Stitch Sainte Luce is a women’s embroidery Cooperative based in the
rural southeast of Madagascar.
We create beautiful, hand-embroidered fashion accessories and home decor, with each piece being designed, stitched and hand-finished by our 96 members. We take our inspiration from the traditional Malagasy stories that have been passed from generation to generation, and from the beautiful surroundings of the area of
Sainte Luce, transforming these into colourful works of embroidered art.
Stitch is established as a project under Fort Dauphin based NGO SEED Madagascar.
Community surveys in Sainte Luce result in 12 women showing interest in embroidery training. Training begins.
An additional 12 women join the first group for training in embroidery skills.
The Stitch Sainte Luce Studio is built.
The embroiderers are trained in finance, sales, IT and photography to help grow Stitch beyond the tourist audience.
Stitch takes on an International Coordinator based in London, UK to manage international sales.
Stitch Sainte Luce's audience grows to over 15 countries and international sales make up 45% of income.
The Cooperative grows to 100 embroiderers and several new products are developed and released on Etsy.
Stitch ends the year with a record number of sales, new partners and collaborations. We look to independence in 2020.
Our official independence! Now the Cooperative runs alone with only logistical support from SEED remaining.
A challenging few months where our national market closed. We used our skills to provide face masks for our local communities.
We plan to rebuild the Cooperative's national markets and continue to grow and share the Stitch brand.
Stitch began as a sustainable development project under the local NGO, SEED Madagascar, in 2012 as a route to more stable and sustainable income for families in our rural home of Sainte Luce. Many of our members’ husbands are fishermen which means that our income can be unpredictable and at times, be incredibly dangerous to obtain. Like much of Madagascar’s rural populations, our income often sits below the poverty line and we have previously struggled to afford food, clothing and education for our children. The origination of the Stitch Cooperative introduced an option for a way to gain additional income which was gained flexibly around our other community responsibilities.
A steady tourist market of visitors to Sainte Luce, including conservation volunteers, visiting cruise ships, local hotel gift shops and some small boutique shops in Fort Dauphin and Antananarivo have strengthened national sales over the last few years. Our online Etsy shop run by a part-time Stitch staff member in the UK, has also created a regular income from international sales too. As a result, more than half of our members are able to produce their entire monthly expenditure through the sale of Stitch pieces, and many have been able to make investments in school attendance and supplies for their children, clothing, extra cooking equipment and make repairs and upgrades to their homes.
The Stitch Cooperative is now integral to the three villages of Sainte Luce that are home to around 2,000 people. With the fishing opportunities becoming increasingly unreliable, the income from Stitch has become all the more important for the survival of our communities.
Since 2012 the Cooperative has grown in number from just 12 women, to 96 hard-working members. We have undertaken design, stitching and sewing training alongside lessons on sales, finance, record-keeping, photography and English language. The studio in which we work is a welcome place where we have formed a community; we come and go around our other responsibilities and often bring along our children. Every year we create over 300 pieces between us, all completely unique in design.
By the end of 2019 the Stitch Cooperative was reaching independence with only a few logistical ties to SEED Madagascar, we are proud to have officially celebrated independence in April 2020!