A Green New Look to an Old Chinese Medicine Clinic. A piece of wood found at a recycling station that reads “Welcome! Pick living goods and enjoy chef’s tasting menu” tells the story of how a family dedicated themselves to building an eco-friendly lifestyle. Once a Chinese medicine clinic, this cute little shop has handmade organic cloth menstrual pads, nettle fiber clothing, jewelry and accessories made from recycled materials, herbal body wash, and local goods for you to buy.
An Eco-Friendly Dream
“Turning our home into a business space brought our family even closer together,” elder sister Lin Nian-Ci said. This shop was once a Chinese medicine clinic founded by their father. The three sisters who each set off on their spectacular journey in life never in their lifetime thought that they would be together again. The youngest of the sisters Lin Lin, who used to work at Taiwan Environmental Information Center, embarked on a journey around the island by foot with her boyfriend to learn from this land. As nature enthusiasts, the couple explored the beaches, villages, and countryside to experience the rich diversity of local customs and get to know Taiwan a little better. At the end of the trip, Lin Lin realized that she wants to share the concept of green living and proposed the idea to start their own business to her sisters
Nian-Ci, founder of the Dharti Mata Sustainable Workshop in Nepal and second eldest sister Xiu-Ping, owner of BONTE Handmade Jewelry Workshop, considered coming home. At first, Nian-Ci made some reasonable points and said that the shop should be located in Taipei in order to increase visibility and influence. However, she came to the conclusion that with their limited power and budget, it is very difficult to fit in such a competitive market. That’s when Nian-Ci came up with the idea of starting their own business from home.
Photo /// Dharti Mata Sustainable Workshop group photo and Nepali women making cloth menstrual pads
Photo /// Nian-Ci is standing fourth from the left in the back; Photography by Lin Nian-Ci
Connecting Human with Nature
Nian-Ci used to work at an international volunteer association, so she had to travel across Asia a lot to experience different cultures. But since she always bounced from one place to another, it was hard for her to truly connect with the place and its people. One time she had the chance to chat with a group of women from a Nepal village, when she was surprised to find that local women lack the awareness and education about the basics of menstruation. They believe that menstrual blood is dirty and impure. Nian-Ci thinks it’s time she does something to clear up these myths about menstruation.
She bought cloth menstrual pads at a village in South India and provided a group of local women health education and taught them how to make their own cloth menstrual pads that symbolize “change.” In 2013, Nian-Ci founded the Dharti Mata Sustainable Workshop in Nepal in an attempt to change the world bit by bit by promoting the use of cloth menstrual pads and helping local women find their autonomy through work and childbirth.
Welcome Home, Dear Sisters!
After many years of effort, the workshop, situated in a village nestled in the Himalayas more than two hours away from Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, welcomes groups from all around the world who want to learn about how she clarified myths surrounding menstruation among Nepal women and exchange their thoughts about social enterprises with a Taiwanese girl. Although their hometown is far away in a small alley in Taoyuan, their father used his superb medical skills to bring in the business and attract customers. Now that the three sisters have each accumulated experience and skills from their professions, isn’t it the perfect time to open a store to attract other nature lovers?
The sisters renovated the clinic and made it into an open space, leaving the original horizontal inscribed wooden board and furniture. A little shop filled with memories of the family was thus born. The shop also accepts bookings and reservations from customers to enjoy vegetable dishes cooked by the sisters’ mother using seasonal organic food. Lin Lin runs their shop with enthusiasm, inviting eco-enthusiasts from all walks of life including farmers who have taken up natural farming and people living a plastic-free life to attend concerts, Anastasia book clubs, and all sorts of workshops such as flower arranging classes, jewelry making classes, healthy cooking classes, and spiritual workshops in hopes of helping modern people living busy lives to feel alive again. If you’re looking for a relaxing and invigorating eco-experience, stop by this old clinic turned shop located in Taoyuan and we guarantee the Lin family’s passion will affect you as much as they affected us.
Photo /// The old Chinese medicine clinic filled with the Lin family’s memories of their father. A forty-year-old Yulan Magnolia tree in the yard decorated with green plants and surrounded by the sounds of birds. All sorts of eco-friendly living goods from different places. Their mother’s excellent floriculture skills light up the beautiful shop.