OUR STORY: TRISH, INDIA & ALCHEMY
I feel part Indian – I am so connected to that wonderful country that, after more than 20 years, feels so “normal” to me now. It's funny to think that, in traveling to such a distant “foreign” land, one could find a sense of belonging and community – but that's what happened! There were meditation retreats in the mountains, all-night beach parties in the south, yoga & massage trainings in the heartland, and of course Alchemy in the desert! I was a part of a tribe of travellers that migrated with the seasons up and down the length of India, seeking friendship and spiritual connection. Many of us built businesses out of our love for travel and adventure.
How did the business emerge? From age 17, my summers back in North America were spent journeying to festivals, and managing a popular vegetarian restaurant in Vancouver (the Naam). After graduating from the University of British Columbia with an Asian Studies degree (focusing on Asian religion, philosophy and art), I set off on my first trip to India. It was a calling - I just knew I had to go there, and embark on a path of deeper self-exploration. It did not take long before I was inspired by the amazing fabrics that India had to offer: shimmering silks, gorgeous prints, intricate patterns, and one-of-a-kind saris. It was a real feast for the senses. I started by purchasing 20 silk-cotton sari dresses from a man who was to become one of my dearest friends – really we are now family. He still produces some of Alchemy’s silk sari line. The second season back in India, I increased my purchase to 200 sari dresses – they sold very quickly. By the third year, I had dozens of styles and a full-blown collection, adding cottons and rayons to my recycled sari line. I pursued fashion with a passion, and India became my second home.
Life changed in 1997, when Alchemy shifted to primarily a wholesale company. This meant less time traveling in India, and more time on the road back home doing seasonal cross-Canada trade shows. But this is also the point in my life where I dove deeper into the healing arts and yoga, taking workshops and trainings all over the world. Naturally, I found a way to combine my two inspirations, fashion and yoga, by participating, both as an exhibitor and as a student, at several yoga conferences across North America. My clothes have a special appeal to the yoga community – they are ethically and sustainably produced, they are made with much dedication and love, and they radiate with the energy of mother India.
In 2003 Alchemy settled on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia, in a hip little oasis called Roberts Creek. Not long after that I met my husband Brett and had a beautiful son named Julian. We have an amazing beach, creek and rainforest outside our front door, with both the Alchemy Warehouse and a Yoga Studio on our incredible ocean-view property. Alchemy has become a real family business, as my husband Brett is the anchorman behind our retail shows and festivals. My son Julian has a special role - always helping to balance work with play.
Alchemy has successfully evolved because of my ever-deepening relationships with the people and soul of India. Business in India is not cut-and-dry. It is an art, a dance of communication, from endless chais and head-wiggles, to late-night phone calls and epic emails, rooted as much in trust and friendship as in economics. It requires infinite patience; it involves the heart.
Trish Hinders, owner/designer of Alchemy Fashions