ETHICALWe are guided by the principles of fair trade and source products from fair trade producer groups, NGOs and small scale, rural workshops who work to empower their respective communities by putting people before profits.
SustainableBeing a green bazaar, we strive to use upcycled and organic materials whenever possible to reduce the environmental impact during the production process. And yes, we even transform trash and dung into very cool products!
HandmadeBuying handmade not only keeps many indigenous crafts alive; it also supports the livelihood of millions of skilled artisans that practice their trade which carry hundreds of years of history and culture.
BIRTH OF THE OLD YAK
ABOUT THE OWNERS
Born in Taipei, Taiwan and raised in Minnesota, boss lady Wen was a bit of a quixotic wanderlust since her college days. She backpacked to 20 some countries before moving to northern India where she started Common Ground Cafe, met co-owner Tenzin Losel and plugged into the Tibetan exile community of Dharamsala where she lived for 8 years.
Boss dude Tenzin (aka Jampa) is an affable kind of guy. Born and raised in Lhasa, Tibet and now a Bay Area resident, he has something to say about everything and has been described as “bookish in a willowy kind of way”. You’ll know what we’re talking about if you ever meet the guy, so drop in our Berkeley store at 2840 College Ave and he might even tell you his heroic 41 days and night story of escape across the Himalayan mountains. Really.
AND THEIR YAK
During their time in India, the husband and wife duo worked with local artisans for several years to produce handcrafted products for the domestic market. During this time, they fell in love with the charm and heritage of Indian handmade and dreamt of starting an alternative trading company to bring ethical and sustainable artisan handcraft to the US market.
The journey of the Old Yak began as Wen and Tenzin traversed the Indian subcontinent to meet with fair trade producers and visit back alley rural workshops. Countless train and rickshaw rides later, the duo launched their online shop in Minneapolis in December 2013 and opened their first retail shop in Berkeley, California in October 2014. Drop in for a visit, we’re sure you’ll find something you’ll like!