Portland, ME

After spending nearly 20 years in fashion and design, paralleled with volunteering alongside humanitarian organizations in the developing world, Tanja Cesh launched MULXIPLY in 2010. While traveling to India, Nepal, and other parts of Southeast Asia, she was exposed to the horrors of human trafficking and the growing pandemic that affects poor and marginalized women and men the world over.

It was in the moments of sitting in villages, surrounded by women who were sewing or felting to make extra money for their families, where the seeds for MULXIPLY were planted. She saw a way to combat poverty by creating dignified employment by combining her experience in the fashion industry and the western marketplace with skilled artisans who needed work.

In 2014, Tanja wandered down an alley in Patan’s Durbar Square and wandered into the surprising studio and passion project of Pravin Chitrakar called Yala Mandala. As CEO and Founder, Chitrakar has spent nearly 29 years growing his collective with the intention of perpetuating local cultural heritage, promoting it on an international level, and lifting up local art and artisans.

Craft Yala is one of four different companies under Yala Mandala, with a focus on high-end jewelry that is inspired by local art, culture, and heritage. The metalsmiths that produce all of MULXIPLY’s jewelry have a space with a garden in the middle so they can work in an airy space with ventilation and sunshine. It is details such as these that demonstrate Pravin Chitrakar’s investment in the people he works with.