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Meet Janelle Sisting of Lotus and Luna in Pacific Beach

Today we’d like to introduce you to Janelle Sisting.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
After graduating from UCSD, I took several months to travel the world – primarily through Asia. I love traveling and getting to know other cultures and ways of living.

Every stop along the way had its own discoveries, challenges, amazing food, and lifelong memories to take away, but Thailand found a very special place in my heart. I discovered a vibrant artisan culture there, of beautiful handmade items, stretching for miles at the night markets. The Thai people were so generous and kind, even though they had very little. For months after I got back, I dreamt of working in Thailand, while benefiting the artisans and children there.

The problem was, I didn’t really think it was possible. I had no previous business experience, and the whole idea seemed really difficult- how would I communicate if I didn’t speak Thai? What about shipping and customs? There was always something that stood in the way and kept me on my same path. In 2012, I was able to travel again, through parts of Asia and Latin America.

After that, I went back to my old job and back to the life I had created before traveling. The problem was that I was different. I had changed, and my old lifestyle no longer satisfied me. I was frustrated, uninspired, and I didn’t have a plan. I wanted to keep traveling and helping others, but I couldn’t find a job that would allow me to do this.

A few weeks after my return I got an email and saw that Photobucket was sponsoring a contest called “Life is an Adventure.” After spending 2012 in a hospital in India, participating in a soap opera in Colombia and getting mugged around the world, I knew that my life fit that category. I told a friend who had traveled with me about the contest and asked for her help. “How can you ever hope to win,” she replied, “Do you know how many other people will enter? Thousands. Good Luck.”

I started my entry and enjoyed every moment reliving and recounting the stories of my adventures. I put my heart and soul into my story. I told my friends and family that I was going to win the contest and really believed in my heart that I would. I got an email a few weeks after submitting my entry that explained I received 2nd place!

$500/second place was perfect for me- I didn’t get handed the money I really wanted, but I got the boost of confidence that would carry me for the rest of my life. All of a sudden, the dream I had to build a business in Thailand wasn’t scary; it wasn’t a “dream,” it was a real possibility.

I realized that if I put 100% of my heart and soul into anything, the sky was the limit. I believed I could do it, and that’s exactly what I did. I booked a ticket back to Thailand right away and was able to meet some amazing women in a village through a local Thai orphanage I was supporting at the time. I started working with a handful of these women living in one small village.

Today, we work with over one hundred and fifty artisans in four villages. Each village has their own specialty, and as the company grows, we are able to employ more of their family members and neighbors, giving them the flexibility to work from home while caring for their families, and earning a fair living wage. It has been fulfilling beyond words to work with these amazing people and see the positive impact the company has made in their communities. I feel very blessed to be part of it. I like to think of it like this.

In 2010, I had a dream. I didn’t do anything about it, but I had a dream. In 2012, I had the same dream. I thought about it a lot and wished it would happen, but didn’t do anything to make that dream happen. Fast forwarding to the end of 2012- there wasn’t that much else going on in my life, and my prospects were bleak. So I finally followed my dream, and went at it with 100% of my effort, and here is Lotus and Luna.
http://s1246.photobucket.com/user/jsisting1/story_8257/story  (Link to Photobucket story)

Has it been a smooth road?
Starting a business of any kind is a struggle. Starting a business without a big investor or partner to give you strong start presents a different kind of struggle. Then throw in a third world country with a completely foreign culture, language, and eight thousand miles of ocean between you, and you have a whole plethora of unique struggles, obstacles, and unforeseen complications all its own.

One example occurred in 2016 when the King of Thailand passed away. The King of Thailand was a truly beloved figure and considered an actual family member by every household in Thailand. The country was in mourning for months. Businesses were closing their doors indefinitely, and the people were only wearing white and black clothing. We were forced to slow and even halt production for several weeks on the Thailand side.

This is something we don’t really identify within the United States, and it was even more difficult to explain to our American partners. But it was a sorrowful time for our artisans, and we had to respect their bereavement, and also one of the many things that make the Thai culture so beautiful and special.

We’ve had to learn to not get ahead of ourselves and to be limber and move with the obstacles as they come. We are still learning valuable lessons every day, and although that can be difficult, it is our journey, and it is beautiful.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Lotus and Luna – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Lotus and Luna creates ethically handmade accessories, beachwear, and casual jewelry items. Our first product was single wrap bracelets, and we have since moved into necklaces, anklets, headbands, swim cover-ups and dresses.

Our products are all made by hand with vegan, cruelty-free materials. Almost every jewelry piece includes a real healing energy stone, and they can be stacked and styled together to create the perfect look and energy alignment for you. We are most proud of the human element and social impact behind each product and each sale.

Of course, we are not the only company out there with a social impact mission or artisan made items, but we are very proud to be part of the global picture and fight to end the cycle of poverty. Our customers can trust that by buying our products, they too are joining this mission and can be proud of their contribution.

What quality or characteristic do you feel is most important to your success?
Persistence, Passion, and ability to roll with the punches!

Pricing:

  • $10- $70

Contact Info:


Image Credit:

Polarized Studios (https://www.instagram.com/polarizedstudios/ )

Getting in touch: SDVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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