Alessia + Marvi: founders of Lost in Samsara

If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.
— Lost in Samsara

I'm already convinced Alessia and Marvi are way cooler than me, so I am honored to be featuring them on the blog today!

Originally from Italy, these London-based entrepreneurs launched an ethical marketplace as a response to the outrage they felt over the working-conditions they witnessed abroad. They work closely with partners in seven different countries who create beautiful fair-trade products which are sold through the marketplace of Lost in Samsara

We couldn't meet in person for this interview (due to the 5,000 mile trip it would require) but I'm excited to share some of their insights and story with you.

Can you give a little personal background about yourselves?

We’re both from Italy and met in London three years ago. Alessia studied Foreign Languages and, after living in Spain and Australia, decided to move to London. Marvi studied Political Science and moved to London after graduation, while continuing to volunteer in different part of the world.

We have a lot in common so we clicked immediately when we met. It was not long after meeting that we decided to found Lost in Samsara together.

What motivated you to open an ethical marketplace?

We were both looking for something that would bring greater meaning into our daily lives. While we were already aware of the consequences of unsustainable production, it was a particularly jarring trip to Nepal that helped as decide to do something about it.

The marketplace is our way to contribute to a more sustainable world and to connect producers and consumers.
— Lost In Samsara

What's been a specific challenge in starting your business?

Probably the initial setting up of Lost in Samsara was the most challenging part. We had to quickly learn many things we didn’t know about and generally starting something new it is at times very scary.

Our strong desire to make this all happening surely helped us going through the initial obstacles, but of course we couldn’t make it without the constant support and encouragement of our families and friends.

What's been the most rewarding part of this journey? 

Definitely the chance to meet inspiring people along the way, both here in London and abroad. For us it has been (and still is) a huge learning experience.

Do you have a strategy for building your personal ethical wardrobe?

We think that less is more and instead of buying loads of things we'd rather buy something more meaningful when possible.

Through Lost in Samsara we had the chance to get to know fabulous brands that do an amazing work in delivering style and sustainability both for people and the environment, so when in need of something we buy from them.

We also love shopping at the markets, where we can find handmade and locally produced clothes and accessories... and we really appreciate friends who give us clothes that they're not using anymore!

 Two of the marketplace's adorable toys.

Two of the marketplace's adorable toys.

Do you have a favorite product on Lost in Samsara?

We don’t really have a favorite product, we love them all for what they are and what they express. We must confess though that we find ourselves coming back to childhood with the soft toys and being a little sad when one of them finds a new home.

What's one thing YOU WISH more CONSUMERS KNEW ABOUT THE MARKETPLACE?

Probably the fact that each craft we have is unique in many ways. They are all handmade and they reflect the countries where they are from in the techniques, the colors and the materials used. Also, there are not many copies of each product. All we have is made on order to avoid over production, so the person that buys something from us is one of the few to own it.

On another level our products make a positive impact in the communities where they are produced. Each project we collaborate with provides not just living wages and good working conditions but also training, education and health programs. The partners we work with often employ disadvantaged people, mainly women.

 Lost in Samsara takes these cement bags and creates uniquely beautiful yoga bags and totes out of them. 

Lost in Samsara takes these cement bags and creates uniquely beautiful yoga bags and totes out of them. 

 Workers are guaranteed safe conditions, fair wages, and opportunities to learn and grow.

Workers are guaranteed safe conditions, fair wages, and opportunities to learn and grow.

 This yoga bag used to be a cement bag that would have been thrown away.

This yoga bag used to be a cement bag that would have been thrown away.

 Visiting one of their partners and investing in the relationship.

Visiting one of their partners and investing in the relationship.