Welcome to Soulié.
We're an artisanal luxury brand on a mission to preserve culture through craft & empower artisans the world over.
Soulié (sool-yay) is a social enterprise that believes how we shop can change the world, that artisans hold beauty + their cultures' history in their hands, that inclusion is the most powerful mechanism for empowerment, that cultural traditions can be lost or saved in a moment, and most importantly, that each of us has the power to make an impact in the world. Let's make this world a more beautiful place together.
Dignified Work | Breathtaking Products | Beautiful You
By providing beautifully dignified work to our artisan partners
Through the creation of breathtakingly beautiful, artisan made accessories that use culturally important craft traditions in new and modern ways
And by empowering our customers to trust in their own unique beauty
1) HOW WE PROVIDE BEAUTIFULLY DIGNIFIED WORK THAT PRESERVES BOTH CRAFT AND CULTURE
A beautiful life comes from purpose, autonomy and passion. Artisans have all of three of these elements in abundance and often have the added ability to use these strengths to create livelihoods not only for themselves but also many times for their whole communities.
We create mutually beneficial, non-exclusive partnerships directly with handpicked artisans, entrepreneurs and nonprofit organizations doing great work in their communities. We empower artisans by making them collaborators in the design process. Our work directly contributes to enhancing livelihoods through the creation of dignified work, and its positive spillover effects + our use of traditional craft techniques preserves both craft and culture.
2) HOW WE CREATE BREATHTAKINGLY BEAUTIFUL PRODUCTS
Each and every Soulié item is handmade, making it unique and distinctly beautiful, just like you. We incorporate intelligent, functional design in a way that ensures every piece tells a unique story while creating an impact. Our pieces are finished with details that promise to leave you breathless from the moment you open the box.
Our line offers two types of products:
Exclusive Designs - Designed in house to maximize functionality and ease of use. These pieces are prototyped and then sent off to our artisan partners so that they can interpret and finish the design as they see best.
Curated Designs - A selection of our favorite artisan designed pieces. We've scoured markets, deserts and small bustling alleyways to find you some of the highest quality and most unique pieces from around the world.
What you'll find in our products:
- PRIDE - True craftsmanship that comes from centuries of tradition, dignified work and a deep pride in the product
- LOVE - Unique characteristics in each piece, small trinkets of uniqueness that act as each artisans' signature
- INTENTION - A deep beauty that can only come from an artist's undivided attention to creating something that echoes the unique song of their soul and purpose
- DIGNITY - Artisan set pricing ensures that artisans are paid what they believe is a fair wage for their work, even if it is above the market rate with absolutely no haggling or negotiation.
What you'll NEVER find in our products:
- Forced labor
- Unsafe working conditions (most of our artisans work out of their own homes)
- Unethical labor practices
- The pressure to create more for less money
3) OUR ARTISAN SCHOLARSHIP FUND
Every item we sell, no matter how big or how small, contributes to our Artisan Scholarship Fund, a fund designed to support artisans' training in essential design and business skills through our partner organizations Mayamiko Trust and Somaiya Kalavidya. Click here to lean more.
4) HOW WE EMPOWERING OUR CUSTOMERS TO TRUST IN THEIR OWN BEAUTY
There is nothing more beautiful that a woman grounded in her own self. When we surround ourselves with what we love, items that we feel are truly beautiful inside and out, then we are more fully represented in our lives, more confident in our own voice and more empowered to take the steps that lead us towards our heart’s deepest dreams.
OUR DEFINITION OF BEAUTY
We believe a woman is her most beauty filled when she is:
- Grounded in her own honest and pure self
- Lit up by the light of knowing her own value and a trust that she is already perfect, already enough
- Embracing the courage required to follow her own heart, whether that leads her to the deserts of Morocco, a new class or a love filled relationship
- Bare faced, bare footed and dancing under an open sky to no one’s rhythm but her own
We believe a product is beauty full when:
- It is filled with the love and intention that can only come to something crafted by human hands
- It provides a purpose filled, sustainable livelihood that honors cultural traditions and fosters creativity, dignity and autonomy
- It tells a story and creates a connection that is unique to the artisan whose hands created the piece and the woman who choses to carry it through her life
A TRULY BEAUTIFUL WOMAN: The Legend Behind "Soulié"
Born in a small town on the Western coast of France in 1898, Renée Soulié was a strong willed woman always looking for a new adventure.
She grew up with the Atlantic beckoning her. Finally at the age of 19 she crossed over and found herself at the University of Pittsburg and a world away from the war that was raging in her home.
She wasn’t here for long before she met the man that would entice her to move south and make her home on a flat piece of land nestled next to the Chesapeake Bay. She was quick to take offense to being called a “war bride”; the implication being that her large and daring life would have come simply from the persuasion of a man and not from her own inexhaustible passions.
Acutely aware of the good fortunes life had bestowed upon her, she was always looking for a way to give back. No project was too big, no task too small to undertake. A life committed to service was rewarded as she was named Citizen of the Year by her adopted home shortly before her death.
That award now hangs in the Soulié studio. It serves as a constant reminder that even the smallest efforts practiced consistently can make such a large difference in people’s lives.
OUR INSPIRATION: A Note from Founder Renée Lamb
Your heart will always lead you in the right direction.
What a beautifully complicated and simple truth. A truth that I would learn along the path that would eventually lead to the founding of Soulié.
It all began with a yearlong journey, through which I carried nothing but a backpack. After returning home, I stared into my storage room full of items precious and not. I was overwhelmed by the weight of everything, by the impact I knew that all of these items could have had if they had been purchased more consciously.
We all need things in our life, things to help us carry, to keep us warm, to fill our lives with beauty and to echo back to us the story that is uniquely ours. But we have only one precious and sacred life. Shouldn’t it be filled with the things that make our heart sing?
Shouldn’t the things we fill our day and home with be so beautiful that to wake up to them in the morning actually brings us joy? And what if on top of that, our things could make someone else’s life more beauty and joy filled?
Every time I travel, I'm overcome by this one common element: that the people who seem to be the happiest and carry the most pride are those creating beauty with their own hands.
Artisans have the unique gift to spend their lives filling everything they make with love and intention. Their crafts tell the history of their ancestors and the story of their lives now. To hold a master artisan’s piece in your hands is to hold the sacred. It is an extension of their soul and of their deepest desire for how they want to see the world.
When I finally began to trust again in the direction of my heart’s guidance, I knew that Soulié would be the path for my journey. I knew that no matter what we did or made, we would work in a way that supported these artisans, entrepreneurs and non-profit organizations creating more beauty and empowerment in the world. I knew that we would work at the intersection of art and design, economic development and cultural preservation because, after all, each of these things is inextricably linked to the other.
This is our one wild and sacred story to tell. Trust in it. Fill your life with the things that are so uniquely beauty full that they fill your heart with bliss. Realize that even the smallest actions, smallest decisions can change the world around you.
Trust in your heart, and know that it will always lead you in the right direction.
To learn more about the journey that led to the founding of Soulié, check out Renée's personal blog at wanderfull365.com.