Maison Bengal was set up in 2004. After a number of years spent in the aid industry, director Sheenagh Day, decided to create an opportunity for the economic empowerment of marginalised communities, and particularly women, through fair trade. Maison Bengal products are all hand-made from natural material such as jute, cane, grass, terracotta or leather and blend traditional artisanal skills with contemporary design. All dyes used are free of harmful chemicals. Some of the communities that Maison Bengal works with live in remote areas and are particularly marginalised. With no electricity, no running water, no road infrastructure and very limited healthcare they have little opportunity to get out of poverty. Maison Bengal aim to help these communities by developing high-quality, desirable products with them, made of readily available natural materials which they can make at home in their villages. They work closely with their development partners as well as their buyers to ensure a greater understanding between both ends of the supply chain: the producer and the customer. In this way fair trade can act as a bridge, helping to foster a mutual understanding between both worlds.