ABURY meets Soulié designer Renée Lamb
Posted on 28 October 2016
Renée Lamb is a yogini, writer and entrepreneur. She founded her beautiful brand Soulié in 2013 to prove that conscious consumerism could change the world by creating economic development while preserving cultures and craft traditions. Renée Lamb lives in the US with her husband and two children. yet all her products are made by local artisans in various communities around the world. The stories she told us in the interview were equally as beautiful as the stories she tells through her products:
Renée Lamb, start by tagging yourself with three words.
Restless – Nomad – Lover
ABURY is all about handicrafts. We believe that “hands tell stories“. What do your hands tell about you?
The one thing that I love about my hands is that they have always fit into my great grandmother’s gloves when no one else’s would. Every time I pull those gloves out, it is such a sweet reminder that we are all compilations of our past, our ancestors and our shared history.
What is the last thing you created with your hands?
A long white linen dress. 9 months pregnant in the middle of the summer and all I wanted, but couldn’t find, was a white linen dress. After a weekend of fabric shopping in NY, out came the dress form and scissors. It took me days to design and complete and would probably not be the ideal maternity dress for most women (it was a long tent dress and the last thing most pregnant women want is a stiff linen tent over their belly!), but I loved it. Every time I wore it I felt close to my son because I knew I had made it in honour of him and how his presence would change my life.
Looking back on everything you’ve done in your life - What is the one thing you are proudest of?
Having the courage to: travel to India by myself at the age of 24, go to a graduate school that was way out of my league, start my own company. Any moment where I was completely terrified and I still jumped. That is one that I am proud of.
If you could choose, what would you like to be able to do with your hands?
I’d love to be able to create beautiful ceramics. To be able to manipulate earth into a beautiful, utilitarian object seems to touch the very essence of what it means to be human.
“One of a mind” underlines our strong belief in equality and the value of sharing. How does intercultural exchange benefit our society in your eyes?
It’s fundamental to any sort of progress. We can not know what we truly believe or what we are truly made of until we step out of our own comfort zone. enough to realise what beliefs and habits are actually ours versus just inherited from our society or the people around us. Intercultural exchange is such a great way to accomplish this because it allows us to see how truly similar we can be to someone else with a totally different background and belief system.
How did you get in touch with the rich culture of India?
By jumping in with both feet! I went there for work when I was just out of college and was determined that by the time I returned home I would know what it felt like to have grown up there. I studied Hindi, worked everyday in a vibrant Delhi slum, took the local buses and lived with a local family. It was an intense and challenging experience but by the time I left, I had accomplished my goal and this amazing country felt like a second home.
What differentiates India from other countries? What does it have that no other culture has?
India is such a large and diverse country. I like to describe it as having everything you could imagine and then the complete opposite as well. It has the capacity to push you to your limits and make you cry with gratitude. Everyone should travel there because it truly is a place that can teach you limits of your own person, over and over again.
What was your most memorable moment in India?
Stepping off the plane in Delhi, young and alone, scared to death and thinking I had made a mistake. Every time I start something new, I think back to that moment and how different my life would be if I hadn’t had the strength to push past my fear and get though that customs line.
How would you describe the “Taste of India” and what is your favourite?
I would describe the “taste of India” as curiosity. My favourite flavour of curiosity: always being open to something new, whatever amazing new adventure life has to throw at you.
Your brand is called Soulié - “the beauty of handmade". What is your definition of beauty?
Authenticity and intention
How do you bring more beauty into this world with Soulié?
By taking those things we use everyday and filling them with purpose. A bag, strap or scarf has so much more beauty when it is made by another person in a dignified and authentic way. This changes the energy of the piece. As humans I believe that we can feel that difference. It draws us towards certain pieces and allows us to more easily access our own joy through the joy and intention that was put into the piece by the person that created it.
We are delighted to add some of Soulié's products to our selection. What makes those particular products unique in your opinion and why?
Absolutely every piece in our line has a three-fold goal: to be breathtakingly beautiful (why have things in your life if you don’t love them so much that they take your breath away?!), to create dignified work for our artisan partners while preserving culturally important artistic traditions, and to echo back to our customers their own unique beauty. There are very few other companies I know of that have this focus all the way from beginning to end. I believe this to be our best strength and what makes us unique in the marketplace.
© Photo via Sou