The Six Degrees Creative brand is all about connection. With the Connecting Creatives segment the goal is to highlight creatives and entrepreneurs in our communities and share their journey. No matter the outlet or industry, it is important we support each other’s growth both professionally and personally. Together we can make being a creative or running a small business sustainable and successful.
This week we highlight the beautifully intricate and purpose-driven apparel from Ashley Bousquet of Luna Wild Collection. All items from Luna Wild are one-of-a-kind and hand-made from recycled Indian Saris. From the very moment you try on a Luna Wild piece, you begin to unlock your regalness and immediately turn heads.
True to her vision, Luna Wild Collection works with Purnata, an organization in Mumbai that aims to stop the exploitation of women, to employ survivors of human trafficking in India. The work provides the women with livelihood training to get them started on a better life.
Read more about Luna Wild Collection below and support them by giving them a follow on Instagram, or by simply telling a friend!
Hi! Thank you for taking the time to be part of Connecting Creatives. Can you tell us more about your background and how you got started on your creative journey?
My small business started as a passion project. I have always worked in the service industry and hustled my heart out until I was able to travel and do it all over again. I was at the end of a long term backpacking trip and my last journey was set to be in India. India is an incredibly vibrant place, bursting with color and culture.
You are surrounded by women dripping in color with their faces and hands covered in gold. It made me reflect on what we wear back home and the lack of self-expression. They had a completely different intention while getting dressed in the morning. I was simply shopping one day when I met a young girl who told me she could make me whatever I wanted. I made myself a kimono from an Indian sari and it was all over from there.
I had to share it with everyone back home. I immediately saw everyone at Lightning in a Bottle twirling in these kimonos on the dance floor. Fast forward to a few months later I set up a clothing rack outside my tent at LIB to see if I was crazy or if what I had created was really as beautiful as I thought it was in India. I nearly sold out within the hour. The response was insane and people were really appreciating what I had to offer.
I had always traveled by myself and no one ever seems to understand the magic you discover traveling. After all those years traveling, I was finally being seen. I was finally being heard. I knew it was going to be something special. It started with a few kimonos and dresses. After a few years it blossomed into an entire collection. A few months into starting my business I realized I was an actual employer…What?!
It blew my mind that I was actually employing people. I wanted to give back to India in anyway that I can and I wanted to always make sure I was putting purpose behind my business. I wanted to start employing either widows or survivors of sex trafficking. I found Purnata, an organization in Mumbai that aims to stop the exploitation of women and fights against it. Many people think I donate money to this cause.
Unless I do a fundraiser, no money is donated. Luna Wild actually provides these women with a job! When these women are ready to come out of the trade, Purnata supports them and provides them with livelihood training to get them started on a better life. They get trained as tailors and then I hire them to make my pieces! Not everything is made by them, but a good majority.
What keeps you engaged and passionate about your small business and creative endeavors?
My customers! They are so incredibly supportive and provide such a beacon of light in my life. I meet so many people that are so inspiring with the light they put in this world and provide to me. I am so grateful my business attracts such wholesome human beings. I feel like I have this massive support system that I’ve never had before. So many customers have turned into friends and have served such a huge purpose in my growth.
I have been able to cultivate a tribe and I don’t think many businesses get to say the same. Also, the simple fact that I have everything I have ever wanted. I have a job that puts purpose into the world. A job that empowers people. A job that allows me to travel around the world. A job that allows me to celebrate tradition. A job that allows me to work at music festivals. A job that connects me to my community. It’s honestly such a trip.
If you could give advice to your younger business self what would it be?
KEEP GOING! Always honor yourself. I have always worked in the service industry, but I knew my purpose was much bigger. I refused to give into the corporate world. I wanted to see the world. I wanted to work at music festivals. I wanted to give back. I had no idea I would be involved in fashion nor did I have any interest at all. What I did was continue to do what I genuinely loved doing.
Sometimes if we focus on what we think we should be doing we create this tunnel vision for the doors that are really meant for us. Live in the now, do you now, and the universe will provide everything that was meant for you. Stop asking questions! Honor your truth and do what genuinely makes your soul happy. I started my business while I was backpacking in India, broke as ever.
I didn’t know what it would turn into and I really didn’t put energy into the “what ifs”. Take a chance on your vision. If it’s meant for you, it’ll stick. If not, I’m sure this trial run has at least opened some new doors for you. Notice that all my “wants” were checked. A job with purpose, being able to travel, etc.
Making clothes and having a clothing business isn’t on that list. I would definitely laugh if you told me years ago that I would have a clothing business. Although its completely out of my realm, it gave me everything I ever wanted.
Be open to new ideas and new avenues. Your purpose, business or career doesn’t have to be what you are most talented at or a craft you have been working on for years. It could be waiting for you anywhere, behind any chance waiting to be taken, behind any door that you have never thought about opening.
What is a challenge you have faced as a creative/small business and how have you overcome it?
Self-accountability. Being on the clock 24/7, knowing that the work is never done and keeping up the momentum. Learning how to wear many hats at once. I don’t have any experience running a small business so it has been a long journey learning all the different aspects of what goes into one.
Running a business in general is a huge task let alone running it in two different countries. There is a major culture clash when it comes to doing business in India so that can be very difficult at times. The language barrier, trust issues, differences in standard of quality. The stories are endless. People see me hustling here, working events and markets. They don’t see me up at 3 am doing phone calls with people in India discussing orders and designs.
What do you want people to take away from your small business?
If you have a business or platform, use it to put purpose behind it! There is only so much we can do as one person. What about a whole tribe? We are so much bigger together. Think of who you employ and the jobs that you can create for people.
Can you do it in a way that creates a bigger impact? What is a cause you are passionate about? Are you able and willing to donate a certain percentage of your sales? We need to start taking advantage of our followings on social media and using it for good. It is your voice- use it.
What is the next milestone for you?
My intention is to start working around the world with artisans and build a collection that celebrates their traditions and art. I want to support local communities by keeping their traditions alive. My next stop is South America!
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