About Us

Elma Exchange is based in Denver, CO and brings handcrafted, artisan-made home decor from around the world into the modern home.

Artisan-centered

Elma Exchange strives to celebrate artisans and the dedication to their craft by putting their stories at the forefront of each purchase. Their creativity transforms each piece into living works of art that we get to enjoy in our homes.

Our success is tied directly with their work, so we share a percentage of our annual profits with them.

Sustainably-minded

Elma Exchange prioritizes partnering with artisans who weave hand-made textiles, with locally sourced materials and sustainable practices. Our partnering artisans use natural dyes and avoid synthetic yarns.

In our current world of fast fashion that has immense consequences for the health of our planet and people, we seek to reduce waste in home decor. We offer artisanally hand-made quality that is meant to last, and our vintage items bring a new life to previously loved items.

What does Elma Exchange mean?

Elma Exchange's name comes from the Turkish words for apple tea, or elma çayi (pronounced like chai). In Turkish rug shops, the tradition of serving elma çayi generates deeper connections and conversations between a seller and customer. Elma çayi, and the relationships it builds, is the ethos that Elma Exchange hopes to bring to the world of textiles and home decor.

Traditional Weaving Practices for the Modern Home

Preserving generational knowledge creates beautifully unique pieces, with a lower environmental impact and more resilient local economies.

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Naturally Dyed

Our partners use pigments derived from plants, insects, and minerals.

Handmade by Artisans

All our artisan-made textiles are handwoven on the traditional looms, such as backstrap and vertical looms.

Supporting Local Communities

We work with female weavers who can work from home, or artisans who partner with community members for material sourcing and production.

Natural Fibers

The base of our textiles are materials such as cotton, wool, nettle, or vétiver grass. Some artisans even forage for the materials in their local forests.

  • Handmade Napkins with Indigenous Fibers

    Handmade Napkins with Indigenous Fibers

    Led by master weaver and dryer Ms. Navone, female artisans in the Ban Nayang village of Laos work together to weave these napkins from naturally sourced, local fibers and natural dyes....

    Handmade Napkins with Indigenous Fibers

    Led by master weaver and dryer Ms. Navone, female artisans in the Ban Nayang village of Laos work together to weave these napkins from naturally sourced, local fibers and natural dyes....

  • Backstrap Weaving: Providing Income and Flexibility

    Backstrap Weaving: Providing Income and Flexibi...

    Backstrap weaving is the most traditional form of Maya weaving, and it is an ideal form for the association of women at Lake Atitlán in Guatemala to work from home. A...

    Backstrap Weaving: Providing Income and Flexibi...

    Backstrap weaving is the most traditional form of Maya weaving, and it is an ideal form for the association of women at Lake Atitlán in Guatemala to work from home. A...

  • Experimental Naturally Dyed Placemats

    Experimental Naturally Dyed Placemats

    Marie and her growing team of seamstresses have experimented with Madagascar's vast natural resources, creating natural dyes out of bark, leaves, and fruit pits.

    Experimental Naturally Dyed Placemats

    Marie and her growing team of seamstresses have experimented with Madagascar's vast natural resources, creating natural dyes out of bark, leaves, and fruit pits.

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Meet the Founder

Hi, I'm Karen. Elma Exchange came out of my passion for discovering handcrafted goods and my desire to support talented artisans from around the world. While working in Guatemala for a housing nonprofit, I watched women artfully weave on traditional backstrap looms in their front yards. I learned their stories and heard the aspirations they had for their families. Years later, these interactions inspired Elma Exchange's artisan-centered model.

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