notes from the frontline

Working to transform the livelihoods of the marginalized and to bring change in the lives of poor producers is at the heart of Polly and Other Stories social innovation ethos. Artisanal craft represents a particularly fascinating opportunity to be involved with this sort of livelihoods generation by displaced individuals. Materials, patterns, and other techniques are often unique to specific groups and represent deep cultural affiliations that have been passed through generations, surviving conflicts and disasters. Engaging in support for artisanal craft is an opportunity to preserve culture, create cohesion and reinstall identity during displacement.

Polly and Other Stories has been working with Afghan refugees and artisans in their host communities in Pakistan in collaboration with the UNHCR to develop a range of products that allows these artisans to work together, showcase traditional skills and support themselves and their families. It's been such an amazing journey and we are so excited to share this collection with you!

For more information on our work with the UNHCR, please see: and to check out and shop this incredible #heartmade collection, please see:

For our blog post today, we thought it might be nice to share the thoughts of our design team on the ground. Working with diverse groups and getting to be a small part of their story is a huge privilege for us. Our interactions leave us overwhelmed by the talent people have and their resilience in very trying circumstances. We are regularly awed and motivated by our hardworking partners and the incredibly talented artisans we meet. 

Read, enjoy and be inspired!

"I shall be telling this with a sigh and yet a song in my heart. Somewhere ages and ages ago, two roads diverged in the woods, and I (and as fortune would have it, the team that now makes Polly!) took the one less travelled by and this has made all the difference. There are times when you forget the larger purpose of what you have set out to do and find yourself worn down by the mundane, the administrative (necessary but uninspiring work!) and spending hours doing accounts or filing taxes. And suddenly, something happens! Something amazing. And you are reminded again of why you set out on this journey and why the choices we all make matter so much.

This visit to Haripur was the last one for the year. We were all tired and looking forward to a break but there was so much to still be done! I needed to go meet some of the incredible women we started working with earlier in 2016 and touch base on how we'd done so far. I also wanted to document where some of the workers lived, and the overall impact that our project with the UNHCR will have in the coming years. 

After completing the necessary visits and discussions and taking care of the ensuing paperwork, I asked one of the group leaders to take me to the village where she worked. The village was fairly high up in the mountains and after a short while, my car was unable to go up any further. We got out and walked the rest of the way on foot and like the most unlikely Piped Piper were accompanied by a convoy of chattering, excited children who followed us every step of the way.

Just seeing them smiling and laughing was so heartening -  despite the many adversities they faced, they were happy and closely monitoring the 'baji' who brought work for their sisters and moms. Even happier to see us were the women. Swarming in droves to show-off their handwork, toddlers perched on their waists. I could see how much the work has improved in just a few months, but also how much intervention and practice is still needed. I left with my heart full and my head brimming with more ideas.  Our story is unfolding still and I am so happy that Polly and Other Stories will be a part of these women's story too. I suppose this is not the end; it is just the place where I will stop my story - Frank Herbert."

Loved up, Pop Up

We have exciting news for you Islamabad!

For a short time only and due to popular demand, polly & other stories has teamed up with the lovely folks at Kayal to bring you all the great products available on our e-store under one roof!

If you think products are best experienced in physical form, come check it out before it is gone!
Our pop-up shop is located at:

62 Beverly Centre, Blue Area, Near Burning Brownie
phone: 0512814155

All Polly products are sourced from Pakistan and the surrounding region - we work with small businesses with a creative vision and a passion to make – from rural women painstakingly crafting beautiful pieces using age-old, hand-worked techniques to entrepreneurial artisans crafting handmade soaps and talented young men making hand-printed fabric using organic dyes and hand-carved wooden blocks.

Come by and say hello! We'd love to see you and chat about the stories behind our amazing brands.

Don't live in Islamabad or don't want to step out? 

You can still shop online anytime and have amazing products delivered to your doorstep by shopping at 


get to know our partner brands - they are awesome!

polly and other stories' collection represents our passion for art, design and handmade labour of love. We believe beautiful products can be a transformative experience for the mind, body and soul. With that in mind, we have worked hard to curate an uncommon blend of work from artists, crafters, painters, sculptors and unique locally sourced and handmade products. Our website brings this entire collection to your fingertips. Whether you are on your home laptop or a mobile device, you can visit us anytime you want.

You can also learn more about the artisans we carry. Simply click on the brands tab, and then select the artisan that you want to learn more about from the dropdown menu. On the their page, you can also swipe through featured products. If you like a piece, please share it with your friends online too! We folks we work with are amazing and we are certain you will find something you love.

If you want more information, or are interested in a specific product, we would love to talk with you!

Please feel free to reach out to us at

Image: a truck artist hard at work. Collection featured online at: