Holi Boli Blog Archive

Sunday, 7 January 2018

2018 January - Another Sewing Class Begins! :)

Holi Boli Sewing School has kicked of 2018

After taking a 6 month break to head over to "Sarah the Carer's" wedding in Castor, Alberta, Canada we are back into sewing class.  We have extended Holi Boli operations so the school has taken over the house at the back of Holi Boli.  Awesome!  All the machines have been set up, serviced and students are arriving ready to go.  At Holi Boli School there is one sewing machine per student, 2 Odia teachers (Banita and Nini) and of course, Ana.  This year the school will run while Ana is in New Zealand (this is a first).  It is so exciting to see the autonomy and leadership of the Holi Boli team starting to really flourish.  Go girls go!  Sisters helping sisters - its what its all about!

Thanks for all you who support and encourage Holi Boli!  We love you guys!

Nini watches on and gives advice.  Nini has been with us since 2013.  She is a great teacher now.

Students are little nervous in the first few days but they soon loosen up.  Mums come with their children #makingithappen


Saturday, 6 January 2018

2018 January - Newspaper - "A Stitch in Time"

See original at http://www.newindianexpress.com/magazine/2018/jan/06/a-stitch-in-time-1744787.html

A Stitch in Time

By By Soumika M Das | Published: 06th January 2018 10:00 PM |


Ana with her students at Holi Boli


On an ordinary afternoon at Malipali—a village of 250 families in Odisha’s Sambalpur district—men are out in the fields, women are busy peeling garlic cloves or chopping vegetables, with cattle loitering around the courtyards of their mud huts.This perfectly Indian rustic setting gets a dash of foreign charm when middle-aged Ana Wilkinson-Gee drives past the thatched huts, the lone village school to reach her destination—a single-storey building, one of the few houses with plastered walls in Malipali.
Well, that’s where this New Zealand national is living her dream. It’s the place from where she runs a tiny clothing company-cum-sewing school, Holi Boli—alliteration intended by tweaking the words ‘Holi’ and ‘Bollywood’.Not just that, the 42-year-old claims to have quit her job in the Bank of New Zealand to skill women in this village. From being a flight attendant, florist to a make-up artist, Ana tried her hands at various jobs in her native land till she decided to tailor her life for the love of fabrics.

“I came to India as a tourist in 2006. I visited Sambalpur and the beauty of the open country side caught me. Four years later, I came back to start a new journey,” says Ana, who learnt fashion designing from Design and Arts College of New Zealand at Christchurch.Her husband Daniel takes care of the digital marketing of her business. Her three children study at a local convent school. The family has adopted the Indian lifestyle—from making adrak wali chai to eating rotis with paneer masala, and being coated in colours on Holi. And, when it comes to fashion, Ana loves being Indian at heart. With her hair scraped back into a bun, she pulls off the Indian look brilliantly in a multi-coloured kurti—paired with royal blue palazzos and red dupatta.
She trains tribal women in stitching and designing garments for three to four months. On successful completion of the course, they are given certificates. “I don’t take more than 15 students in a batch. They learn everything from basic tailoring to operating machine, hand-stitching to advanced tailoring, designing, cutting and pattern-making. I have trained at least 120 women in and around the village so far,” she says.
These women get `2,500 to `3,000 per month. But they don’t work to earn a few thousands, it is to make their families understand that they have a talent.Ana and her team blend desi prints and linen with global layers and cuts for their fusion wear collections. “Most of the dresses are sold online on the website: www.holiboli.com to the customers in New Zealand, Australia, Thailand, USA, Germany, Israel and even Jordan,” says Daniel.

Ana believes in the sustainable model of business. Step inside Holi Boli, and you will get a feel of that. She has refurbished some vintage sewing machines. “When I went back to New Zealand, some women gave me these machines. These were lying at their garages and are now obsolete. I restored them and they work great,” Ana shares.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

2018 January - Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR - LOVE FROM US ALL AT HOLI BOLI!



We all had some fun at our Xmas/NY staff function.  We were missing a few key members due to construction duties at their homes but it was a good turn out and a great day.  The Holi Boli staff got together with our Play n Learn (Early Childhood Education Centre) staff and had a picnic at the beautiful picnic grounds and park near Hirakud dam (about 20 mins away from Sambalpur).  Christmas prezzies were handed out (Indian dresses) and lots of laughs were had.  It is always quite a liberating feeling having all the ladies together and going on a trip without our husbands and fathers.  Only male present was our friend and director Ashok. 

Arriving at Park for a Picnic

Picnic Time!

Christmas Gifts from Holi Boli / CIC

Thursday, 16 November 2017

2017 November - We are growing! Thank you for buying Holi Boli!

More Sales = More people at Holi Boli! धन्यवाद!

Holi Boli Team: Lakshmi, Bhanumati (Back); Pramila, Asmati, Sandhya (Middle); Banita, Janaki, Sasmita (Front)


धन्यवाद /dhanyavad/ (Thank You)


Thank you, thank you, thank you!  More dresses are selling so we have been able to employee more ladies from our village.  That is our goal, it is a simple idea, do what I do best, make dresses, and empower women in our village through that.  We train ladies to sew and when we can we employee them.  You buy our dresses, that subsidizes our training costs (which are very affordable for our village ladies;  we believe them paying something towards their training is important), and through sales we employee more ladies. Simple.  Thank you again for your support; we hope that you feel empowered too!  We do designer dresses for ladies with unique situations.  We offer 100% satisfaction guarantee (it is scary enough to buy online, so we try to take the fear factor out of it! - some conditions apply like not wearing the dress).  We make orders for shops and boutiques. 

Anyhow, we love our work, love being in this beautiful village in this incredible India.  Thank you for making it happen. धन्यवाद and Nameskar!

Love Your Sisters!
Love from Ana & the Holi Boli Team!