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Our Design Process

Our Design Process

Every AARVEN product starts with careful research. We build first-hand connections, often traveling far off the beaten track to meet each artisan we collaborate with in person. Preserving traditional crafts and forging long lasting relationships. 

Co-founders Bee and Amy combine their skills to bring our products to life. Born and raised in South Africa, Bee has over four decades of experience in craft development. Amy is a multi-disciplinary artist and designer with hands-on experience creating everything from jewellery to hand block printed textiles, brass hardware and paper goods.

"Working in close collaboration with our artisans we design modern heirlooms using traditional techniques."

AARVEN products come under three categories.

DESIGNED - Sometimes the idea comes first. It might spend been a long time in incubation until we find the perfect artisan or group to work with who have the skills to bring an idea to life. For example our block printed textiles, jewellery and woven rugs.

COLLABORATION - Pieces that are a collaboration often start with Bee finding a group or individual that has a particular creative strength and their own design signature. Amy will then work in collaboration with this artisan to create something new, whilst retaining the authenticity of the place and culture it has come from. An example of this would be our masks, mirrors and Ghanaian brass hardware.

UNIQUE FIND - Often on our travels we come across a maker that is producing something already perfect for the AARVEN brand. We love it just how it is and know you will too. Our one-of-a-kind baskets are great example of this, each one is totally unique so you can't find them anywhere else. There's also the Tanzanian Cotton Throws that Bee went on a 9hour bus journey to establish a connection with and are hand-dyed in exclusive colours just for us. 

How exactly do we find all of our amazing artisans around the world?

That’s where our Head of Adventure and co-founder Bee comes in. Bee has spent years travelling the world, in search of the best artisans. She oversees the process of crafting our goods through from production to store arrival. Whilst on her travels, she soaks up the local culture, crafts and meets a whole host of fantastic makers for us to potentially collaborate with. Fed by her desire to uplift peoples lives and create sustainable futures for rural and urban crafts people. Bee will choose a country to visit having done many hours of research and forged links with people on the ground beforehand. They will in turn introduce her to groups and continue working with us during the production process. 

Our Design Process

Amy works closely with each of our skilled artisans when producing original designs, keeping our artisans at the heart of what we do. She takes a hands on approach, travelling to meet each group to learn about their craft or spending time over zoom calls when travel isn't possible. All of our designing is done by hand, using drawing, painting, lino and wood-block cutting and wax carving to Whether designing here in the UK or in person on location, we keep our core values in mind to ensure our end products will be something we are proud of. 

Our Core Values

COMMUNITY We believe collaboration is the key to a more connected future. We know that every person deserves a good quality of life and that this is possible if we share resources wisely. So, whilst designing our products Amy and Bee keep the idea of community in mind. Thinking about the artisans we already work with and what future ranges could be designed for our existing groups that would positively impact their community. We often think of innovative ways our artisans can use their incredible skills and develop new product lines that will best showcase their talents.  

SUSTAINABILITY - Thinking about the sustainability of our products during the design phase is paramount. We work towards a zero waste philosophy, meaning we are always conscious of the materials we are using and how we and our partners can reduce waste during the production of our designs. One area this has been particularly successful is our Indian jewellery collections where we use recycled silver. We've also been working in recycled brass and aluminium with husband and wife team Anton and Benta for the past 6 years. £36,000,000 worth of aluminium is thrown away each year and if all cans in the UK were recycled, we would need 14 million fewer dustbins. Facts like this are always at the forefront of our mind, so that we can make sure our end products are as sustainable as possible.


Want to learn more about our artisan stories? Click here.

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