Strictly Spiti is a social project conceived and brought to life through the enthusiasm and dedication of Karanbir and Lobzang. Our intention in developing the store is to encourage local artisans and farmers to continue producing their traditional handicrafts and indigenous crops. We aim to provide a space that connects consumers directly with the producers and ensures a fair price for both.
Tourism is often thought of as having positive effects on local economies as tourism money flows through local markets. We believe there is the potential for this, however, we recognise that some people are always inherently better positioned than others to gain maximum benefit. Unfortunately, they are often the wealthiest within the community, who have more resources and exposure and know-how to capitalise on new opportunities.
We are always looking for new ways to share the benefits of tourism with a wider section of the local community. With this intention in mind, we are working with the community to teach them new skills and develop a broader range of products utilising locally abundant resources.
We hope that through the promotion of profitable sources of income we can help prevent the exodus of the next generation of Spiti youth in pursuit of better opportunities outside of the valley. At the same time, we hope to draw attention to the quality and uniqueness of traditionally handcrafted products. By honouring the high levels of skill and craftsmanship inherent in their production we hope to inspire the next generation to continue to learn and master these traditions.
Karan moved to Spiti when he started Hotel Deyzor in 2013 and has been travelling to the valley since the year 2000. His interest and knowledge in products from the valley started thereafter which first made him start the organic and handmade store at his hotel. In 2018 Karan along with Kim and Lobzang started the store in the market.
The creative spirit behind many of the products in the store, Kimberley has held jam-making workshops with local women and established the dry mushroom and apricot kernel products. When she is not in Kaza working behind the scenes on the accounts and sales, she can be found out in the villages harvesting apricots or seabuckthorn for the jams and juices and helping with the pea harvest. When she is not in Kaza you can find her cycling in Central Asia or attending a natural building workshop in Ladakh or North America or Romania.
The queen of procurement, Lobzang is responsible for recruiting new farmers and artisans to work with us at Strictly Spiti, supplying us with all of our wonderful products.
Mane village is where she can most often be found – running her homestay, tending her fields or someone else’s, coordinating the women’s self-help group, working as the village midwife, making arak or weaving a carpet, and of course, if you visit her in winter you’ll see her fattening Simba.
The creative genius behind our website for Strictly Spiti, Himanshu is passionate about sustainable development. He is committed to ensuring Strictly Spiti thrives and consequently that more people throughout the valley benefit from increasing tourism passing through Spiti. Don’t let the age on his driver license fool you, we are sure he has been lying all along, he is mature beyond his years. Himanshu joined us in 2019 as an intern and we hope this is a start to a long relationship with this one of a kind soul. His interest in working in the community and sustainable tourism is inspiring. Himanshu has helped beautify the store and run it.