Vision of Ana by Karma : When Karma becomes Donna (Karan)

A bold & beautiful vision from Bhutan

Article by Happy Startup's Laurence McCahill

And how when you give something away, you get more back

2 weeks ago we launched a free e-course as part of International Day of Happiness in March. We’ve had an incredible response with thousands from around the world now participating.

Over the course of the 10 days we encourage people to share their work and story. One of those who got in touch was Quin Thong, co-founder of Ana By Karma – a social enterprise looking to bring positive change to Bhutan, the country famous for measuring the Gross National Happiness of its population.

I was inspired by Quin and her sister Karma’s story so I’m sharing it here.

She explained her vision to me as follows:

To empower poor, illiterate Bhutanese weavers to rise to become international business women in the fashion industry
Quin and Karma on the day they launched the social enterprise

She elaborates more:

“ Very early on. I shared my vision for these poor, illiterate weavers to become international business women in a fashion industry. I know many laughed at my far fetched vision.
How to make these rural uneducated housewives be Donna Karan of DKNY? The women themselves also giggle, thinking it is such an incredulous idea. Those who didn’t laugh think I am barking mad. Only one professor from a business school, Dr Lei, also believed in our potential as a global business.
Today 20 months later, these women are much closer to the vision. We’ve been providing training these last few months on quality, teamwork, ethics, money management and more.
They’re now finally ready for one final workshop in Bhutan in April, where they will learn about forex, product photography and packaging – so that they’ll be much closer to running the online shop I have set up.
Today one of our weaver’s houses now has wi-fi, but the fact is they are still illiterate – just maybe not so poor anymore. But their confidence is palpable, their mindset transforming.
Now no one laughs at my vision anymore. Definitely not the weavers.
That is my vision. Bold and beautiful. Like my weavers.”
The women weavers can’t quite believe they’re now business women

Find out more about Quin, her sister Karma and how you can support the weavers of Bhutan here.

Quin asked that I include the following about her experience of the course:

“Though I’ve been running the social enterprise for close to two years, I’ve found that the course has helped me clarify and fine tune many aspects of the business. I believe this will help me articulate the mission better and feel it is now looking more positive for Karma to be Donna in the future.”

Original Post By Laurence McCahill

 Ana by Karma spreads happiness from Bhutan to the world, one happy scarf at a time.