Colleen Clines traveled to India as part of her Design for Development class while getting her graduate degree in landscape architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design. Her only project prompt was to work with textiles with a community in need. While there, she connected with an NGO in the red-light district in Calcutta that provided working opportunities for women who were forced into the commercial sex trade and/or were survivors of domestic violence. This inspired her to want to contribute resources, which led to the founding of Anchal Project.
In 2011, Colleen brought her sister, Maggie into the business, as she had just graduated with a degree in architecture. Now, Colleen is CEO, while Maggie is Vice President and Creative Director.
After starting a nonprofit almost a decade ago, the Clines sisters have grown Anchal into a successful social venture that utilizes design to foster change and make an incredible social impact. Anchal now employs over 150 artisans in both India and the Clines’ hometown of Louisville, Kentucky to design and manufacture original handmade bedding, decor, scarves, bags, and more.
In this episode, the Clines discuss the founding of Anchal, how Colleen tricked Maggie into joining the business, how the nonprofit has evolved, and therefore the social enterprise vs. nonprofit models, and finally, the further impact they are looking to have as they continue to grow.
“A real turning point is the confidence we built through those first few years, but really the impact, taking action regardless of whatever you don’t have.” – Colleen Clines
- What it’s like to work together as sisters
- How they went from working out of their parents’ house to paying themselves salaries
- The growth of Anchal over the course of nine years
- How they are looking to evolve Anchal to further make a difference in the world of textiles.
Links from the Episode:
Building a Better World, Together
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