FROM THE HEART OF THE HIMALAYAS, MUSKHANEIt was on a mission to Kathmandu for Handicap International that Thierry and Valérie discovered Nepal and the Himalayan region . When they completed their contract, the couple decided to suggest a project to the association: they would carry out a study of equitable commerce in the Himalayan region. This led them into contact and dialogue with the artisans of the valley of Kathmandu — some of whom were to become their suppliers. Little by little, the pull to create something new and to live a meaningful adventure called them to Nepal, together with their desire to develop a stronger local economy and to celebrate the exceptional artisanal craftwork of the region. They created MUSKHANE in 2003 and put down roots in Kathmandu. Today, a small team coordinates the production and the preparation of orders, while the finishing of the products is assured by a precious team of couturiers with magic fingers. After 15 years in Nepal, Valérie, Thierry, and their children have come back to France, where they now pilot operations from the heart of the French Alps, in Annecy.
NOBILITY OF MATERIALS CRAFT BY HANDMUSKHANE’s products are hand-made in the workshops of the Kathmandu Valley. They are composed entirely of natural, renewable materials.
The working of these natural fibres is the special expertise of Nepalese artisans. Their handicraft continues to evolve technically, thanks to creative innovations and quality controls introduced by the brand.
Valérie trained in the working of felted wool in these ateliers, and makes regular trips to the workshops in order to create prototypes and to test the functionality of the objects that she designs, alongside Emma Nivet.
The quality of the wools, the strict attention to detail, and the care that goes into each of MUSKHANE’s products bring forth our line of unique objects, infused with softness and harmony.
A GRAND ADVENTURE
Respect for employees and partners, respect for the environment, respect for our customers. Respect is the conviction by which we operate every day, and the value which guides us always.
ON A HUMAN SCALE
MUSKHANE is a socially and environmentally engaged brand. We strive to leave a minimal footprint on the environment whilst making a positive impact on the lives of our partners through fair-trade and sustainable commerce.
It is this optimism and engagement which we hope to share with our clients, by offering ecologically-minded products, sustainably produced.
Water conservation and management in Nepal is a daily preoccupation. Water shortages and power outtages are a permanent occurance in Kathmandu. These conditions have lead us to examine the ways in which our means of production are as respectful of resources as can possibly be.
A daily, comprehensive management of resources to ensure nothing is wasted.
Using natural fibersAll of our products are hand-made from the finest natural and renewable materials available: sheep's wool, Nepalese cotton and paper.
Innovation and LoyaltyOur products are exported to France by plane, the only mode of transport available from Nepal. To compensate for the CO2 emissions due our activity either in Nepal or in France, we are partner of Geres. Committed to Climate Solidarity, our approach is recognized by the Geres because it is part of a sustainable development dynamic and participates in the fight against climate change.
SOCIAL ENGAGEMENTSince its creation, MUSKHANE has been active in the support of social work in Nepal, especially in the domaine of education.
Since 2006, we have provided logistic and financial support to the DEM association in Nepal, who head up a program in the Kathmandu valley aiding poor families and providing educational grants to students.
Just after the earthquake in 2015, we collected a sizeable budget from our family, friends and wholesale customers in a matter of 10 days to provide emergency aid on-site. We worked with the UNHCR, trusted Nepalese associations and the families of people we know in Kathmandu to provide shelter to 18,000 people, and give food and essential items to nearly 500 families in distress.
Since this, we are still and even more devotedly looking for partners to provide grants and fund education for young people on-site.
FAIR AND RESPONSIBLE TRADERespect for the rules of responsible commerce is our ethos, and the driving philosophy behind the story of MUSKHANE.
MUSKHANE was created as the result of a study by Handicap International which focused on the realities of fair-trade practices in India and Nepal. Except for one of our ateliers, our entire network of suppliers and producers is made up of people we met during that study. Many of them are directly affiliated with the Fair Trade label, and others are family businesses which respect the principles.
Our aim is to create the conditions whereby everyone can give the best of themselves.
Thanks to our team in Nepal, on site year-round, our relationship with our suppliers is based on proximity and a durable, on-going dialogue. We know all the workshops with whom we work, and they all accompagny us for the development of our brand.
On our side, we are committed to giving a fair price to the artisans so that they can achieve a comfortable living wage. Rather than negotiate a low price, we ask our suppliers to deliver high-quality materials within the stipulated timeframe. We also finance over 50% of fabrication so that our artisans and suppliers will not have to risk becoming indebted in the process.
Nepalese harmony is the seed of Valérie Billot’s inspiration and the source of her most revitalising energy. As the head of artistic direction for the brand, she designs, with Emma Nivet, housewares which delight and comfort, beautify and stimulate the senses. Deliciously soft, they are designed to bring joy to our day-to-day.
A SUBTLE PLAY OF BALANCE
Each year, Valérie reimagines MUSKHANE’s colour palette to set the tone and create the soul of the Home Décor lines.
She draws inspiration from images, places, and ambiance, liberally interpreting trends and returning invariably to the source of her greatest visual influence: the energising, stimulating colours of Nepal.
Next, it is her intuition which provides the impulse. The seasonal palette of colours and tints begins to take form. This energy expresses itself through two forces, constantly present, yin and yang.
During this process, Valérie’s desire for harmony is omnipresent, even obsessive... until at last the exact balance is struck and the perfect tones have been attained.
MUSKHANE'S SIGNATURE MATERIAL: FELTED WOOL
Since the 7th century BC, the shepherds of Central Asia have used it to create coats, hats, rugs, and tapestries, as well as water-resistant coverings for the rooves of their yurts.
Its fabrication is entirely artisanal. Beginning with carded wool, soap, and water, a long process of pressure and friction brings about the interlacing of the wool’s fibres.
The result is a supremely soft fabric, extremely weather-resistant and sound-insulating.
Felted wool also boasts hypoallergenic, anti-bacterial, and dust mite-resistant properties, without emitting any harmful substances.