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Lioness Tile: Blending Art & Purpose

By Shweta Kulkarni, 28 Jan, 2021
  • Lioness Tile: Blending Art & Purpose

Driven by creativity and purpose, Lioness Tile clearly operates with a social mission at the core of their business model and has a strong value system which is based on quality, sustainability, design and responsibility.

 

Famed American writer-orator-lawyer Robert G. Ingersoll rightly said — “We rise by lifting others.”

A similar philosophy is resonated by the Jaipur-based B Corp — Lioness Tile. Founded by three IT professionals — Erik Duffield, Daminder Kaur, and Manpreet Singh, Lioness Tile is an initiative that not only boasts of handcrafting environmentally conscious and finest cement tiles but also empowering local women artisan.


Set in a small village in Jaipur called Bagru, Lioness Tile was established in 2017 with an intent to revive the dwindling handicraft economy of Bagru and empowering the local artisans, who are struggling to find sustainable avenues of employment in times of rapid industrialization and textile automation.

“When we came up with this idea and started doing our research, we realized that this art form was about to die in India. While it is big in other countries like Morocco, its popularity in India was fading and only a few companies were able to sustain it. Also, our whole purpose of wanting to do something was to contribute to the society as well,” reveals Daminder Kaur, Managing Director and Founder of Lioness Tile. She adds, “Our artisans have never been to school, they were doing the cleaning and other small-time jobs, so making them learn this art form and see them grow, means a lot to us. We strongly believe in a culture where we grow, our artisans grow and our families grow.”

Driven by creativity and purpose, Lioness Tile clearly operates with a social mission at the core of their business model and has a strong value system which is based on quality, sustainability, design and responsibility.


Inspired from various cultures, styles and countries — right from the intricate jali-work of Rajasthan, to the joyful riot of colours of Marrakech — each tile at Lioness Tile not only has a thought behind it but is also environmentally- friendly. Made from all-natural materials using a hand-pressed and hydraulic pressure technique, Lioness Tile creates tiles that stand the test of time without leaving any pollution in its wake, a contrast to the much-popular but environmentally damaging kiln-fired technique. What’s more, the company even donates all the tiles made during their training sessions to schools, NGOs and temples.


Apart from these fabulous reasons, what else makes this B Corp all the more appealing is its incessant effort to empower women. The company lives by the motto — Educate a woman, and you educate an entire family. Lioness Tile is passionate about ensuring the well-being of its women artisan-partners and enabling them and their families to live flourishing lives with opportunities. With regular training workshops to equip them with an increasing set of skills, providing a free, safe and creative space for them to work in, and giving them a sustained livelihood, Lioness Tile strives to ensure that all their talented employees are financially secure, confident and independent.

Proudly narrating the achievement of their artisans, Daminder Kaur says, “One of our senior artistes — Mamta, she was working as a cleaner and sweeper at a company earlier. When she made the first tile the smile on her face was unbelievable, she had tears in her eyes and she said ‘I can’t believe I can do this!’ Small things like this matter a lot. Thereafter, the way she mastered the art, it is incredible. We learnt the craft together but the finesse and skill she has today are amazing.”


Lioness Tile’s co-founder Manpreet Singh, too is delighted to see their artisans grow so much in such a short period. He says, “Lioness Tile for me is an amalgamation of three spheres of my life - creativity, friendship, and responsibility. The past three years have passed like a blink of an eye; learning the art of crafting cement tiles, experimenting with different forms of tile making, and bringing our artisans and customers closer is nothing less than magical. My happiest moments have been to see our enabled artisans or customers expressing unimaginative awe after completion of their projects.”

Today, the women at Lioness Tiles have not only mastered the art of making tiles in a short span of time, but also take care of the end-to-end production process, understand the client’s requirements and create beautiful mind-blowing bespoke tiles.


At the moment Lioness Tiles operates with a small team of 10 artisans but moving forward they plan to scale in a big way.

“Lioness is about creating. The founding of it was about creating timeless designs, the highest quality tiles, and creating work opportunity for the rural women of India. The alignment of these three is what makes it special. Now, that Lioness has grown up, it is about creating wonderful spaces in Indian culture: the family kitchen, the cafe, the hotel, and doing so with India’s rising architects and designers. It’s also about creating a connection between the materials we use and the artisans that make them,” says co-founder Erik Duffield.


Further talking about their expansion plan, Daminder Kaur says, “While growth is important for us, we don’t want to lose our uniqueness, we don’t want to lose our value and the culture we are providing to our artisans and their families. Because going up is easy for everybody once you are done with the hard phase but it is important to give back to society. The reason why we started Lioness should always stay with us…be it five years down the line, ten years or twenty or more… that is very important.”

She adds, “Lioness is a dream come true for me, a place full of creativity along with sustainability and responsibility. While we bespoke to meet specific needs, a beautiful connection is seen between artisans and customers. It’s about the impact of decisions on society and the community attached alongside crafting high-quality, beautiful designer tiles. BCorp is our strength, and we are proud to do business as a force for good.”



It is often easy to get distracted by ambitious business plans, however, at Lioness Tile, it is their people and artisans that matter the most. And when your focus is your people, you not only end up making a social impact but also grow by leaps and bounds.


You can also support Lioness Pride in their mission by joining their community on social media, spread the awareness about their mission or by making a donation. For more information, please visit: www.LionessTile.com

 

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