How It Started
Founded by Liz Steiger, Pelagona is built from her personal passion for travel, fashion, design, history and the beautiful things in life. Liz is a world traveller and fashionista who calls Europe and Asia her homes who left a corporate career behind to make a difference. She founded Pelagona to share her beautiful finds from her travels.
When Liz explored the local markets, she experienced the negative impact of globalisation at first hand. She saw that increasingly, traditional artisanry has been replaced by souvenirs which were mass-produced under questionable circumstances. Liz made it her mission to trace the products back to their source, know about the materials used and the people behind making the products. Instead of trading in “cheap” goods and selling them with a high margin, she decided to feature products which are not only beautiful but sustainable. She deliberately opted for a slower-paced model and invests a lot of time to personally build up trusted relationships with local artisans, particularly with women.
Global Design Made Local
We travel the world to deliver unique products and incredible craftsmanship to your doorstep. We not only offer existing products, we take them a step further. Our classic designs with a twist are developed in partnership with our artisan partners and take their extraordinary traditional knowledge and skills to the next level.
Handmade in Small Quantities
Instead of mass products Pelagona focuses on selected, hand-picked items. We order in small batches to ensure quality and tracing of materials of our handmade products and to celebrate their uniqueness as well as the traditions which inspired them.
Pelagona offers you access to the beautiful products of our artisan partners which would otherwise hardly be available abroad. Your purchase is more than just a beautiful product: it creates change and meaningful business opportunities.
Pelagona’s products are reflections and memories of Liz’s travels. By offering products from around the world, we want to enable you to learn more about other countries, even if you cannot travel there physically.
But every product itself has a story to tell – the one about the people who made it. Liz personally establishes partnerships with talented artisans and family businesses. She invests a lot of time to assess the quality of the craftsmanship and products, ensure quality control and safe workspaces and trace the product sources. Furthermore, Liz tries to meet as many of the artisans as possible in person to establish strong and trusted personal relationships and hear about their stories first hand.
Pelagona does not rely on middlemen. Hence, we can offer our luxury products at competitive prices which are still able to pay our artisans promptly and fairly.
Instead of mass-production, we focus on handmade high quality items which are made to last. We do not follow short-term trends, as we want you to enjoy your Pelagona item for a very long time. Only those products will be added to the Pelagona collection where Liz personally can ensure it comes up to our values. As handmade artisanry requires a lot of time, we only order small batches.
These items are not something claiming to sell authentic local traditional arts and crafts – but actually the products are mass-produced abroad under questionable circumstances. Pelagona delivers high-quality products which are based on years of knowledge to deliver to your home from all around the world.
Your purchase at Pelagona preservse local artisanry, knowledge and tradition and ensures a long-term business opportunities for our talented partners.
Pelagona partners with family businesses and artisan collectives. Even today, girls and women are in a worse position than their male counterparts when it comes to economic opportunities, health care and education. According to the United Nations, women are more likely than men to invest the majority of their income back into their families. Hence, Pelagona prioritises projects which empower women and, consequently improve the quality of life of the community as a whole.
The skills of our artisans are impeccable. The knowledge about the production process, materials and techniques have been handed down for generations. Many of our partners are family businesses with a long tradition. Very often, these methods and processes are unique to the community. Your purchase helps to preserve this knowledge which may otherwise disappear.
Pelagona builds long-lasting relationships of mutual trust. The products are sourced at fair prices which reflect their skills and work and from which the artisans can live. We know that the money is needed immediately to support their families. We pay promptly - with various payment types such as covering the supplies from day one, or making downpayments. We do not leave the artisans alone with the risk of inventory. With every partnership we discuss and choose the best method suited to the operational needs.
Pelagona partners with organisation which apply a sustainable approach when it comes to the environment. We prioritise products which are made of sustainably grown materials. We invest a lot of time to track down the sources of the products and even if it means higher production cost and longer sourcing and production times, we see it as our contribution to raising awareness about our environment.
We are always trying to get better and reduce our carbon footprint. We reuse shipping material and try to keep packaging to a minimum.
Behind each of our products, there is the story of the person who created it. We want to celebrate the proud artisans and their unique skills. Pelagona products are not made in sweatshops, where every person only focuses on a few steps of the production process. We want to provide access to the artisans' beautiful products which would otherwise hardly be accessible abroad. Consequently, Pelagona also aims at drawing attention to social justice and human rights.
To protect the consumers as well as the people who made our products, we strive to ensure that sustainable and safe materials are used. Furthermore, we partner with organisations which provide safe workspaces for their artisans.
What Does “Pelagona” Mean?
Pelagona is inspired by the Austrian pronunciation of the pelargonium flower. They remind Liz of her childhood in Austria, where many gardens are home to this type of flower. Even today, when you go for a walk in the Austrian villages, you can spot them in many gardens and houses. The flower boxes in front of the windows are filled with pelargonium flowers and other summer flowers in many different colours.
The origin of “pelargonium” is the Greek word “pelargós” which means “stork”. This meaning fits perfectly: the stork travels long-distances but always comes back to its home country. Similarly, Liz spends a lot of time travelling and exploring other countries to find the most unique items for Pelagona.
The pelargonium flower is a very delicate plant which requires a lot of attention and needs to be treated carefully. These values are at the heart of Pelagona: hand-picked and carefully crafted products and a lot of attention to detail.