现在我和我的家人，我的丈夫和父母，以及我的牧民团队，我们创办了Norlha工作室，一个世界屋脊上的作坊，制造牦牛绒产品以及配饰。这些产品远销纽约和巴黎的各种时尚大道。我们和Sonia Rykiel合作。事实上我们的事业是从Sonia Rykiel开始的，我们在色彩方面获得了很多启发:
Atelier on the Roof of the World （点击查看英文原版）
When I was in university, about 12 years ago, someone once said something that really struck me, and I think that's the beginning to my story today.I was at a party and someone turned to me and said, a friend actually, and he said, “This is the best time of our lives. It all goes downhill from here: jobs, mortgages, responsibilities, medication…” And this sentence really struck me, and I remember thinking, “how very depressing!” I mean I was having a great time in college, but was this it? Was it all going to end here?And right then and there I was determined not to make this the best time of my life. So then I began to ask the age-old question of “what makes us happy?” “What would make me happy?” And for me, it was a sense of purpose.Looking around me at life in the United States, it quickly became clear that I couldn't make any real contribution there. So then this was right around when I was graduating and my mother offered me an opportunity to go to the Tibetan Plateau and get in touch with my Tibetan identity. My father is Tibetan. I remember her saying, “take your camera, go out there, make a film.” And at the time I was into film and photography, so this seemed like the ideal proposition.And then I remember she added, “While you're out there, collect some yak wool.”“Yak wool?” I asked her, “What are we going to do with yak wool?” And she answered simply, “We can make it into textiles.” “Textiles?” I wasn't in the least bit interest in textiles, but I agreed to collect some yak wool.People often ask me what my first impression of life on the plateau was. I had arrived there in the middle of June, expecting it to be summer. I was wearing a T-shirt and flip-flops. And when I stepped out of the bus, it was pouring rain. “So cold!” was my first impression, and then the poverty. Well, nomads have plenty in terms of meat and dairy produce. There were no toilets, there was no running water, and nomad women had really tough lives. I started to feel really conscious about my camera and filming people, and slowly I began to turn to the alternative that my mother had presented: yak wool.If indeed yak wool could be made into a precious textile, then a workshop in a village, an atelier in a village, could mean jobs, could mean supporting livelihood. And slowly my “sense of purpose” from that point started to form shape. And it was a few months later, that actually I made a vow to dedicate my life to that end. So then with the guidance of my family, and with my mother and the support of my family, I set out to recruit people. And sometimes it took talking into the early hours of the morning trying to convince nomads that I would bring them the change that they so wanted.And some of you might think that “But why change?”It's such a beautiful way of life: simple, natural, authentic, and pure. And I thought the same thing as well, until I spend some time with the nomad family and I started to see the challenges behind this ‘pure’ life.Nomad women especially have to wake up at three in the morning during the summer months. Their day starts with milking the animals, and then they have to prepare churn the milk into butter, they have to dry the cheese, collect the dung, and there's no end to the things that can go wrong in herds that are over a hundred yaks and four hundred sheep. A wolf can attack a herd; contagious disease can spread, wiping out an entire herd if you are not careful. There is the lightening to worry about, the fog.And then in the world, we are increasingly now it’s becoming smaller and smaller and closer that young nomads are more aware of a modern world just swinging by, leaving them stuck in the traditional. And like any human anywhere， they want to be a part of what is now and what is today, parents are finding it harder to convince their children to remain as nomads, and indeed for many parents they want an alternative for their children. But who was I? I was just a 23 year old at that time, and I looked like an 18-year-old. And there was nothing to really tie me to the land. What if they gave up their herds and then I changed my mind and returned to the US?My first recruits were Dunko and Dugmo. Dunko is in the picture here, and his wife Dugmo. And they were actually from quite an affluent family, nomad family. So that meant that changing the cross of their lives was an even bigger decision for them. And while they were really attempted by what I was, and while they wanted be a part of the modern world, offering they had never been to school, so they were worried about the risks.And I remember they took me talking to them late into the early hours of the morning. And I would be in their house. It was made up of these two rooms and they lived in the house for about 5 months of the years; the rest of the time they would move camp with the animals. And the room was largely dominated by a heated platform called Kang.And then one night I was sitting there and taking about all the benefits of yak wool and how it could bring employment to the village. When I think, finally the turning point came, when I mentioned that I had a boyfriend, who was originally from the neighboring area. Dunko and Dugmo, his wife kind of exchanged embarrass glances cause it’s conservative over there. But I think that this help to reassure them considerably, Because finally here was something that really tied me to the area.The next year my boyfriend became my husband. And then two children followed, further cementing me to the land. So then finally when Dunko and Dugmo, the young nomad couple, when they decided to join my little team of nomads, they passed on the reins of nomadic livelihood to Dunko’s younger sister. And they decided to take a chance with me, for better or for worse.And at the time I remember thinking “Finally!” But in retrospect, I really appreciate the magnitude of their decision, and the trust that they've placed in me. And I'm really thankful for having started this project with such a strong family.Today, we have all been through numerous challenges. Cash flow continues to be a sort of challenge. All investments whether in building, equipment, training, research in development we’ve been responsible for. And with limited help from funds, it has really pushed us to work as hard as possible to make a product that is truly successful in the market today.And this in turn has helped to pave our way to be truly sustainable. Today together with my family: my husband, my parents, and my team of nomads, we have built what is Norlha Atelier, a workshop on the roof of the world that produces yak wool products, accessories sold on the fashion boulevards of Paris and New York.We’ve worked with Sonia Rykiel, actually we started our career with Sonia Rykiel, we learned a lot about color. We worked also with younger designers, such as Pigalle. We usually do all the scarfs that are made out of yak wool. We’ve done winter collections for Balmain and Lanvin in the accessories. And we continue to work with Haider Ackemann in both man and women Autumn/Winter and Spring/Summer collections. And we also did a special collection for Louis Vuitton in 2012.Today our workshop has 124 employees. 116 of them are from a single village. And for more than 100 of them, this is the first time in their lives that they have a 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. job. So for many of them, men especially, that was difficult. Because they had never in their lives before, answered to someone. And the concept of time was completely new to them.I remember in the beginning, sometimes they will just get up in the middle of the work and walk out. When we asked them where they were going and they would say, “oh, to feed my pig.” But then, with a steady source of income has quickly helped to change old habits, and today with the workshop, as a center of employment in the village, there has been a kind of snowball effect to the economy in the village.For example, two restaurants have opened up, several shops have opened up. Savvy vendors come peddling their goods right after payday. The Employees are becoming more eligible for loans, which has encouraged them to fix their houses or help them to fix their houses, and to buy things that they would have once seen as unnecessary and frivolous. So a kind of middle class has developed out of the employees in Norlha.Now I ‘d like to explain a little bit about Norlha as a company. We are a vertical company. So that means that from the collection of the raw material yak wool, to the production and design, now more and more as we emerge as a brand to the marketing and sales, we are in control of the entire chain of activities.So why is it necessary that we control the entire chain? Because in the world where everything is becoming increasingly fast, fast, fast, and cheap, cheap, cheap, Norlla is trying to produce something with a soul. Beautiful things that make a difference and tell a story are becoming rarer and rarer in today’s world.At Norlha we are not about making a few wealthy people wealthier. But rather it's about creating a product that becomes a sort of employment and that the creator takes pride in, and the final owner can cherish and pass down over generations.And in order to insure that all our values are met, it is crucial that we are in control of the entire chain. So how is Norlha different from other companies that work with yak wool？Many people have the misconception that yak wool is rare. It is actually on the contrary. There are so many yaks on the Tibetan Plateau that overgrazing is starting to become an environmental hazard.But what will nomads do if they don’t herd animals? Many of them are forced to moving to towns take on construction jobs，which are physically hard and are unreliable and only seasonal.And what about buying yak wool from nomads？By buying yak wool from nomads, you really can’t change a nomad’s life. And here is why. An average yak has half a kilo of wool. Most of the time, even that is a loss to the plateau, because the yaks shed their hair. They shed their wool and hair during the summer month. So if you don't pull it out, you lose it out to the plateau.The market value of a kilo of yak wool is two US dollars. So in a herd of about 100 yaks, a family of four can make only about 100 to 200 US dollars annually. So this is mere pocket money, it doesn’t make a difference to the nomad.So what does? It's actually by retaining the added value of the raw material in the area itself. And by making it turning into a source of employment is what makes a difference to the people.So at Norlha, by having a workshop that employs local people, our impact has been two-fold. On the one hand, we are able to combat the environmental hazard of overgrazing. And on the other hand, socially, we allow husbands to remain with wives, mothers to remain with children, and for elders to be surrounded by family in their hometowns.So how is Norlha making a difference to the final consumer? Let's think back to our wardrobes, and our houses and our endless possessions of goods and things. How many of these things are bought solely for our want for more things? How many of these things are just helping make a few wealthy people wealthier? And how many of these things are encouraging dire working conditions in other countries, and maybe even child labor?Now, how many of these things just end up contributing to the growing garbage pile of today’s world? Now some of you might argue that this is what we can afford, and here I’d like to bring the common saying that sometimes less is more. Why not buy one thing that you can cherish, and passed on to generations, and that will help you to have a better conscious, rather than buying 10 or 20 things that just end up contributing to the garbage in today’s world?The market is in the hands of the consumer. So the day that we as consumers start asking these questions, then the market will start supplying more piles of positive impact goods, and the world will be a better place.Norlha is about weaving together all walks of life into a fabric of society that is bound by trust and responsibility.