Dancing Yak Handicrafts was founded in Chengdu in 2012. Inside locals and tourists alike stop to browse the beautiful selection of yak and sheep wool materials, carefully crafted into bags, pillows, and more.
The owner of the company is a Swiss lady named Katja. She realised that traditionally Tibetan women worked with their hands to weave tents made out of Yak wool, but now as those of the Tibetan culture find themselves increasingly living indoors in towns and cities, Katja did not want to see the traditions of their culture disappear. Instead, Katja is helping entrepreneurial Tibetan ladies take what is traditional and transition their skills into the modern world. She travels around Tibet to collect yak wool and uses it to make different Tibetan bags, table runners, and pillowcases, etc.
Now, she has 4 employees, and all of them are female Tibetans. Katja usually provides one year of training to her employees with regards to sewing and cutting material. She is not only training her staff, but also encouraging them to use their own creativity to create modern Tibetan style fusion products. She is also hoping to hire more Tibetan woman, and with that, Katja looks for employees who are open minded, willing to learn, and teachable.
Katja opened Danging Yak in Chengdu in 2013, where all of her handicrafts products are on display, and if you have chance to travel to Chengdu, you can visit the store to see samples of the women’s work. The women themselves benefit from the proceeds of the items they create. It’s a worthwhile visit to see the blend of traditional and modern culture come together in beautifully designed products. One of the best selling products is their hand-woven, yak wool bags.
Katiya has been supporting the local economy by buying locally made and sourced products. She has also been raising the quality of life for Tibetan women by empowering them as they grow in their own skills, abilities, and cultural pride. Katja hopes that there will continue to be more and more Tibetan female entrepreneurs in future.
If you are looking for a souvenir to add a colourful splash to your house, or an item to serve a more functional purpose, take a stroll down Shuhan Dong Road to visit the Dancing Yak.
Address: Shuhan Dong Rd,7/12 Chengdu, Sichuan, China. (200m Opposite the Minority University Westgate) Subway line 3 Gaoshengqiao station exit C.