Vardenis Sewing is a group of Armenian women who sew a variety of products, including oven gloves, pot holders, aprons, blankets, and more, all with beautiful and unique designs. Their biggest seller is a pot holder/oven glove set with a scene of the famous Mount Ararat, an Armenian national symbol and where Noah's Ark is believed to have came to rest after the great flood.
The five women all live and work in Vardenis, Armenia, a small town of about 12,000. It is located in Gegharkunik Marz, on the southeast side of Lake Sevan.
The Vardenis Sewing project was started in 2012, when Peace Corps volunteer Laura Maas saw the talent of these women, and connected them with a product designer and a market for their new items. Sir Timothy Straight, the honorary consul of Norway and Finland in Armenia and founder of the organization Homeland Development Initiative Foundation, helped refine their design, and sold the first oven glove on January 25, 2012.
In Vardenis, this project has created a much-needed source of income for women with very little economic opportunity. They are continuing to develop much-needed professional skills such as time-management, understanding of computers, quality assurance, inventory management, and basic accounting, to sustain the future of the business and increase their organizational capacity.
To date, this small business has produced and sold over 1,000 sewn kitchen goods and other products. Originally designed and marketed for the Armenian diaspora and community, these products have been well received in more than 7 countries in the first year alone, including the United States, Korea, Australia, and Norway.