Next up in our Meet the Maker series presented by American Express, we have Ali Price and Lydia Harter of Lydali. Ali and Lydia work with artisans from 28 different countries to source beautiful and unique handmade products for their online boutique. We are longtime fans of this duo here at Brit HQ. Fact: The majority of B+C ladies rock their druzy stone earrings on the daily. Can you blame us? They go with everything!
Luckily, you’ll be able to snag a pair of your own next weekend—Lydali will be joining us at Re:Make SF! Don’t forget to register for FREE here. Read on as Ali and Lydia fill us in on their advice for other makers, their favorite products and more!
First things first, tell us a little bit about yourself.
Lydia: I was born in Hong Kong, and have lived in Brussels, Chicago, and LA. I love all things French, and have seen every Alfred Hitchcock movie.
Ali: I grew up in Nashville, and spent a lot of time in East Africa in college, and I fell in love with the people, the country, and the crafts. I came to work in international microfinance and technology in San Francisco after I graduated, but have always held onto my love for artisans and their crafts.
Lydia: Ali and I met in college, and we lived together after we graduated in a big crazy house full of girls. We stayed up late eating cookie dough and talking about business ideas. Two years later, we both found ourselves in San Francisco, and when Ali got back from a trip to Indonesia talking about the idea for Lydali, I signed on immediately. We’ve been attached at the hip ever since!
Why did you decide to start Lydali?
We both love to travel, and we love shopping in markets and meeting artists and makers. We wanted to create a way for people to buy international artisans’ products right here in the US, and we also wanted to help provide more reliable jobs and incomes for artisans around the world.
Tell us more about Lydali and how you source your products.
We look for products that are beautifully made, and that also have a strong social impact. We’re working with over 50 incredible artisan groups in 28 different countries.
Do you have a favorite product? Why?
Ali: I love our cuffs made of recycled bullet casings and bombshells by artisans in Cambodia.
Lydia: Druzy earrings from Brazil, because they go with everything!
In five words or less, tell us why you love to make.
We love curating beautiful things.
What’s one piece of advice you’d share with other makers?
Be persistent in doing what you love. Everything takes longer than you’d expect it to when you’re trying to get a business off the ground, but it’s totally worth it.
What other creative hobbies do you have?
Ali: I love oil painting, putting together eclectic interiors, and making fancy grilled cheese sandwiches.
Lydia: Decorating bathrooms with obscure themes, needlepointing, sewing and cooking.
Tell us how technology has changed and supported what you do.
With the spread of technology, it has become so much easier for us to be in touch with artisans around the world. Most artisans have cell phones and access to internet, and we can send photos back and forth and communicate via Skype to finalize product designs and plan deliveries.
What’s up next for you?
We’re heading to Guatemala this September to build some new partnerships with artisan groups there, and we can’t wait to add loads of colorful patterned Guatemalan goodies to the website!
Okay, have you fallen in love with Ali + Lydia yet? Then don’t forget! They’ll be joining us at Re:Make SF on September 13th! Stop by Fort Mason to check out their jewelry, home goods and more.
This series is a collaboration with American Express. Visit the Shop Small® website to learn about how you can take part in Shop Small, a movement to celebrate small business.