Copper, Wood, Wax, & Cotton

Since our artisans are the reason we do what we do, we’d love to take some time to give a bit of background on the processes that our partnering villages use. In total, we offer three textile techniques: batik, weaving and embroidery, so let’s not waste any time and dive right into the batik process!

Indonesia 6 Premji Pack with Tribe member, Jar, in Mui Ne, Vietnam.

Indonesia 6 Premji Pack with Tribe member, Jar, in Mui Ne, Vietnam.


The handmade fabric featured in the Indonesia 6 textiles come from the artisan's hands of Surakarta, Indonesia. In the form of batik dyed cotton, these cool-colored works of art are a modern take on some very traditional techniques, both in batik fabric design and classic East Asian architecture.

The Indonesia 6 motif is inspired by woven grass mats.

The Indonesia 6 motif is inspired by woven grass mats.


Woven reeds, palm leaves and wild grasses have been a multifunctional mainstay for most cultures from Peru to the Philippines. The design for the Indonesia 6 fabric came from this classic weaving style that is widely used in Indonesian architecture for roofs and walls, but mostly in floor mats called Tikan Pandan in Surakarta. These mats are rolled out every night at Warungs (small street-side cafe's) where people gather to eat late night snacks and drink tea. Let’s take a look at how they do batik, Surakarta style!

Batik copper stamps being made.

Step 1: Begins with a drawing, via pencil and parchment paper so there is some translucency, which is key for artists to trace their ancestor's designs allowing the copper stamp maker to then translate that into the tool.  

Step 2: Is taking copper scraps and magically bending them into form to match the artist's drawing. It's mind blowing how they do this! Copper strips manipulated with pliers, hammers, shears, picks and files, true craftsmanship!  

Step 3: The artist comes to do a quality control check to make sure the copper craftsman's tool matches his/her drawing.  

Step 4: The approved or adjusted tool makes its way onto the wax stamper's shelf.

Batik wax application and dying.


Step 5: Is all about reduction... The "batik chef" who knows the precise recipe for the batik wax, melts the wax so the stamper can apply the wax to the cotton fabric.

Step 6: The stamper then takes the artist's and coppersmith's tool, dips it in the chef's wax and ever-so carefully applies it to the virgin cotton fabric. Now that the wax has been applied and has seeped into the fibers of the cotton it is ready for the next step.

Step 7: The cotton fabric is then bathed in dye.

Step 8: Is the easiest of all, hang it out to dry!

Finishing steps - ordering, sewing and delivery.


Step 9: We gather Ethnotek customer orders and then place a bulk fabric order with the artisans.

Step 10: Once the fabric arrives at the ETK workshop in Vietnam, it is sewn into finished Ethnotek bags with tender love and care.

Step 11: These hot new items are ready to ship to you!

Step 12: The cycle is now complete! When you buy a bag with these fabrics, it supports artisan employment for the continued creation of them, which in turn, helps preserve the culture that is literally woven and stamped into every piece. You can then wear your bag with pride, knowing the story behind it and lovely people who made it by hand.

Ghana 20 Premji Pack with Tribe members, Andre and Miriam.

Did you know?! Our Ghana fabrics employ the same beautiful batik technique! The main difference is that instead of a copper block, they use wood.

A block of wood about the size of a human hand is shaved smooth by a machine so it has a perfectly flat surface. (Some blocks are left square on top and some have handles carved into them.) Then the intricately designed Ghanian motifs are carved into the block using chisels, knives, and files.

Hand carved wood blocks for stamped batik.

Both batik and tie-dye were introduced to Ghana from South East Asia in the 1960s. They grew popular from the middle 1960s to the late 1970s. The patronage of this fabric declined significantly in the 1980s due to various reasons some of which include a preference for a cheaper alternative import. It has however seen a revival in recent years.

Block stamping batik in Accra and coal heated iron for pressing after the textile is finished.


Early African tie-dye involved a lot of spots and specks on the designs. They tied as well as stitched the fabrics to achieve a look different from the rest of the world. Other techniques such as painting and splashing the wax onto the fabric before dying is unique to African batik.

Additional techniques are used in conjunction with block printing, such as painting and splashing wax on before dying.

Batik has been used as an industry to alleviate poverty in rural areas alongside other textile making art forms. Due to the fact that small startup capital is required to establish the business, many women have set up businesses from their homes producing very brilliant and colorful designs for the local and international markets. We couldn't be more proud to be a part of this process!

Ghana 17 Wayu Pack 

Our partnering artisans in Ghana make their textiles in 25 meter sections and we purchase them according to the amount of customer orders we get from our Tribe each season. The bigger the Tribe grows; the more chances the people of Ghana have to express their creativity!


So that's it folks! I hope you enjoyed this deep-dive and now know a bit more about the batik process than you did before. "If you have any questions about these processes, be sure to leave a comment!"

- The Ethnotek Team

September 13, 2016 by Tribe Scribe

Spirits in the Loom

From the desert to the mountains, seas to volcanoes, and camels to toucans, our woven textiles span a variety of different landscapes, have deep cultural roots and are as unique as the artisans creating them… It’s time to tell the story of the handloom weaving process!
September 13, 2016 by Tribe Scribe

Embroidered Pathways

Hey Tribe, Adina here! 

I’m the graphic designer and visual storyteller for Ethnotek and I'm here to dig a little deeper into our third artisan process - the art of embroidery. 

Through growing up as an artist in the remote fields and forests of the US and spending the past 5 years traveling, I’ve always valued and connected with open landscapes, dirt roads, raw culture, traditional techniques, handmade processes, and vibrant color. A place that captures it all and is one of my favorite areas, is Sapa, in the northern mountains of Vietnam. 

Highland view from Sapa, Vietnam

Nestled high up in the Hoàng Liên Son mountains of northwest Vietnam, overlooking the terraced rice fields of the Muong Hoa Valley, sits the tiny mountain town of Sapa, home to the Hmong, one of Vietnam’s 54 ethnic groups.

Hmong woman preparing hemp for embroidery. 

For centuries, Hmong women have been making clothes for their families by hand, often learning by the time they are six or seven years old. A Hmong woman will continue to weave and embroider her entire life, and a woman’s beauty and intelligence is gauged by her textile making skills.

With only one rice harvest a year, the women of Sapa and the surrounding villages spend their days immersed in crafts - chatting over tea while embroidering, dividing a roll of linen fiber at the market, or sitting with friends preparing their threads. If there is a fiber that runs through a Hmong woman’s identity, it is quite literally her textile craft.

Vietnam textile before being sewn into a Premji Pack.

The Hmong believe others of their same tribe can recognize them based on the fiber and embroidery style they are wearing. Their strong attachment to their craft even transcends into their spiritual beliefs. They believe that when they pass away, their children will dress them in their tribe’s corresponding fiber so their ancestors can recognize them in the afterlife.

In terms of expression, embroidery is revered as one of the highest forms of creativity in the region. There are countless stitches in use by embroiders all over the world, though they are all variations of three basic kinds - flat, knotted, linked, and looped. Some flat stitches, such as running, satin, and cross-stitch lie on the surface of the fabric. Knotted stitches have a raised or studded pattern on the surface. The classic example of a linked or looped stitch is a chain stitch where the first stitch is held in place by the subsequent stitch.

Vietnam 6 - cross-stitch detail.

The bright colors of the embroidery thread cross to create a complex array of symbols on a ‘story cloth’, called pajntaub, which often features a variety of themes based on mythology or nature. The most common motifs used are those found in everyday life including stylized representations of snails, mountains, chicken feet, ram’s horns, cucumber seeds, leaves, stars, rain and the sun. These are intricately threaded by hand to tell the maker’s personal story.


Women from the black Hmong tribe in the Cat Cat village.

Dao Mong and landscapes outside of Lai Cai.

So when you receive your a bag with a Thread or textile from Vietnam, think about the storybook land of Sapa, where every part of the fabric was cultivated, woven, dyed, sewn, batiked and embroidered completely by hand. 

This is why I believe in our work at Ethnotek and why I am so thankful to be a part of the process that is doing genuine good in the world, by keeping these traditions and cultures alive - traditions that inspire me on a personal level, as well as ones that mean so much to the artisans continuing them.

Love & vibes

- Adina 

September 13, 2016 by Tribe Scribe

Countries Leading the Way This Earth Day

Earth Day has been celebrated for nearly 40 years in the United States, and since then, many strides have been made by humans to help reduce the further impact we will and have already made on our beautiful planet.

Countries Who Are Leading the Way:


In Myanmar, solar power has been distributed by way of solar charging stations to villages like the Tada Oh, in the central area of Mandalay. Women in the village manage the charging stations, and then sell the power back to their surrounding communities. Coincidentally, Myanmar has one of the lowest per capita GDP, and over 75% of their population is without power and electricity, so this is huge for them!

Costa Rica

In 2015, Costa Rica reported that they had achieved 99% renewable energy. How, you ask? Costa Rica is home to an abundance of rainfall, therefore hydropower is easily generated. The country is also setting goals to move public transportation away from fossil fuels, and towards geothermal and other energy sources. Well done, Costa Rica! 


Iceland is known for being beautiful because of it’s breathtaking landscape (just Google, "Iceland," and check out the photos!) It is because of this landscape that Iceland is also incredibly self-sustaining. Nearly 25% of the country’s electricity comes from geothermal energy, and 87% of the buildings in Iceland are powered by geothermal sources. Only .1% is powered by fossil fuels. It's awesome to see Iceland maintaining their landscape and harnessing it's incredible power without depleting resources.


You may be surprised to see India listed here, but in 2015, India saw a 12% increase to their renewable energy sources. India has huge potential for becoming a solar power provider, as it typically sees 300 days of sun per year. How incredible it would be to be able to harness the power of the sun!

We want to tip our hats to these countries, and even though they may not all be leaders in renewable energy, they are making strides with their effort. That matters greatly, because small changes matter. Speaking of small changes...

How Can I Make Changes to Positively Impact the Earth and Myself?

Small changes matter! It does not matter if you lead a zero waste life or if you simply choose to ride a bike instead of your car three days a week. Small changes still create impact, and that goes a long way.  

Here are some easy ways you can have an impact as a consumer:

Research the companies and brands you purchase from.

Does a particular brand you purchase from have an impact-offset plan? What are their shipping methods? How eco-friendly is their packaging? Who are they profiting? You might be surprised by what you discover! There are plenty of companies doing good out there, not just existing to make money. Find them! 

Take your own bags to the store.

Plastic bags are one of the most polluting items on our earth, especially in our oceans. Many city programs still don't have facilities to recycle plastic bags, so they end up in landfill. Taking your own bag is a simple and easy way to lower or eliminate your plastic bag use, and many stores give out bag credit when you bring your own bag! (A special nod to all of you who take your Ethnotek Bag to shop for groceries!)


Consider biking, walking, or other self-propelled forms of travel.

Yes, skiing counts! Human-powered travel is not only beneficial to the environment, but also to you, as a form of exercise! Plus, don’t you notice so much more when you take a walk?

How are you already offsetting your impact? Share it with us - we'd love to know! 

Happy Earth Day from Ethnotek! 

April 18, 2016 by Tribe Scribe

Spring Celebrations Around the World

Springtime symbolizes rebirth, newness, shedding of old skin, and moving forward towards a new year, new life, and well, lots of new things! Around the world, cultures celebrate the renewal of life after winter per tradition and ritual.

  • Thailand - Water Festival


Songkran, or Water Festival is celebrated in Thailand during April, which is also the Thai New Year, along with a few other Southeast Asian countries. The tradition involves, you guessed it, water! People in villages and cities in Thailand will gather around and throw water on each other, symbolizing the washing away of the past and bad luck. The origin of Songkran involved the Bathing of the Buddha and pouring water on monks and elders hands, but has transitioned into quite a playful celebration! 

  • Japan - Shunbun no Hi

Kyoto Graveyard

The Japanese celebrate the Vernal Equinox by visiting ancestral graves and leaving flowers, cleaning their tombstone, removing weeds, and praying for ease in their journey of the afterlife. Farmers in Japan will also pray for abundant and healthy crops during this time.

  • Bali, Indonesia - Hari Raya Nyepi

Hari Raya Nyepi

In March, the Balinese welcome not only Spring, but also the Balinese New Year by driving out the devils and bad spirits with a day of noise! On the following day, the Day of Silence, nobody does anything. The Balinese are not allowed to work, eat, leave their homes, and even tourists are not allowed to leave their residences.

Check out our Indonesian artisan collection!

  • Mexico - Make the trek to Chichen Itza: on the vernal equinox!

Chicen Itza

In Mexico, one of the cool experiences you can have during the Spring Equinox is to visit the many Mayan archaeological sites, like Chichen Itza. If you’re around at 4pm, you can watch the sun cast peculiar shadows on the steps of the pyramid, creating a snake-like effect!

  • India - Holi

Holi Festival

Holi festival takes place at the start of Spring after the full moon in March in India. There is usually a public bonfire, people gather in the streets and go a little crazy during Holi. The colored powders and waters that get thrown around symbolize the shedding of the dullness of winter, and the welcoming of colors, happiness and merrymaking! Oh, and Spring!

Check out our hand-woven India collection! 

March 22, 2016 by Tribe Scribe


Ethnotek Tribe member and photojournalist, James Pham, accompanied the Ethnotek team this year on a visit to the Cham village in Vietnam to celebrate the Kate Festival with their weavers and friends. For a unique and unbiased perspective, we asked James to write about his experience and share some photos. He was happy to oblige... Enjoy!

James Pham (bottom left in the gray shirt). Inrajaka (third from right), Inrahani, and Jake Orak (Ethnotek founder). 

The night is pitch black. Every now and again, a solitary spot of light breaks up the night, bouncing ever closer, signaling another visitor bumping along the dirt path on a motorbike. It’s the eve of Kate (pronounced “kah-tay”), one of the most important Cham religious festivals of the year bringing Cham people back from all corners of Vietnam.

Established in the second century AD, the Champa civilization reached its peak in the ninth century, controlling parts of Central Vietnam down to the Mekong Delta and extending west into present-day Cambodia and Laos.

Known as intrepid seafarers, the Champa Kingdom developed international trade routes that allowed them to accumulate wealth and political power. However, as their contemporaries grew stronger, the Champa people were slowly driven south by the Vietnamese kings and east by the Angkorian kings, leaving centuries-old sandstone towers as silent place holders of this once-great civilization.  

Cham Towers near Phan Rang, Vietnam

Despite no longer having a land to call their own, the Champa Kingdom is survived by the Cham people, one of Vietnam’s 54 minority groups. We’ve traveled almost eight hours to Phan Rang, on Vietnam’s South Central coast to experience the largest Cham gathering, the annual Kate Festival.

Our guide is Inrajaka, a 30-something cultural ambassador of sorts. We arrive at his home, a modest thatch-roofed abode with walls coated with buffalo dung set in a wide field, away from the more “modern” cement houses that make up the nearby town.

Home of Inrajaka, photo by Inrajaya Photography

Raised in Saigon (Vietnam’s largest city), Inrajaka made the unusual decision to move back to his tiny blip of a hometown, building this traditional home with few creature comforts. This night, it’s the setting for an impromptu gathering of friends and family who have returned for Kate from far-flung locales where schooling and employment are more accessible. As dusk turns into night, the few lights in the home are turned on, but most of us are sitting in half darkness on the brick terrace, sharing a bountiful yet simple meal, passing around a clay jar of distilled spirits, sipped from a communal straw. The stars are bright and the night is quiet, punctuated by the laughter of old friends and new acquaintances.

Cham schoolchildren in Inrajaka’s village of My Phuoc

“No matter where I went or who I met, something always pulled me back,” says Inrajaka as to why he chose to give up a promising future in the big city. “Every time I went back and put on Cham clothing, it just felt like me ― the moonlit nights, the wide open sky, the smells, the people. I felt the best way to help preserve the culture had to be to live here and survive here”.

The Cham are different from other minorities in Vietnam in that they customarily live side-by-side with ethnic Vietnamese, instead of being geographically isolated, like the hill tribes of mountainous Sapa in Vietnam’s far north. However, as with so many minorities around the world, Cham villages are often depressed economically, with little access to higher education and decent jobs.

“For most young people, when they feel like they have the strength to fly, they fly away,” says Inrajaka. This exodus of the young has placed further pressure on the Cham to integrate into Vietnamese society. “There are families who feel that teaching the Cham language to their children is not important, that it’s better for business if they learn English or Japanese. The Cham have a saying that ‘those with knowledge sit in the best places and eat first; those without can sit right next to you and you wouldn’t even notice them.’ We used to value knowledge, literature and music above material possessions but now it’s cars and big houses and money,” Inrajaka says wistfully.

Thankfully, Inrajaka isn’t the only one in his family trying to make a difference. His mother, Inrahani, is battling to revive the fading art of Cham weaving.

Early Chinese sources suggest that the Cham wove both cotton and silk cloth incorporating multiple colors and patterns. Cham weavers “knew how to mix gold thread into the weft and weave, wrong or right side out, a different pattern on each side" and they "embroidered complicated motifs made more dazzlingly luxurious with gold, silver, pearls, and gemstones.”

Inrahani at the loom

We visit Inrahani’s small weaving workshop in the village where a few local women are sitting at long, narrow looms, their hands and feet working in tandem to make beautiful textiles, thread by painstaking thread. More than just cloth, it wouldn’t be wrong to call these “books in fabric”, as designs woven into the textiles tell ancient stories with motifs named after everyday objects like “cucumber” or “dog foot”.

Earlier in the day, though, as we take a walk around the village, we see discarded looms abandoned in the front yard of houses. With the working-aged all but gone, there are only the old and the very young left, with no one to continue the art of weaving.  

“When I was a girl, almost every family did weaving, even in the evenings,” Inrahani remembers. “But then many people left the villages. You could work at a factory or be a seller or do manual labor like picking coffee or cashews and make more money. It was only the older or weaker ones who stayed behind to take care of the homes and children. The looms were being discarded for firewood.”

So began Inrahani’s quest to revive the art of weaving in her village. “It was almost lost, maybe only 10% left. But I knew that if we called them back, they would come. If they could earn even VND 3 million (USD 150) at home instead of VND 4 million (USD 200) away, people would come back.”

In 1990, she began with a modest business selling woven handicrafts as souvenirs in Saigon. In the decades since, she’s established herself as the face of Cham weaving in Vietnam, recently receiving an award for being the country’s largest Cham textile producer. Her success has allowed her to revive the craft in her village, also partnering with Ethnotek to produce custom designs based on traditional patterns. “A lot of people talked, but my American friend (as she calls Ethnotek owner Jake Orak, in part because she can’t pronounce his name properly, as there is no “j” sound in Vietnamese) was the only one who did something about it. They pay us 50% upfront which allows us to buy the materials. They are genuinely interested in helping the community.”

With her success, Hani hopes to reinvest in the Cham villages. Her workshop now also doubles as a museum of sorts with Cham artifacts on display and a library, primarily consisting of an old wooden bookcase with yellowed books in Chamic script. Her dream is to build a preschool where village children can be taught the old Cham ways and a proper library where people can read Cham writings. She wants to build traditional-style Cham houses for visitors to see what Cham family life is like. She wants to restore all 30 Cham weaving motifs. “Red with silver or gold patterns for men. Dark green and other dark colors for women. The colors and patterns are used to show hierarchy. It’s worn by our priests who talk to God. It’s worn by our mothers and fathers when they pass on. So how can it die?” says Inrahani of the craft that is at once her livelihood and her passion. “We still have the [Cham] towers which are historical artifacts. I also want to make sure our culture survives ― our food, our arts, our way of life.”

The next day, we’re up early to witness the first day of Kate, traditionally held in September / October. The multi-day festival includes dances, the ritual of changing clothes for the local Champa deities, and music and chanting to recount the histories of the gods and goddesses and to invite them to be present and bless the Cham people.

The day starts out with a colorful procession leading towards the soccer stadium repurposed for the opening ceremonies, umbrellas out in force to counteract the blazing sun, even at this early hour.

Early arrivers take seats on the bleachers, but most of us stand around the perimeter, yielding to the kids who squirm their way to the front to take in the action. Music and dancing ensues with fan dances, folk music and speeches.

The next day, we head to Po Rome, one of the many Cham towers that dot Vietnam’s central coastline. The 8-meter tower located on a hill was built in the 17th century in honor of a wise Champa king who the people later deified.

It’s early yet, but families have already staked out their space in the area surrounding the tower. Offerings of meat, fruit and rice are carefully laid out on bamboo mats. More and more people filter in as the morning wears on, and when there looks to be no possible room for more, someone slides over and another mat is put down.The ritual changing of the wardrobe is happening in the tower, but only a few are allowed entry. Most are content to simply be a part of the ceremony, catching up with old friends, and making new ones. Some will stay the whole day and share their offerings while others make their way down to the nearby beach for a picnic, reunited with friends and family who they haven’t seen in a year.However, even this age-old tradition is being threatened. The celebration that was once reputedly one full month during the days of the Champa civilization has been shortened to a few days. What’s left is being co-opted and re-branded as a “Cham New Year” to better sell to tourists. And young Cham sometimes find it difficult to make it back to their home villages because employers often don’t understand the importance of Kate.

“That seems to be a common thread with most of the ethnic minority groups here in Vietnam,” says Jake Orak, Ethnotek founder. “They’re either being pushed out or put on display. Ethnocide poses a real threat here because there's just not enough support or understanding of the importance of their cultural practices. We've made it our responsibility to restore demand for handmade textiles by bringing business to these areas as well as helping to tell their story to a wider global audience. Cultural preservation through commerce and storytelling if you will"

Jake adds, "and this isn't coming from a high and mighty perspective... We're not saying we're helping the poor defenseless artisans. That's not our place, nor would it be fair to say about them. The artisans are clearly implementing methods to help themselves. Our work is better suited to finding the right partnerships on the ground with community leaders like Hani who fully understand the process and cultural norms and can band the people together. Hani recently winning an award for being the largest Cham textile producer in Vietnam is proof of her effort. Clearly she has taken action and knows how to lead this effort. It's our job to find those leaders and support them and put our money where our mouth is. By placing consistent fabric orders year after year to prove that there is a viable source of income in protecting these art-forms. And so far so good on that front, thanks to the support of our awesome customers!”

Know more, do more:

  • The roughly 167,000 Cham people in Vietnam are concentrated in Binh Thuan and Ninh Thuan provinces (near Phan Rang) and along the Cambodian border in Tay Ninh and Chau Doc provinces. Inrajaka sometimes arranges tours to experience Cham culture.
  • To understand more about the history of Kate, this academic article by researcher William Noseworthy is a good resource.
  • Pair a visit to the ruins of the large Cham temple complex of My Son (about 1.5 hours outside of Danang, Vietnam) with a visit to the excellent Cham Sculpture Museum in Danang.
  • Check out “Incredible Champa” on Facebook, a page by photographer Inrajaya (Inrajaka’s brother) featuring images of Cham culture

Support the Cham weavers by purchasing the “Vietnam 9” textile featuring the “dog foot” and “cucumber” motifs or the “Vietnam 11”, one of our newest threads in a bold blue with woven Cham designs.






Ethnotek featured in the Textile Institute of England's Publication

We couldn't be more thrilled and honored to be featured in this month's publication by the Textile Institute

The Textile Institute is a unique organisation in textiles, clothing and footwear. It was incorporated in England by a Royal Charter granted in 1925 and is a registered charity.

The Institute has individual and corporate members in up to 80 countries, the membership covers all sectors and all disciplines in textiles, clothing and footwear... 
If you're interested, you can subscribe to their magazine and all other data resources here:

For the full scoop on Ethnotek's feature, see the page inserts below... Enjoy!

May 01, 2015 by the Tribe Scribe

The Inner Circle Sale

Here at Ethnotek, we are so thankful for you, our customers, the Ethnotek Tribe. You are a powerful bunch! You've tagged us all over Instagram and Facebook, you've shared your adventures and journeys with us, big and small, at home and on the other side of the globe.

We love serving you, our Tribe. Our customers don't just buy a bag, you become part of a community of people who make world culture part of their life and keep it alive, hopefully for generations to come. This is no small feat, we are all involved in some small way, interconnected, and your purchase makes all the difference. You’re part of the community that sees the status quo, and walks – no – hikes, bikes, paddles the other direction. If we didn't have you, it would be a lonely journey.

It's with that appreciation that we announce our Inner Circle Sale. This is a very limited time sale for our "inner circle" - if you haven't received an email with the link, you can request one - just sign up in the upper left hand corner of our site. You probably know that we rarely have sales and promotions. Our smaller production with such precious handmade textiles create products that get snatched up pretty quickly. But this holiday season, we selected some of our best sellers and created a sale just for you, our inner circle.

There are so many giftable products at really great prices, but that's all we can say. If you want access, sign up now (check out the upper left corner of the site).

If you missed it, we have another surprise for you, any order over $100 receives a Padu Pouch. You can learn all about it, and see more images here.

We appreciate you and hope you enjoy this sale! You're welcome to invite your friends too. The more, the merrier...although stock is limited so you might want pick your favorites first!


Happy Thanksgiving Ethnotek Tribe! Thank you for everything you do!

Collaboration With a Kingdom

You guys and gals, our beloved Tribe, have always loved the textile designs that are featured in our bags, which originated with the Champa Kingdom and are woven in the Binh Thuan & Ninh Thuan Provinces of Vietnam... In the name of increasing demand for the artisans so they can grow their family weaving businesses, we listened carefully to your feedback for inspiration to think of new ways to increase demand even more! 

Typically we hand select the most traditional textile designs, but for this round we took a new approach... The feedback from you stylish and well travelled individuals, was that you liked our Cham designs, but were curious to see patterns that were bigger and bolder. We took that feedback to heart and asked the artisans if they'd be interested in teaming up with Ethnotek on a new artistic endeavor to take their most classic textile motif "Dog Foot & Cucumber" and enlarge it to take on a modern and even pixelated look... They loved the idea and were excited for the new creative challenge! So, we decided to collaborate with the kingdom!

As it is with most of our artisans we work with, they design them from things they see in everyday life. In the Champa Kingdom, pets and animals are sacred and loved. Dogs run freely throughout the village and their paw prints are seen everywhere. Hence the ‘Dog Foot’ design. The second element of the new Motif is the 'cucumber' design, which is an abstraction of the triangular or diamond-like shapes inside the core of the vegetable which can be seen when sliced open. Cool huh?!

Without further ado, here's a look at the Limited Edition Vietnam 9 Raja Thread and Raja Backpack. We hope you love it as much as we do. It's a new approach to our socially responsible sourcing model. This will be an interesting experiment to see how it goes. The artisans are proud of it and so are we. Your purchase is your vote for how much you dig the design and support this modern method of Ethnotek artisan collaborations. Don't be shy, share it on social media, talk about it, ask us questions. We'd love to hear your feedback on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. We're always listening!




Getting Scrappy

If you read the last blog you know we've got some surprises up our sleeves this holiday season and here's one of em... Ladies and gents, meet the Padu Pouch. We made it just for your accessories - whether you want to store chargers and flash drives, or pens and pencils, or makeup brushes and eyeliner - the Padu Pouch will make it easy to keep everything in one spot.


Every day you inspire us by your commitment to do good in the world. You've shared your adventures both at home, and abroad, and we're stoked! You're resourceful, generous, and making a difference out there! 

As part of our Tribe, you know that Ethnotek shares your commitment! We are always looking for ways to decrease our environmental impact, and reduce waste wherever possible. Well, Founder and Head Designer, Jake was eyeing some extra fabric on hand (you may recognize these punchy prints and bold colors from our limited edition Threads) he started playing with the "scraps" and couldn't stop. Most companies would consider that waste, but not us. Your Ethnotek purchase has always supported the Artisans who create these incredible fabrics. We work closely with them and their communities so there's no way we could just toss out their hard work. There's beauty and function everywhere, even in the "scraps." Just like that a new product was born and the ETK workshop was busy making the most of handmade textiles from around the world.

Now here's the surprise: you can have the Padu Pouch for free. It's our gift to you this holiday season. We're serious! After buying any of our socially responsible products here at, tell your pals about us on Facebook or Twitter and it's yours. 

Our goal this holiday season is to welcome more like-minded humans to the Ethnotek Tribe. The more of us there are, the more good we can do in the world! So if you'd like to make a difference, employ artisans around the globe, and keep culture alive, tell your friends and family about our Tribe and we'll surprise you with a Padu Pouch! 


Thanks for inspiring us to make the most of things, hopefully create the best of things, and be a little "scrappy" along the way!

November 11, 2014 by the Tribe Scribe