycle, green, eco-friendly and carbon neutral are now becoming household words. That’s great news for the planet! As for us, we have been essentially green since 1992, and we stay that way by following these basic principals:
We use ecologically sustainable, natural materials such as bamboo, vetiver, capiz shell and organic cotton. We also try to recycle as much as possible. We make patchwork and carpets from our fabric scraps and decorations on our bags too. Everything is hand-made by village artisans or in our Balizen in-house, fair trade workshop with the smallest carbon footprint we can manage. We utilize, sustain, support and promote traditional, indigenous village handicrafts, so they can be enjoyed by this and future generations. We train our workers and outside suppliers to improve efficiency and sustainability as well as practice the 5 R's – Reduce, Re-use, Recycle, Refuse & Repair. We also believe strongly in continuous improvement and are always looking to make things more efficient and sustainable. We support and are involved in sustainable education, re-forestation, organic farming, community empowerment projects and contribute to the GreenSchool Bali scholarship fund.
We are a registered fair trade company – proud members of the Fair Trade Federation. That means everyone we employ including our subcontractors gets a fair living wage and has good working conditions. Our Indonesian employees also have health insurance, a pension plan and organized Friday afternoon sports. But for us, fair trade means more than that; fair trade means fair to everyone – from our most basic material suppliers/growers to the end retail users. No one gets a huge markup while someone else is getting little.
In short, we believe strongly in providing a quality, ecologically sustainable product at the best price possible, delivered in a relaxed and pleasing way that causes maximum customer satisfaction as well as an appreciation of craftsmanship and global cultures.
About the designer and what zen zen means
The name “zen zen” comes from a Japanese expression which loosely translates to “but of course” - that natural serendipity which occurs when you’re doing something positive for the planet. This has always been the mission of company owner, Andrea Phillips. She continuously works to create a beautiful line of products that are hand-made from sustainable materials and all with her personal touch.
“My parents called me busy fingers when I was little,” Andrea says. “I was knitting at 5, making my own clothes at 9 and designing my first interior at 12, always making something. I love art and dance, crafts, language and culture, collaboration and creating great products that make people smile. I grew up in a family of insatiably curious and creative people, I went to a Rudolf Steiner school, and studied art in college, did costume design for a while and then worked with my dad making laboratory equipment for public health laboratories across the globe. All these things have contributed to what I am and do and share today.
Essentially, through my designs, I strive to create more enjoyment for people in their daily lives and share the abilities and sensibilities of one culture with another to create a global family . . . like my own.”
Andrea and her husband Nyoman live in Bali with their two children. Nyoman is the owner of CV Seni Echo, the Fair Trade factory that produces and organizes all of the goods from Bali. A Bali native, he has a strong commitment to preserving the Balinese culture and helping to move Bali into a green and sustainable future. In addition to his hands on management of the fair trade workshop, he is the main facilitator of all our community outreach and organic farming programs, working with government officials as well as directly with village communities he is truly a driving force.
All this is possible with the help of a great team of employees and the wonderful support of customers, friends and family. Everyday we are thankful.