Why We Love Cleobella
The Five P’s
Philosophy, Process, People, Planet, Philanthropy
Travel feeds the soul and inspires the artist. In 2006, Angela and her husband Jim set off for a year of global travels. In love and full of inspiration they explored new cultures always leading with their “embrace the soul in everything” mantra. Since Angela's early days as a model in the fashion industry she envisioned herself transitioning from being the product to creating the product. At the end of this trip, she could see cleobella sparkling on the horizon. From the beginning the vision was to offer globally inspired products that uplift the cultures and traditions of the artisans creating them. in collaboration with artisans the first product was created. Today cleobella is an internationally recognized lifestyle brand with headquarters in California, a flagship store in sunset beach and production in bali. Jim and Angela split time between California and Bali, raising their children and seeking inspiration wherever they can.
Cleobella’s intricate process is signature to our brand, creating every product individually by hand makes each design a timeless work of art. Our aesthetic reflects timeless artistry with modern ease. By using traditional tooling, weaving, dyeing, and beading we create uniquely beautiful pieces that spur conversations, evoke beauty, and preserve the art of these diverse cultures.
We work with global artisans to design one-of-a-kind products of beauty and integrity. These partnerships generate more sustainable incomes for each artisan and create products that are handmade with love. Each cleobella piece tells a story and empowers its wearer to discover her inner beauty with effortless, magnetic style.
There are so many decisions mamas have to create healthy habits for our family and to protect our mother earth. This is why cleobella is passionate about sustainability and designing products in a meaningful way that is conscious of our environment and the women who wear our designs.
Cleobella is a female founded company and we believe that empowering women makes our world a better place. We donate 1% of profits to empower women globally to organizations like care.org.
How It Works
Preserving and celebrating ancient global heritage techniques is at the center of Cleobella's mission. Woodblock printing, in particular, has become synonymous with the brand and beloved by customers for its uniqueness, beauty, and timelessness. Woodblock printing, however, is more than just a printing technique. It's a rich, cultural art from India that has become the heartbeat of the brand.
Angela, Cleobella's founder, first discovered and fell in love with woodblock printing on a trip to India. In 2006, she and her husband Jim quit their jobs, packed up their lives, and set off to travel the globe for a year. When designing the world trip, India was a must-visit for Angela. Her late aunt visited the country in the '70s, and Angela grew up marveling over her stories of India's cultural and spiritual aliveness. Once she finally visited the country herself, there was an instant connection. "India had my heart from the very beginning," she says. "I felt like I had been there before." On the trip, she encountered women selling gorgeous woodblock-printed wrap skirts made of recycled saris, which sparked the creation of Cleobella.
The History and Importance of Woodblock Printing
India's woodblock printing technique dates back thousands of years and has been passed down and perfected over many generations. The elaborate, stunning prints created with the technique are a physical embodiment of the country's heritage and culture.
Jaipur, Rajasthan is one of the epicenters where the tradition really flourished. The society in the region, which has since transformed into a bustling city, was built around the technique.
As remarkable and unique as the woodblock printing art form is, with so many advancements in technology and digital printing in the fashion industry today, the reality is that ancient techniques like this are being traded for fast fashion. The skilled artisans that practice these techniques cannot continue to pass down their knowledge and traditions to the next generations if there isn’t a market for it. This is what motivates us as a small business to do our part in helping to keep the woodblock printing tradition alive by working with artisans in India to incorporate the technique into our designs.
Over the last 14 years of traveling to India, we've cultivated a heart connection with our artisans, their families, and the woodblock printing process. It has been a true joy and privilege to know them, work alongside them, and to have witnessed first-hand how much their lives have transformed over the years. We believe that when you work and operate a business from a place of integrity and honesty, the energy that flows from that is palpable and creates a ripple effect in the world.
The Woodblock Printing Process
The rich, vibrant colors you see on each pattern are mostly made from natural elements from the Earth such as mud, clay, tree gum, limestone, pomegranate, turmeric, tamarind seeds, saffron, and indigo seeds—a process that in and of itself is amazing to witness.
Once the dyes are ready, the craftsmen then dip the wooden blocks into the dyes and press them onto the fabric with extreme precision leaving a beautiful impression of the pattern. The craftsmen repeat the process along the entire length and width of the material that is meters and meters long. Each color in the pattern is layered one at a time, and the slight imperfections add character and life to each design. Once the fabric dries, it is washed, steamed, and dried outside in the sun, weather permitting.
What Makes Woodblock Printing Special
Aside from the prints' captivating beauty, many factors make the woodblock printing process a slow fashion favorite. For one, it's Earth-friendly technique thanks to its handmade nature and small batches. As a mindful business, sustainability is of utmost importance to us. We value quality over quantity and only produce small batches of each design which only adds to its exclusivity and magic. When you wear a Cleobella design, you know that it's one-of-a-kind, making it a timeless, wearable work of art that is relevant for today and can be passed down through generations.
At Cleobella, we strive for slow, ethical fashion. From conception to a finished garment, it's a labor-intensive three-month process. There is so much love, attention, and detail that goes into making every single piece by hand. The result: each finished piece has an energy that can be felt when you wear it. Our hope is that something that comes alive within you when you put on a Cleobella design, and that positive energy radiates throughout your everyday life.
By far, what makes the woodblock printing process truly special is family. As a small family business, our greatest pleasure is working in harmony with our artisans and their families in India. Because of them, Cleobella is a small dream turned reality that is still thriving 14 years later. Together, we will continue preserving and celebrating the rich, cultural woodblock printing tradition with each design and garment we bring to life.
Currently In Stock
We are getting new Cleobella in the store all the time, but right now we have 3 items still in stock! 2 dresses and a top: Cleobella Cassandra Mini Dress in Scallop Block Print, Cleobella Rosy Mini Dress in Tamil Block Print, and Cleobella Katy Floral Ruffle Sleeve Top in Cream/Pink!
Stay in the loop about all in coming Cleobella items but texting 'MINETTEBLOG' to 855-591-0923