Visit to our Felt Slipper Workshop in Nepal

Last week I travelled to Nepal, a country I have been visiting since 2009.  I first went as a volunteer, and stayed to help in an orphanage just outside of Kathmandu.

On my days off, I loved browsing the local markets and admired the extensive handicraft on sale, buying lots of gifts for people back home.  My friend’s children adored the felt animal slippers I gave them.

When I opened Little Beach Boutique in 2011, I decided that the felt animal slippers I had bought as gifts would be ideal for my customers, so I returned to Kathmandu and researched local businesses who could make them for me.

I met Ramji, a local man, who designs and makes these beautiful slippers with his wife Usha and a small team of crafters in his home-based workshop in Kathmandu.  I learnt how the slippers are made; first dyed with vivid colours, washed and shaped with soap and water, then left to dry naturally in the sun.  The additional details, such as the friendly faces, bright eyes and intricate wool details are sewn on on after this.

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Handmade felt slippers hanging to dry in the sun

I started with an order for some felt tigers, sheep and quirky ‘jesters’ and our customers loved them.

I soon returned to Nepal to come up with some new designs alongside Ramji, such as our Dog Boots, pictured below:

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Handmade felt dog slippers made in Nepal

And last week, I returned to Nepal, to visit the orphanage again, view the beautiful mountains and to see Ramji and his workshop.  This is me with Ramji and his wife, Usha, below:

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We discussed lots of new ideas to add to our collection.  To date, our range of felt animal slippers at Little Beach Boutique, includes Cows, Sheep and Donkeys.  And now we also have adult sizes!

You can view our collection here:  www.littlebeachboutique.com

If you have any suggestions for designs, I’d love to hear from you.  Bye for now x

Warm felt slippers for cold winter feet

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In 2009 I visited Nepal for the first time. I had decided to take a few months to travel and volunteer, and instantly fell in love with the place – it became home for a while, and I have gone back every year since.

During one of my visits, I met Ramji, a local business man, who makes felt slippers from his home workshop in the Kathmandu Valley.  I was just about to open Little Beach Boutique and thought the slippers he made were the cutest thing I had ever seen and would be a perfect addition to the shop.  Each pair is made with natural wool, made by hand from start to finish and dried naturally in the sun.

I soon put in an order for some slippers – sheep, tigers and mice, and on recent visits, we have been coming up with ideas together.  In January, I returned to go trekking, and we came up with some new designs – donkeys, cows, dogs and cats.

They took a while to arrive this time, as it has been a long, cold winter in Nepal and there haven’t been many warm sunny days.  But last friday, after going home from the shop early, feeling frozen by our relentless winter, they had arrived – so I put on a pair instantly! Happy feet…

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So now I don’t really mind if the cold continues for a while, as I have these to choose from…
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Blogging from her gift shop, Little Beach Boutique, Suzanne writes about art, craft and making glass, running a small business and living by the sea.