Cosmo SL features Selyna in Empowerful 2018
Selyn is a fashion and lifestyle brand dedicated to empowering women through design. From clothing and accessories to homeware, Selyn’s latest collection exudes effortless ease. Founded by Selyna’s mother Sandra Wanduragala 26 years ago, they have grown to be family to a large network of women in several provinces of the country. This homegrown brand works with a simple ethos — create a platform for skilled craftswomen from all walks of life, to find and retain their jobs. From production to consumption, these workers not only empower themselves, but those around them. In a country where the gender gaps for wages and ownership are overwhelmingly great, this brand provides each worker the opportunity to make their own money and offers services such as crèche facilities, loan schemes, legal and health services amongst the network and their families.
People & planet before profit
“We have always worked within this philosophy and the credit should most certainly go to my mother, the founder, and my uncle, the Managing Director for continuing to protect our triple bottom-line over the years,” says Selyna Peiris, Business Development Director. “At no point in our operations do we compromise on people or the planet in order to maximise profit.”
Having worked in both the development and public sector, Selyna came to realize that the social business model Selyn worked within could indeed fill in the gaps and challenges faced by women in sustaining their livelihoods. Going from law to fashion may not seem like the most natural career move, but for Selyna, it gave her the chance to use her years of experience working for various organizations including government and advocating for women to create direct impact on the business.
Ethical production & ethical purchasing
While Selyn will remain a primarily handloom firm, Selyna also envisions the company expanding into other ventures in the next couple of years. “I cannot stop where my mother started but will do my best to take our social enterprise model to other parts and crafts of the country and beyond.”
If ever there was a time to support women-owned brands, it’s the present—and even better if those brands are also committed to helping other women. As the largest consumers of fashion, women can participate in the global movement of empowering women through what we choose to purchase. After all, putting your hard-earned rupees towards companies that are making an impact on something beyond their own bottom lines is one great way to contribute.
This article was originally published as ‘A Fair Trade’ in the March 2018 issue of Cosmopolitan Sri Lanka. For more career advice, grab a copy of our latest magazine.
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